This Polenta Lasagna is made with layers of firm polenta, a savory spinach mushroom filling, melty cheese and a roasted red pepper sauce.  Vegetarian and gluten-free. Video.

 Polenta lasagna in a baking dish

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 vegetarian dinner recipe- Polenta Lasagna! Hearty, robust and full of flavor, we firm polenta instead of lasagna noodles, keeping this completely gluten-free. Make your own polenta ahead, or simply use store-bought 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. The recipe is vegan-adaptable. 

Polenta Lasagna Ingredients

store bought polenta in a tube.
  • Firm Polenta: you can use store-bought tubes of polenta or make your own ( it needs 8 hours to set); see recipe notes.
  • Ricotta cheese:  or sub this  vegan tofu ricotta
  • Mozzarella cheese: or use melty vegan cheese)
  • Vegetables: Onion, garlic, spinach (fresh or frozen), mushrooms 
  • Roasted Red Pepper: jarred or homemade
  • Canned Diced tomatoes
  • Salt, Pepper, Italian seasoning (or use fresh rosemary or thyme)
  • Olive oil
  • Pesto- for drizzling– use store-bought or see our recipe notes.

*See notes for detailed ingredeints measurements

Polenta Lasagna Instructions

Step one: Make the firm polenta. If you are using store-bought polenta, skip this step. It requires 8 hours of firming up in the fridge. 

homemade firm polenta on a sheet pan, 1/2 inch thick, cut into 2 ½ inch squares.

Step two: Make the roasted pepper sauce. Tip: if you are in a hurry, you can always use jarred marinara sauce and skip this step! 

sauce ingredients by a blender.

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. 

blended red pepper sauce.

Step three: Make the Spinach mushroom filling.

mushrooms cooking in a skillet.

Saute onion, garlic and mushrooms, then add the chopped spinach, seasoning well.

adding spinach to the mushrooms filling in a skillet.

Step four. Cut the polenta. If using store-bought lasagna tubes, thinly slice. If using homemade, cut into 2 ½ inch squares.

slicing polenta.

Step five: Assemble the polenta lasagna. On a greased 9×13-inch baking dish, add a layer of sauce.

Assemebling the lasagna- layer of sauce in baking dish.

Add the first layer of polenta; you’ll only have two layers, so use half if possible.

assembling the lasagna with polenta.

Top with all of your filling.

assembling the lasagna- adding the filling.

Dot with ricotta cheese.

assembling the lasagna - adding the cheese.

Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese.

assembling the lasagna - adding the cheese.

Pour some sauce over the cheese.

assembling the lasagna - adding the sauce.

Top with the second and final layer of polenta.

assembling the lasagna - adding the final layer of polenta.

Then drizzle with more sauce, just enough to cover.

assembling the lasagna - adding the cheese.

Below is what the homemade polenta version looks like.

assembling the lasagna - adding the sauce.

You can add more cheese if you like.

Step six: Bake. Cover tightly with parchment and foil and bake at 400 F for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for 20-25 more minutes, uncovered, until bubbly, letting the sauce thicken a bit.

A pan of baked polenta lasagna with pesto drizzle.

Step 7: Drizzle with pesto. Using either store-bought or homemade.

Chef’s Tips

  • In a hurry? Use store-bought polenta, store-bought marinara sauce, and store-bought pesto. This will speed things up.
  • You may not need all the sauce, use as needed.
 Polenta Lasagna with layers of firm polenta, a savory spinach mushroom filling.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the polenta lasagna with a leafy green salad, Caesar salad, crusty bread, or a side of veggies like asparagus or green beans.

A serving of polenta lasagna with a leafy green salad in a bowl.


Leftovers will keep up to 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat in a warm 350F oven or microwave. This can also be frozen for up to 6 months, thaw overnight before reheating.


Hope you enjoy this hearty vegetarian polenta lasagna!


Polenta Lasagna video!

