You know I really like a recipe when I make it two days in a row. I first made this dish for dinner last night, and though I liked it and my husband thought it was “outstanding,” I still wanted to tinker with the recipe. It was good, but I thought it could be incredible. So this morning I got to work, making a couple of small changes, and boy am I glad I did. A good recipe got even better—and I got an amazing lunch!
Like Rustic Red Kale and White Bean Soup, this recipe is a devious attempt to get you to eat your leafy greens. Kale and portabella mushrooms are sautéed with garlic and then mixed with a creamy “cheese” sauce before being baked between two layers of polenta. (Fans of my Eggplant Parmesan will recognize the sauce from that recipe.) Despite the long list of ingredients, this dish is pretty easy to put together, especially if you use packaged polenta and jarred marinara sauce. You’ll probably spend the most time preparing the kale, but you can even cut out that task if you substitute bagged spinach instead.
Polenta Lasagna with Portabellas and Kale
If you use packaged polenta, slice it into 18 thin slices. If you make your own polenta, spread the cooked polenta out on a baking sheet and use a spoon or your moistened hands to spread it no thicker than 1/4 inch. When it has solidified, either cut it in half and use each half as one layer or cut it into an even number of pieces that you can fit together to fit your baking dish.
1 18-ounce package prepared polenta or 1 recipe of Quick Microwave Polenta
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 large portabella mushroom, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 2 cups, chopped)
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 bunch kale (about 8 ounces after trimming), center rib removed and chopped into bite-sized pieces (may substitute spinach or other greens)
1 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
Cheese sauce (below)
1 1/4 cups marinara sauce (homemade or in a jar)
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
vegan soy parmesan
1/2 cup extra-firm silken tofu
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp. cashew butter or tahini
1 tsp. onion powder
1 1/2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
1/8 tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. corn starch
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Spray the bottom and sides of a 8×8-inch baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.
- Place the cheese sauce ingredients into a blender or food processor and puree until completely smooth. Set aside.
- Sauté the onions and portabellas in a non-stick skillet until the mushrooms begin to exude their juices. Add the garlic and sauté for one more minute.
- Add the kale, basil, and 1/4 cup water. Sauté until the kale is wilted and tender and the water has evaporated. Add the cheese sauce and cook, stirring, until thickened. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Remove from the heat.
- Cut the polenta into 1/4-inch thick slices. Line the bottom of the baking dish with half of the slices, overlapping slightly if possible. Spread 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce over the polenta, and then spread the kale mixture over the sauce. Sprinkle the chopped olives over the kale and top with the remaining polenta. Spread the remaining marinara sauce over the top and sprinkle with soy parmesan.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 or 10 minutes before serving.
- Makes 6 servings—if you can resist eating the whole pan yourself!
Preparation time: 25 minute(s) | Cooking time: 35 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6
Each serving (excluding optional ingredients) provides: 182 Calories (kcal); 6 g Total Fat; (30% calories from fat); 7 g Protein; 26 g Carbohydrate; 0 mg Cholesterol; 691 mg Sodium; 4 g Fiber. You can lighten this up a little by using low-fat silken tofu and fat-free soymilk.