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
- 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 optional
- 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 or line with parchment paper 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, if desired.
- 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!
Nutritional info is approximate.
KimNovember 12, 2012 at 9:26 pm
I’m allergic to tomato. What could I use for a sauce substitute?
Susan VoisinNovember 12, 2012 at 9:38 pm
You could use just about any sauce that you can eat. This would probably be good with just some extra “cheese” sauce.
CaseyNovember 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm
This was delicious! Well should I say still is…I’m eating it as leftovers for lunch this week. Thanks Susan 🙂
MeganJanuary 21, 2013 at 5:43 pm
So good! I’ve made this before per the recipe, but tonight I made it with a loaf of “quinoa polenta” I found at the store. Also added some white beans for extra protein. Quite delish! Thanks for your great recipes.
Susan VoisinJanuary 21, 2013 at 6:37 pm
I’ve never heard of quinoa polenta, but I’ll have to look for it now. Thanks for mentioning it!
BeritFebruary 10, 2013 at 6:24 pm
Thank you very much for posting this fantastic recipe! 😀 I used GF lasagna plates instead of polenta (as I realised that I’d forgotten to get the latter in the store..) and eggplant instead of mushrooms, which worked out great. An omnivorian couple who came for dinner absolutely loved the dish, and asked where I’d gotten this delicious recipe from! I’ll send them a link to your inspiring blog 😉
I served the lasagna with a puy & rocket salad, with vinaigrette from this recipe http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2006/11/cheap-caviar-1/ .
lizzieFebruary 15, 2013 at 2:14 pm
i made this last night and it was SO GOOD. my boyfriend doesn’t like mushrooms, so i used zucchini and carrots instead, along with subbing the kale with a chard/spinach/mustard greens mix and skipping the vegan parm out of convenience. the base of this dish is just so good, i feel like it could be made so many ways! this is about to become a staple. thanks!
LexiFebruary 24, 2013 at 10:26 pm
I found this recipe on Pinterest and made it the other night and it is so delicious! I used kale from our local produce man and felt really healthy and great eating this meal, which lasted me for days. Thank you for sharing your recipe, I look forward to making it again!
ClaudiaMarch 11, 2013 at 5:20 pm
I don’t have silken tofu. But I have Daiya cheese
Do you think I could use that? Maybe adding the broth, milk, and cornstarch?
KristinJuly 15, 2013 at 9:49 am
Susan, I’ve been making your recipes pretty much daily for the past six months, and they’ve nearly always gotten rave reviews. This one, though, has been dubbed by Boyfriend as “the best thing you’ve made since we started this.” (or possibly, “the best vegan dish I’ve had”. Can’t remember exactly, but you get the point). Definitely a huge winner, either way!
I did have a question, though. I made your microwave polenta and it did end up with some lumps. Not a complaint, I just consider those concentrated areas of polenta-y goodness, but I did wonder, do you use the really fine ground cornmeal or the more course grind? I used the fine, and wondered if that might have made the difference.
Susan VoisinJuly 15, 2013 at 10:36 am
I’m so glad to hear how much your boyfriend liked this! For the polenta, I used Bob’s Red Mill brand, and I would say it’s on the coarse side. I’m not sure how much difference that might make, but I’m glad to hear that the lumps didn’t ruin the whole dish.
KristinJuly 18, 2013 at 6:49 am
That did it! I used the course-grind cornmeal (I can never seem to find stuff labeled “polenta” that isn’t quite cost-prohibitive, so just get the cornmeal at the Latin market) for the next batch of quick polenta and it worked beautifully. Thanks, as always!
GinnyJuly 24, 2013 at 8:18 pm
I made this amazing dish tonight using swiss chard. Having just had braces put on my teeth, I needed something soft, but satisfying, and this was the perfect comfort food (that I will make again.)
AvraAugust 1, 2013 at 8:05 am
This looks amazing and I’m dying to make it! One Q before I begin: I’m not sure what extra-firm silken tofu is – on-hand I have both extra-firm tofu and silken tofu – which should I use for the cheese sauce? Thank you!