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Polenta Lasagna with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce - an easy, vegan adaptable main dish that is perfect for the holiday table. Gluten-free! #veganthanksgiving #polentalasagna #veganlasagna #vegetarianmaindish #veganchristmas #polenta #lasagnarecipes #glutenfreelasagna

Polenta Lasagna

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.7 from 29 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at home
  • Prep Time: 45
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: main, vegetarain, vegan adaptable
  • Method: baked
  • Cuisine: italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This Polenta Lasagna is made with layers of firm polenta, a savory spinach mushroom filling, melty cheese, and a roasted red pepper sauce.  If making polenta from scratch, allow 8 hours for refrigeration. Vegetarian and gluten-free. Vegan-adaptable.


  • 2 x 18-ounce tubes of polenta (store-bought). OR See notes for making your own!
  • 6 ounces  Ricotta cheese ( or sub this vegan tofu ricotta ) about 1-1 1/2 cups.
  • 12 cups grated mozzarella cheese (or use smoked mozzarella for great flavor, jack, or use melty vegan cheese)
  • Generous pinch salt, pepper and nutmeg

Spinach Mushroom Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • one onion, diced
  • 46 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 1016 ounces mushrooms (sliced)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning ( or use 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary or thyme)
  • 2 heaping handfuls baby spinach, chopped ( or 8 ounces frozen)

Smoky Red Pepper Sauce ( or use 2 cups store-bought marinara)

  • 1 roasted red pepper (out of a jar is OK) about 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup total
  • 1 x 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes and their juices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Quick Pesto drizzle (or use store-bought pesto)

  • 1 cup packed basil ( or Italian parsley)
  • 12 teaspoons lemon zest
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 fat garlic clove
  • salt and pepper to taste

Homemade Firm Polenta  (requires 8 hours of refrigeration time)


  1. If making with homemade Polenta- make this first and let cool 8 hours in the fridge to set up. ( You could make this ahead, along with the sauce, filling and pesto drizzle.)
  2. Preheat oven to 400F (prep and assembly will take around 45 minutes- with store-bought polenta)
  3. Make filling: Heat 1-2 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, stirring until tender, about 5 minutes, add garlic and cook 2 more minutes.  Turn skillet to medium ( or medium-low)  and add the mushrooms and add salt pepper and Italian seasoning, and saute until the mushrooms release their liquid and this evaporates, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped spinach and wilt and mix to combine, adding a splash of water if needed. Cook-off any liquid. Adjust salt to your taste.
  4. While the filling is cooking, make the Red Pepper sauce:  Add the diced tomatoes (and juices) to the blender and add the drained roasted pepper. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, cumin and Italian herbs. Blend until creamy and smooth. If the sauce is too thick to get motor running, add a little water (a tablespoon at a time) just to get it going. Taste. It should have a sweet smoky flavor.
  5. Prep the two tubes of polenta if using store-bought. (Remember to taste it)  It’s easiest to cut the tube in half. Then in quarters, so each quarter yields 3 equal slices. So 12 slices each from each tube about 3/4 inch thick.
  6. Assemble: Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with olive oil. Place 1/2-2/3  cup sauce on the bottom, coating bottom evenly. Add the first layer of polenta ( There are 2 layers). Top with all the filling, spreading it out evenly. Dot with spoonfuls of ricotta. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Top with shredded cheese. Pour 1/2-¾  cup sauce lightly over the cheese. Then, top with a final layer of polenta. Pour sauce over top (you may not need all) and using a spatula , evenly coat the polenta evenly. Save the remaining sauce for touching up after your remove the foil.  You could do this all ahead and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  7. At this point, you could add more cheese to the top, or keep it a little leaner, up to you. Cover tightly with parchment and foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove parchment/foil and bake uncovered for 15-20 more minutes until bubbling and warmed through. If you want it “saucy”, add more sauce.
  8. While it’s baking make the Pesto Drizzle. To make the pesto drizzle, simply place ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined.
  9. When the polenta lasagna is finished cooking you could drizzle it lightly with the pesto or serve it on the side.


Keep in mind, not all store-bought polenta tastes the same. The Trader Joe’s brand is very flavorful. Your best bet is to cut a tiny piece off the end and taste it. If it tastes bland, you will need to bump up the flavor and salt in the filling and sauce. Things like garlic powder, onion powder and herbs help, and most importantly salt. The pesto drizzle will help a lot too.

