Polenta Lasagna – Gluten Free Vegetarian Dish

This makes a delicious vegetarian gluten free meal,

If you are gluten intolerant and craving for lasagna, I would say polenta is an excellent substitution for lasagna pasta. Ever since I came to know about my husband’s gluten intolerance, I have been constantly looking for ways to replace and substitue wheat products with gluten free ones. While making pastries and breads, it’s really hard to make with gluten free flour as the texture wouldn’t be the same as those made with flour that has gluten in it.

Once in a while I love to indulge in lasagna loaded with ground beef and cheese. It’s been a long time since I made lasagna as I don’t feel like making it for myself. A few months ago, I got introduced to polenta and was relieved by the fact that it’s made with cornmeal so that my better half can enjoy it too. I had made a few dishes with polenta, once I stir fried it with veggies, another time I pan fried the polenta with some seasoning. For some, plain polenta might taste very blant, but you could always enhance its flavor by adding some seasonings, spices, cheese etc.

The other day, I was strongly hit by the craving for lasagna. At the same time I wanted to make it gluten free. Hence, I tried making lasagna with polenta. Instead of pasta I used polenta, sliced it like a cake and layered it in a pan.Topped it with vegetables and cheese, and  baked it. It  turned out to be a great gluten free dish, it was creamy, filling and delicious.

Polenta Lasagna

 Ingredients

Basic Polenta Recipe

  • Cornmeal, yellow- 2 cups
  • Water- 3 1/2 cups (or use 1 1/2 cups milk and 2 cups water)
  • Ground pepper- 1/4 tsp
  • Salt- to taste

Note: you could even add parmesan cheese to make it more flavorful or any herb seasonings

For making vegetarian topping:

  • Olive oil- 2 tbsp
  • Carrot, grated- 2, large
  • Celery, cut very small-2 stalks
  • Egg plant, diced small- 1/2 of the large eggplant
  • Mushrooms, diced- 1 1/2 cups
  • Oregano, dried- 1 tsp
  • Tomato paste-  3tbsp
  • Tomato sauce, low sodium- 3/4 cup
  • Ground pepper- 1/4 tsp
  • Cilantro, chopped- 2 handful

Other ingredients

  • Cheddar Cheese or mixed cheese, grated

Instruction

Making polenta:

  • Making polenta is very similar to making semolina, when you combine cornmeal or semolina in boiling water or milk it will thicken and and can be spread on a pan to set.
  • In a large saucepan, boil water and season with salt and ground pepper.
  • When the water starts to boil, slowly add cornmeal and keep stirring in the same direction without forming any lumps.
  • Keep stirring till you have added all the cornmeal and break through any lumps that has formed.
  • Stir and cook till the polenta begins to pull away from the pan.
  • Remove from the heat and let cool down a bit.
  • Line a square shaped baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Grease little butter on the parchment paper and evenly spread the polenta using a spatula.
  • Keep it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so till it has set well.
Making veggie topping:
  • In the meantime, let’s make the hearty vegetarian topping.
  • Heat a large pan, add olive oil and add grated carrot, celery, eggplant and mushrooms.
  • Cover and let the veggies turn tender.
  • Sprinkle dried oregano and ground pepper over it and cook for some more time.
  • When the veggies have cooked well but not mashed up, add tomato paste, combine well.
  • Add tomato sauce, combine well and cook for a few more minutes.
  • Taste and add more salt or ground pepper if needed.
  • Sprinkle cilantro over it and remove from the heat, keep aside.
  • Take the polenta out from the refrigerator, it should be well set by now.
  • Using a knife dipped in hot water, cut into 3 inch slices just like you cut cakes, keep aside.