KristinAugust 1, 2013 at 12:45 pm
I had the same question when I started making Susan’s (and other vegan) recipes. I was terribly confused about what extra-firm silken tofu might have been. The kind this recipe refers to is the shelf-stable kind in the aseptic packages like this http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000LKZ84C/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=fatfreevegank-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000LKZ84C
It’s different than the refrigerated kind of tofu that’s packed in water. Hope the link comes through when I post, and hope you enjoy this great recipe!
AvraAugust 2, 2013 at 11:00 pm
Thank you so much for filling me in, Kristin! While I’m definitely going to invest in some mori nu in the future, I was dying to make this tonight – knowing I had no work and to celebrate the end of the week. I used the extra-firm tofu I had in the fridge and…OMG this lasagna is heaven in an 8×8 pan! Love love love it! For the fifth time/recipe now Susan has done it again! So happy to know about this blog. Hats off to you, Susan!
LisaMarch 5, 2014 at 9:31 am
I just made this and ate half the pan in one sitting. So tasty. I can’t wait to make this for a church potluck. My gluten free friends will love this.
SaraNovember 17, 2014 at 6:05 pm
Hi Susan, this is one of my favorite recipes on your site and I make it all the time! I was wondering if you have any tips to make it serve 20. I’ve doubled the recipe before and baked it in a 9×13 pan, but I need to make an even larger one for a holiday party. I also need it to be easily transportable because the party isn’t at my house. If you have any advice, I would really appreciate it! Thanks!
Susan VoisinNovember 17, 2014 at 6:15 pm
I’m so glad you like it! I think doubling it is about as far as you can go and still be sure it cooks all the way through, so I suggest making 2 9×13 pans. Anything bigger and it probably won’t get done in the middle without burning the edges.
SaraNovember 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm
Thank you! I was worried that it wouldn’t get right if I made it in a giant pan, so I think your suggestion to do two 9×13 pans is perfect. I know everyone at the party will love this as much as I do 🙂
ErinJanuary 25, 2015 at 10:11 pm
Hello!!! I’m a flexitarian and my roommate is vegan. We have roommate dinners once a week, alternating who cooks. I made this recipe this week and it was AMAZING!!! We both loved it so much! I brought the left overs to work and had my coworker try it. He’s a meat eater and gluten-free (which this recipe is totally gluten free too!)…. He thought it was really really good and he doesn’t usually even like lasagna!
Debra DrewFebruary 10, 2015 at 6:28 pm
I tried this tonight, but instead of using tofu for the sauce, which has a chalky taste I’m not fond of, I made a batch of OMG Walnut Sauce from “My Beef With Meat”. It uses walnuts which are lower in fat than other nuts, and I added some yeast seasoning. It made a great tasting dish!
JerriMarch 1, 2015 at 6:17 pm
I made this and also added shaved broccoli. This recipe is amazingly delicious! Am going to try it next time with still warm polenta layers. I think it will hold it together better!
LeahApril 21, 2015 at 9:37 pm
I’m so excited to try another one of your amazing lasagnas! Any thoughts on how to make this eat-to-live friendly? Thanks, Susan!
LainaSeptember 27, 2015 at 11:58 am
I’m browsing your recipes this fine Sunday morning.
I’ve made this recipe a few times before and LOVE it – it’s a favorite! But I was wonding what I can sub for the mori-nu tofu. I usually have some on hand, but don’t and the HFS isn’t close. Do you think upping the cashews would work or do you have another idea?
Thanks a bunch!!! 😋
Susan VoisinSeptember 27, 2015 at 12:34 pm
I think extra cashews would make a really delicious sauce.
SaraDecember 25, 2015 at 1:23 pm
I made this a few weeks ago and it was DELICIOUS! Even my very picky and “health food”-leery husband loved it. I did use pre-cooked tube polenta (sliced), frozen spinach instead of kale, ground oats instead of cornstarch, pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) in place of cashews, and 1 chopped zucchini in place of the mushrooms (because it was going to go bad). I heartily recommend that substitution! Also, a whole jar of Rao’s “Garden Vegetable” tomato sauce made this dish simply irresistible. I plan to save this recipe forever and make it for other guests. Thank you!