To make your own firm polenta:

  1. Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a medium pot. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons garlic powder ( or onion powder) and 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped herbs (rosemary, thyme, or sage) Or sub 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, thyme, Italian herbs or herbs de Provence. When water is boiling, very slowly pour and whisk in 2 cups cornmeal, whisking out any clumps.
  2. Cover, turn heat to low and cook 2o minutes, stirring once at 10 minutes.
  3. Grease an edged  sheet pan with olive oil really well. Grease a flat metal spatula really well. Pour out the polenta so it’s ¾ thick – noting, you will not need to use the whole sheet pan, so start on one end, spreading it out the the sides. See photos.
  4. If the polenta sticks to the spatula, just pour a little olive oil over the polenta, coating the spatula with it. Flatten it out to an even thickness. I usually cover about half of a large sheet pan  (leaving half of the sheet pan bare- because if you stretch it to fill the whole pan, polenta will be too thin).
  5. Let cool, then refrigerate until very firm, about 6-8 hours, or overnight (or up to 3 days).
  6. Cut into 16,  4-inch squares. (If you end up with some smaller scraps, I usually just tuck these in the lasagna in the first, base layer, underneath so they don’t show, leaving the prettier cuts for the top layer.)


  • Serving Size: 1 ½ pieces – With the basil pesto
  • Calories: 424
  • Sugar: 6.5 g
  • Sodium: 470.2 mg
  • Fat: 26 g
  • Saturated Fat: 7.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 36.7 g
  • Fiber: 5.6 g
  • Protein: 13.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 32.5 mg

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  1. Your homemade polenta ingredients list doesn’t include cornmeal. (It is listed in the instructions!) I look forward to trying this!

  2. This was soooo good! I am always looking for easy meals for my 1/2 vegetarian family (and to convert the other half) and this has definitely helped! So yummy and really not hard at all! Also, you could serve with a protein if needed so I didn’t have to be the short-order cook this time! Love it!

  3. I made this last night and it was absolutely delicious! And by far, the easiest polenta I have ever made. The only change was that I used only Miyoko’s vegan Mozarella cheese instead of ricotta etc. Making this both vegan and GF. I used Portobello mushrooms. It will be a go to for a quick delicious meal for a crowd. My guests, if vourse, want the recipe. Thank you!

      1. It softened, so kind of between mozarella & ricotta(which I left out) My go to for pizza too. Dobyou have any Beet Reuben recipes?

  4. Could this be made a day ahead and left in the fridge? If so, would you need to bring it to room temp before cooking?

  5. I made this for my family tonight. We had a big Sunday dinner outside during quarantine here in SoCal. Paired it with a nice pinot noir and some pizza. Everyone felt like we were in Europe it was SO DELICIOUS! Thanks you for the amazing recipe!

  6. The carnivore in the family said this was the best “non-tofu and not Thai” vegetarian meal we’ve tried. He said “killer” at some point while he was eating, and it’s only .because of that I offer comments. I doubled the recipe divided it as equally into 3 pans as I could. ( The available pan size for a meal delivery.) Math must be a thing 🤣 but I kept halving my Trader Joes (delicious) polenta and ended up with 16 slices pet roll and divided it between my pans. It took 3 rolls. Mushroom haters made way for three yellow squash for the double batch, used in addition to the onions and spinach. Used all the sauce, concerned that it might be watery when I saw it in the pan, but I baked it covered then uncovered, for the recommended time. Circumstances required it to cool then be reheated. The seemingly watery sauce became thicker when reheated. Used Costco pesto for the drizzle. Thanks to Feasting at Home in my old hometown for expanding my horizons!

  7. Made this for dinner tonight. The flavor was great, but had the same problem as another reviewer. It turned out soupy. I made the homeade polenta, and let it set up in the fridge for 3 hours. I used cottage cheese instead of ricotta so maybe that was the cause. I also used fresh mozzarella instead of pre shredded. So next time I will change those two things and see if it turns out better. We loved the flavor.

