Hearty and delicious Polenta Lasagna with Smoky Red Pepper Sauce – a tasty, gluten-free lasagna recipe using optional store-bought polenta. A vegan-adaptable main dish – perfect for holiday gatherings, that can be made ahead! Vegan adaptable! Note: if making polenta from scratch allow 6-8 hours of refrigeration time for it to set up.
And now I understand something so frightening & wonderful- how the mind clings to the road it knows, rushing through crossroads, sticking like lint to the familiar. ~Mary Oliver
Here’s a tasty recipe for Polenta Lasagna with a smoky Red Bell Pepper Sauce that is hearty, robust and full of flavor! Using polenta instead of pasta keeps this completely gluten-free. Make your own polenta ahead, or simply use store-bought tubes of polenta!
This version is filled with a savory mixture of mushrooms and spinach, but other veggies work well here too – eggplant, peppers, zucchini, roasted butternut squash.
How to make Polenta Lasagna | 45-second video!
Keep it vegetarian, make it vegan ( tofu ricotta and vegan cheese) or feel free to add Italian sausage for extra heartiness. I know you will find your own creative way to make good use of this! And please share how you adapt this in the comments below!
Serve it up with a hearty green salad and dinner is ready!
It starts with cooking the “filling” for the lasagna. This could be sautéing veggies like mushrooms in olive oil with garlic and onion.
Or roasting off slices of eggplant or butternut squash in the oven. You could also brown some spicy Italian sausage.
I always like to throw in handfuls of chopped greens to bump up the nutrition factor.
Spinach, arugula or kale is nice addtion to the sauteed mushrooms, just gently wilting.
While the veggies are cooking make the quick Smoky Red Pepper Sauce.
Roasted peppers and diced tomatoes go into the blender.
I like to add a little smoked paprika, to give it a hint of smoky flavor.
If pressed for time, you can always use store-bought marinara sauce.
In this recipe, to simplify and make things easier, I’m also including an option for store-bought polenta in a tube. This version from Trader Joes has good flavor.
It’s also very easy to make your own firm polenta and I’ll put the directions in the recipe notes.
I’ve made it both ways, and both ways work great.
If using store-bought tubes of polenta, slice tubes in half first, then cut each side into 6 equal pieces about ½ inch thick. Each tube will give you 12 slices.
Then begin your layering.
Start with 2/3 cup of the sauce on a greased 9×13 inch baking dish.
Add the first layer of polenta.
Top with all of your filling. Here I’m using mushrooms and spinach.
Dot with 6 ounces of ricotta cheese. You could also make this totally vegan by using vegan tofu ricotta.
Sprinkle with 1 – 1 ½ cups of shredded mozzarella. You could also use vegan cheese.
Pour 2/3 cup of sauce over the cheese.
Top with the final layer of ricotta.
Above is with the storebout polenta, below is the with the homemade polenta.
Pour the remaining sauce over top.
You can keep it fairly lean like this or top with more mozzarella, up to you.
Cover tightly with foil and bake at 400 F for 20 minutes.
Remove foil and continue baking for 20-25 more minutes, or until bubbly and sauce has thickened slightly.
Drizzle with pesto, using either store-bought, or homemade – I’ll give a quick recipe in the recipe notes.
Hope you enjoy this hearty vegetarian polenta lasagna!