LainaDecember 30, 2015 at 7:41 pm
I so love Italian food and because I make this so often, I got to wondering if you have a category for Italian recipes.
As always, thanks so much for continuing your blog. The photos are spectacular and the recipes more than satisfy the taste buds!!! You make vegan eating so doable and flavorful!
Thank you, thank you, yhwnk you!!! 😃
Mary McCMarch 9, 2016 at 8:23 am
THANK YOU so veryvery much for your specificity on the amount of kale…I am so annoyed by recipes that just say ‘1 bunch of kale, destemmed and chopped’ which is especially unhelpful when the ‘bunch’ comes from my gatden. This looks delicious!
KarenMarch 24, 2016 at 2:55 pm
I made this the other day, and I have to say, this is my favorite vegan recipe I’ve made in 30 years! So good. I brought it to work and shared it with non-vegans and it was a hit! Can’t wait to try your other recipes.
TeresaMay 31, 2017 at 8:32 pm
I just made this again, and every time I make this it is as wonderful as it was the very first time. I am stunned at how good this cheese sauce is, and the mixture of kale and mushrooms makes it spectacular. I think I’m going to try this with eggplant instead of polenta the next time I make it — something tells me it will be just as good. Thank you for such a great recipe — I always double it so I have lots of leftovers.
Janet jonesJuly 1, 2017 at 7:26 pm
My husband and I love this. I use 2 big mushrooms and almost a whole jar of Trader Joes fat free marinara. Only use 1 tbsp of tahini and leave out the olives and cheese because we need to follow a very low fat diet. Incredibly delicious!
nancy allingDecember 14, 2017 at 1:37 pm
can this recipe be frozen before baking? if not can you recommend a recipe I can make in advance for a vegan family member that is coming for christmas dinner. My children will be eating a more traditional (aka meat and dairy) meal so I am looking for something I can make in advance
Claudia FerridayMarch 21, 2018 at 11:15 pm
Another hit recipe! I was craving polenta on this very cold and rainy day. So I did a quick recipe search and realized I had all the ingredients for this dish on hand (though I did sub brown mushrooms for the portabella and spinach for kale). I have made similar cheez sauces before, but there was something extra delicious about this one. Mixed in with the spinach and mushrooms, I could have eaten the whole pot just like that! But I remembered that the polenta was what brought me here, so I proceeded with the recipe, and it turned out perfectly. Super easy and quick to make too. I’ll be making this again. Thank you, Susan.
Mark BarbernitzMay 6, 2018 at 5:36 pm
Wow, that was REALY good! and yes I had two pieces! the “cheese” sauce gave it a great texture and flavor. Rally glad I tried it,
Leslie FullerMarch 3, 2019 at 4:59 pm
Great recipe! I also added chopped roasted red peppers when I added the garlic. I doubled the recipe and put it in a 10×16 pan. Seemed to cook just fine, but I needed more than 2 of the polenta rolls, so I made some thick grits to fill in the gaps. Thank you for your recipes!!
KellyMarch 6, 2019 at 9:36 am
Thank you for this delicious recipe! I came across it from your Facebook feed while I was making my grocery list.
I followed the recipe exactly, only used unsweetened coconut milk (from the carton) as I never keep soy milk (just never like the taste of it). The coconut milk definitely made the cheeze sauce taste a little… off… but I found adding a bit extra salt, white pepper and onion powder helped with that. I also used regular refrigerated silken tofu – I’d forgotten there are shelf-stable versions that vary in firmness – so the sauce was definitely quite runny, but it still tasted delicious.
I’m going to make this again – hopefully this time I can find the correct tofu. And at 180-odd calories per serving, there’s definitely NO need to feel guilty eating two servings in one sitting!
BarbaraFebruary 11, 2020 at 12:36 pm
I would love to try this recipe! I was wondering if pesto sauce would go well with this recipe?