    1. I will adjust the recipe once more. The problem is I wanted to utilize the whole can of diced tomatoes ( instead of using 2/3 a can) so basically there is more sauce than needed. I noted the recipe. 🙂

  8. made this 2 with
    TJ Polenta it was great! My husband GF so can’t always find the GF noodles easily, but the polenta was really satisfying. I made a cashew sauce in place of the vegan ricotta, so yummy. The red pepper sauce was so easy and tasty great idea.
    Cashew sauce from another recipe I used:
    2 cups raw cashews
    1 c. water
    1 tBSP apple cider vinegar
    2 tbsp nutritional yeast
    salt / pepper
    grind in food processor- outstanding!!

  9. I made this with aubergine and spinach filling, it was awesome!!!! Thanks for shating, I had good Hungarian smoked paprika to add, it made our day!!!

  10. Five for great flavor, but knocking off two for texture issues – one major, one minor.
    Major: the dish came out very soupy – even with extra time baking uncovered. It was too loose to serve easily and required serving in bowls with both a fork and a spoon.
    Minor: the slabs of polenta were an odd texture experience.
    I did add cooked, crumbled turkey Italian sausage to up the protein levels for my family.
    The smoky tomato/pepper sauce was a terrific flavor and we enjoyed the flavor of the polenta in place of lasagne noodles. And anything with mushrooms and spinach and cheese is a win in this house!
    I’m inclined to try it again but Instead of slicing the polenta, I’m thinking of slightly undercooking homemade polenta and spreading it in layers – allowing it to finish cooking (and absorbing more liquid) as the lasagne bakes.
    PS – Many Feasting At Home recipes are in regular rotation, so thank you for putting g all this out here!

    1. Thanks for this Rochelle, can I ask a couple questions? Did you use homemade polenta, or store bought? Also this recipe was updated recently to reduce “soupy-ness”. Do you happen to know if the recipe you used was printed out earlier (like before November), or did you just use this from the site recently? Thanks this will help me fine tune the recipe.

  11. This tasted and looked professional. So delicious! Sometimes the texture of a lot of mushrooms doesn’t appeal to me, so I used half the amount (chopped fine) and used cooked lentils for the remaining amount. Turned out great. That smoky pepper sauce—wow! I’m looking at the leftovers now and craving this for breakfast.

  12. This recipe is a keeper! I made my own polenta because it’s not difficult and it has much more flavor than store bought. We really liked the smokey tomato sauce! I put in two types of mushrooms along with a small eggplant and the other ingredients. It was delicious! Thank you for sharing your recipes and cooking knowledge.

  13. Made this with the homemade polenta option and it turned out amazing! Made the polenta the day before so it was pretty easy to put together.

  14. The flavor was good, but the dish came out very soupy and not lasagne like at all. The sauce recipe was very good and would be great for pasta.

  15. I haven’t used polenta before, and didn’t realize it wasn’t my cup of tea!
    Loved the tasty red pepper sauce and filling, will make again but use lasagne sheets or make it with ravioli instead of polenta.

  16. This recipe was so very delicious–i’ll definitely make it again. Although, I will say it was very time consuming. It took me a three hours to make, but it was worth it because it’s so tasty and filling! I ended up making the tofu ricotta, using all of the listed veggies (eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, onion, garlic), and I added red pepper flakes + cayenne pepper to the sauce for a little extra spice. I ran out of sauce to pour over top as the final layer–but luckily I had a can of marinara in my pantry that saved the day. I gave up on the pesto drizzle at the end because it was past my bedtime.

  17. Thanks for another fab recipe! I totally forgot to drizzle pesto on the top, but it was all so delicious. I had to help myself twice haha!

  18. Another winner! Quick, clean, delicious. Can’t ask for more. I made a double batch, one for the freezer and half baked it. Plan to bake it up next week. We’ll see how it holds up…

  19. I just made this tonight and it is easy, delicious, and beautiful! I am not sure what I did wrong, but mine turned out a little soupy. Maybe I used too many mushrooms? Regardless, as usual, fun to make and incredibly tasty. Love the smoked paprika addition too.

  20. I just need to say that I have been following this blog for a couple of years now and EVERYTHING I have ever made has been nothing short of delicious! The recipes are perfect for my family. I honestly can’t think of one recipe that has not been a hit! Thank you…it really is the one food blog I consistently cook from – and I cook a lot! Thank you, Sylvia. Your pictures are really beautiful, as well.


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