The husband has been traveling a lot for work recently.
That means a lot of eating out and running around, neither of which are very comforting or satisfying.
So when he came home from his latest trip, I wanted a dish that was the epitome of comfort food. I was thinking lasagna, but I wanted a slight twist on that recipe – to mix things up a bit.
After some extensive online searching for inspiration, I came across this great recipe from EatingWell.com that turned out to be exactly what I was looking for!
I love polenta – I feel like it adds a great texture and flavor to dishes, especially when paired with cheese 🙂
For this recipe I used parmesan cheese, but you could also use mozzarella or maybe even goat cheese would be interesting. Either way, you will end up with a hearty, filling, lasagna-esque dish that takes about 45 minutes to make (including baking time!) I modified the EatingWell recipe, so my modified version is below.
The husband loved it. He said it was the perfect dinner to come home to after a long trip.
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion
- 3 yellow/orange or red peppers, diced
- 7 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 zucchini, finely diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 tbsp dried Italian seasoning (or more to taste)
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- 8-10 ounces baby spinach, chopped
- 1 jar of spaghetti sauce (make sure to get one that’s all-natural, with no sugar added – I like Muir Glen Organic Garden Vegetable sauce)
- 16 ounces prepared organic polenta, sliced lengthwise into ~24 thin slices
- 1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan cheese, divided
Step 1: Preheat oven to 450 degree F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, red pepper, zucchini, garlic, salt and pepper, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown, 4 to 6 minutes.
Step 2: Add spinach; cook until wilted, stirring once, about 3 minutes.
Step 3: Stir marinara sauce into the vegetables and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes.
Step 4: Slice polenta, and place half of the polenta slices in a single layer in the prepared baking dish, trimming to fit if necessary.
Step 5: Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese, top with the zucchini/spinach mixture and sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Then repeat: one more layer of polenta, one layer of veggies, and the remaining cheese on top.
Step 6: Bake until bubbling and the cheese has just melted, 12 to 15 minutes. Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
Doesn’t that just look like the most delicious casserole ever?
This recipe makes 8 HUGE servings, and it’s a wonderful balanced meal with the fiber and healthy goodness from the veggies, the protein from the cheese, and the whole grains from the polenta.
And when you serve it, all of that sauce and cheese creates this gooey, warm texture that just makes you want to go back for seconds.
Which we did.
We also had it for leftovers another night, and it tasted just as great reheated!
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