Thursday, April 26, 2012

Polenta Lasagna with Eggplant and Greek Yogurt

There is something incredibly satisfying about polenta. It's dense but not heavy, pleasantly yellow, and just generally good

I remember making it with my mama from scratch (Don’t stop stirring! Don’t stop stirring!) -- pouring the creamy polenta into a pan, then slicing and serving like a savory pie topped with tomato sauce.

Then in college I made a groundbreaking Trader Joe’s discovery: you can buy pre-cooked polenta in a roll! Just slice, heat, and eat! All of a sudden polenta was again  easy and accessible for my too-lazy/busy sophomore self.

The following recipe uses that super-easy already-made polenta, but jazzes it up quite a bit to make something fabulous. Meet Polenta Lasagna with Eggplant and Greek Yogurt, where polenta parades as noodles, and the fillings are only limited by your own creativity!

It may look long and labor-intensive, but this recipe really only takes about 30 minutes to prep and 30 to bake. The fillings can be adjusted to fit your fridge's contents, mood, and the can make it vegetarian, vary the vegetables, and add as much or as little cheese as you like. 

And this makes for great leftovers...Do it!

Polenta Lasagna with Eggplant  and Greek Yogurt

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/2 cup white mushrooms, diced (optional)
  • 2 1/2 cup eggplant, diced
  • 1 roll of polenta, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup jarred marinara sauce
  • a sprinkling of cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 2 pre-cooked/frozen turkey meatballs, finely chopped (optional...I used these)
  • 1/2 cup non-fat plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese (set aside 1 teaspoon for sprinkling on top)
  • 2 teaspoons sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped (they usually come whole or in strips, so you have to chop them up)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mediterranean herb blend, or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • salt and pepper

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat olive oil and garlic over medium-low until the oil is hot (about 2 minutes). Add in onions and saute until translucent (5-10 minutes).
  2. Add in eggplant and saute until slightly cooked, about 10 minutes. The secret of this recipe is NOT to over-cook the eggplant now, because it'll cook much more in the oven. If you over-cook at the beginning, it'll end up a soggy mess.
  3. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Add mushrooms to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, just to start the cooking (same principle as the eggplant).
  5. In a small bowl, mix the diced meatballs, Greek yogurt, parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, herbs, and salt and pepper.

  • Preheat your oven to 375*. Spray or grease an 8-inch pan. 
  • Lay down 1/3 of the polenta slices, covering the bottom of the pan as best as you can. (TIP: Thinly slicing the polenta can be difficult. I recommend refrigerating the roll for at least an hour before slicing. Then, clean off your knife every few slices. And don't worry if it's not perfect, it really doesn't matter that much.)
  • Spread the eggplant mixture over the polenta, then spread 1/2 the marinara over the eggplant.
  • Lay down the next 1/3 polenta slices. Spread the Greek yogurt mixture on top. 
  • Sprinkle mushrooms over it.
  • Lay down last 1/3 of polenta slices.
  • Cover the polenta with the rest of the marinara, then sprinkle grated cheddar and the 1 teaspoon of Parmesan on top.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Let the lasagna sit in the pan for 10 minutes to set before cutting.