Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Yummy Polenta Lasagne: borrowed and altered

One of my very favourite websites is The Fat-Free Vegan. I am constantly bookmarking recipes from there although I am a compulsive recipe collector with not enough time to actually cook or bake all of my yummy looking finds. Somewhere in my genetic code is the tendency to try a new recipe whenever I am having company to dinner, and the recipe I am about to share is a success from just such a situation. I wanted something simple and elegant; I had to impress some new friends reported to be gourmands and also come up with something vegan that my husband would eat without too much grimacing. I went to my favourite website and her featured recipe that day was Polenta Lasagne with Kale and Portobello Mushrooms. I decided to make it and purchased the kale, kalamata olives and mushrooms required. I forgot to get the silken tofu needed and I chose to buy a tube of polenta instead of making my own, in order to save time.

I am making the recipe for the second time today, as it was absolutely delicious, and since I discovered that it tastes even better the next day, I'm making it for a family dinner tomorrow night, at which there will be no vegan food unless I provide some. This time I'm making my own polenta since I did find the little circles of polenta less than perfect for slicing and serving squares of this dish.

I also quite like the sauce I came up with in the absence of silken tofu, although it must be noted that it my sauce IS NOT FAT FREE. Please visit the website for the original recipe and other yummy things to make. Here is my version of it.

1 lb mushrooms-crimini are just baby portobellos and since you will be chopping them it is a cheaper way to go
1 onion, chopped
1 bunch kale, rinsed, de-stemmed and chopped
1 jar pitted kalamat olives
1 jar marinara sauce or 2 cups homemade marinara sauce
1 head garlic
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup soy milk
2 cups raw cashews
Bragg's liquid or Tamari to taste
onion powder (optional)
faux parmesan or homemade crumb topping

Spread cooked polenta on the bottom of a 9x13 oiled pan-after it sets it can be tipped out and sliced in half to use as a top and bottom layer in a smaller pan or make two sets of this polenta layer for a 9x13 casserole. I only have one 9x13 dish but I'm patiently making two batches of polenta.

Have prepared polenta on hand and make the filling.

Saute chopped onion in a large saucepan or crockpot, until onion is translucent and soft. Add chopped mushrooms and cook a few minutes longer. Stir in the chopped kale and cover with a tight fitting lid. Over minimum heat, let the kale steam until softened. Set aside the pot of vegetables and make the cashew cream sauce

Using the food processor in which I minced the onion, I find I have enough onion bits and juice left behind to eliminate the need for the onion powder. Add the cashews, garlic according to your preference (probably 3 or 4 cloves), nutritional yeast, Tamari and soy milk. Process until very smooth. Stir this cream sauce into the onion/kale mix.

Crumb Topping:

enough bread to make about 1 cup crumbs
1 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 tbsp salt
Process these ingredients together until mixed and crumbly. Add a little melted Earth Balance or olive oil to make the crumbs stick together.

Put one layer of polenta on the bottom of a lightly oiled 9x13 pan. Spread about 1 cup of marinara sauce over the polenta and then top with the cream sauce and vegetable mixture. Cover with a generous layer of kalamata olives and top with the second layer of polenta. I let my polenta cool and then turned it out onto a cutting board in one solid rectangle. To put it on the top of the casserole I cut it into squares that I could lift with a metal spatula and place on top of the olive/vegetable layer. Spread more marinara sauce on the top layer of polenta and then cover with faux parmesan or crumb topping.

Bake in 375 degree oven for about thirty minutes. In my opinion this is nicest reheated the second day.

(photo source-me-which is why it is such a bad picture. There was no time for staging or fancy lighting)

1 comment:

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