Layered Vegetable and Polenta Casserole

It took me a while to get into polenta.

I love things with cornmeal, but seeing a log of polenta at the grocery store made it look very unappetizing.  Polenta was one cornmeal specialty that I needed to warm up to.

This weekend, I decided to throw away my polenta reservations and concoct a Layered Vegetable Polenta Casserole in response to a suggestion at the bottom of a  basic polenta recipe in one of my cookbooks.  I was feeling pretty lazy, so instead of making my own polenta I  picked up a 1 pound log of polenta from the grocery store.  Not that polenta is difficult to make, but slicing the polenta into rounds for my casserole would be even easier!

I decided to go with a tomato marinara type sauce and went with zucchini, eggplant and yellow pepper with a bit of feta cheese.  Eggplant really brings a nice texture to baked vegetable dishes, a contrast to the crunch of the pepper and zucchini.

The feta cheese added a nice salty tang to the dish, but looked rather uninspiring.  The goat’s milk feta that I bought neither crumbled or melted well.  Next time, I will use a blend of Italian cheeses.

Aside from that, it turned out wonderful and EPC even stated that he felt the polenta was the best part.  I would have to agree, I savoured each bite and went back for seconds.

With my polenta apprehension a thing of the past, I think you will be seeing a lot more of it at Cookbook Cooks.

Layered Vegetable and Polenta Casserole

1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Japanese eggplant, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
28 ounce can diced tomato
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili peppers
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2-3/4 pound of polenta (sold in 1 pound round)
175 g of crumbled feta cheese, or a generous 1 cup of shredded cheese of your choice

  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion and saute for 3-5 minutes.
  • Add garlic and continue to saute for 3 minutes, stirring often so the garlic does not stick.
  • Add zucchini, eggplant and pepper and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano and chilies.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°C
  • Slice the polenta into 1/2 inch rounds
  • Cover the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish with a thin layer of sauce (be careful  not to use more than 1/3). Top with a layer of polenta.  Top with half the remaining sauce and half the cheese.  Top with another layer of polenta, sauce and cheese.
  • Bake at 350°C for 20-25 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted.

Click to print


2 responses to “Layered Vegetable and Polenta Casserole

  1. I am surprised you bought the polenta it is so easy to make on your own and tastes so much better… I hate that stuff in the package – but, with this sauce, it would be yummy. Think how light and perfect it would be with homemade polenta.
    But, I love polenta!

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