Vegetarianized.com turned five on April 16, but instead of a cake I made a lasagna. Ounce for ounce, polenta has less sodium and more fiber than lasagna noodles—plus it's a fun change of pace! This is a springy version with mushrooms, mustard greens, leeks and sage combined with three cheeses—parmesan, ricotta and fontina.
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Time: About 30 minutes active; 2 hours total (plus cooling the polenta overnight)
3 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups polenta
3 ounces parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped fine
1/4 cup flour
3 cups fat-free milk
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups leeks (white and light green parts only), chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 pound mustard greens, stemmed and chopped
1 cup fresh parsley
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces fontina cheese, grated and divided
1. In a large pot, heat vegetable stock over medium-high heat until boiling. Whisk in polenta until combined, then turn to low and cook 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sage and parmesan cheese.
2. Spray a 9"x13" casserole dish with cooking spray and spread polenta evenly over the bottom. Cover with foil and refrigerate until cooled and set, about 4 hours or overnight.
3. Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 degrees.
4. To make the béchamel sauce, whisk flour and milk together in a small pot over medium heat. When thickened, after about 8-10 minutes, remove from heat and add ricotta, pepper and nutmeg, and whisk until combined. Set aside.
5. For the filling, heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Add leeks and garlic and sauté 3 minutes. Then add mushrooms, greens and SnP. Cook about 10 minutes more until most of the moisture is removed. Remove from heat and set aside.
6. Put a board on top on the polenta and turn upside down until polenta comes out. Gently cut the polenta lengthwise.
7. To assemble, spread 1/4 of the béchamel mixture evenly on the bottom of the casserole dish. Then gently place the bottom half of the polenta on top. Spread half of the vegetable mixture, half of the béchamel sauce and half of the fontina cheese over the polenta. Then place the second half of the polenta on top. Lastly, spread with the remaining vegetable mixture, béchamel and fontina.
8. Bake covered 25 minutes. Then remove cover and bake 15 minutes more. Remove and let stand 15 minutes before serving.
Writer Bio: Adrienne D. Capps loves food AND is a vegetarian! These things are not mutually exclusive in her world. She is passionate about eating, drinking, cooking, teaching, reading about food and growing food. Her goal with her food blog, Vegetarianized.com, is to open up the world of vegetarian cooking and eating to the veg-friendly and the veg-curious in an accessible way. She promises never to try to convert or make you feel guilty—just that eating less meat can be part of a healthy, fun and, above all, tasty lifestyle.