How to assemble:

  • Grease a large oven dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Layer the polenta slices evenly to make a bed on the bottom of the dish.
  • Layer the veggie topping over it and evenly spread it.
  • Generously spread cheese over it.
  • Repeat this to make one more set.
  • At the top, garnish with cheese.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  • Place the prepared polenta lasagna into the oven on the bottom rack and bake for 15 minutes.
  • If you want to make the cheese browned, you can broil it after 15 minutes of baking.
  • Set the oven to broil mode, keep it in low heat and place the baked polenta lasagna on the top rack and broil it for just 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
  • If you broil it for more than 1 or 2 minutes, the cheese will burn, so be very careful while broiling.
  • Remove from the oven, let cool down a bit.
  • Using a knife, cut into large slices and serve hot.

Tips:

  • For making non-veg version: make the ground beef topping, here is the recipe.
  • You can add your favorite seasonings, herbs, or cheese while making polenta.

 

Polenta Lasagna - Gluten Free Vegetarian Dish
 
Ingredients
Basic Polenta Recipe
  • Cornmeal, yellow- 2 cups
  • Water- 3½ cups (or use 1½ cups milk and 2 cups water)
  • Ground pepper- ¼ tsp
  • Salt- to taste
  • Note:you could even add parmesan cheese to make it more flavorful or any herb seasonings
  • For making vegetarian topping
  • Olive oil- 2 tbsp
  • Carrot, grated- 2, large
  • Celery, cut very small-2 stalks
  • Egg plant, diced small- ½ of the large eggplant
  • Mushrooms, diced- 1½ cups
  • Oregano, dried- 1 tsp
  • Tomato paste- 3tbsp
  • Tomato sauce, low sodium- ¾ cup
  • Ground pepper- ¼ tsp
  • Cilantro, chopped- 2 handful
Other ingredients
  • Cheddar Cheese or mixed cheese, grated
Instructions
Making polenta
  1. Making polenta is very similar to making semolina, when you combine cornmeal or semolina in boiling water or milk it will thicken and and can be spread on a pan to set.
  2. In a large saucepan, boil water and season with salt and ground pepper.
  3. When the water starts to boil, slowly add cornmeal and keep stirring in the same direction without forming any lumps.
  4. Keep stirring till you have added all the cornmeal and break through any lumps that has formed.
  5. Stir and cook till the polenta begins to pull away from the pan.
  6. Remove from the heat and let cool down a bit.
  7. Line a square shaped baking pan with parchment paper.
  8. Grease little butter on the parchment paper and evenly spread the polenta using a spatula.
  9. Keep it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so till it has set well.
Making veggie topping
  1. In the meantime, let's make the hearty vegetarian topping.
  2. Heat a large pan, add olive oil and add grated carrot, celery, eggplant and mushrooms.
  3. Cover and let the veggies turn tender.
  4. Sprinkle dried oregano and ground pepper over it and cook for some more time.
  5. When the veggies have cooked well but not mashed up, add tomato paste, combine well.
  6. Add tomato sauce, combine well and cook for a few more minutes.
  7. Taste and add more salt or ground pepper if needed.
  8. Sprinkle cilantro over it and remove from the heat, keep aside.
  9. Take the polenta out from the refrigerator, it should be well set by now.
  10. Using a knife dipped in hot water, cut into 3 inch slices just like you cut cakes, keep aside.
How to assemble
  1. Grease a large oven dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Layer the polenta slices evenly to make a bed on the bottom of the dish.
  3. Layer the veggie topping over it and evenly spread it.
  4. Generously spread cheese over it.
  5. Repeat this to make one more set.
  6. At the top, garnish with cheese.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  8. Place the prepared polenta lasagna into the oven on the bottom rack and bake for 15 minutes.
  9. If you want to make the cheese browned, you can broil it after 15 minutes of baking.
  10. Set the oven to broil mode, keep it in low heat and place the baked polenta lasagna on the top rack and broil it for just 1 to 11/2 minutes.
  11. If you broil it for more than 1 or 2 minutes, the cheese will burn, so be very careful while broiling.
  12. Remove from the oven, let cool down a bit.
  13. Using a knife, cut into large slices and serve hot.
Notes
For making non-veg version: make the ground beef topping, here is the recipe.
You can add your favorite seasonings, herbs, or cheese while making polenta.

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