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  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes one 11×7-inch lasagna

A tasty twist on lasagna, this vegan casserole recipe swaps out noodles for comforting Italian-seasoned polenta, layered with a saucy filling of lentils, kale, and bell pepper. Every forkful delivers a mouthwatering mix of the fluffy grains, tangy marinara, and tender veggies. 

polenta lasagna casserole shown topped with marinara sauce and fresh basil leaves

Ingredients

  • 2 onions, chopped (2 cups)
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups oil-free low-sodium marinara sauce
  • 1 15-oz. can brown lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups coarsely torn stemmed kale
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups dry polenta
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 to 8 fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-low. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water, 1 to 2 Tbsp. at a time, as needed to prevent sticking.
  2. Add 1 cup of the marinara, the lentils, kale, vinegar, tomato paste, and black pepper to skillet. Mix well and taste to adjust seasoning.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan bring 8 cups water to boiling. Gradually whisk in polenta, baking soda, and salt. Reduce heat to low; cook about 20 minutes or until mixture is thick and creamy, stirring frequently.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Evenly spread one-third of the polenta into a 2-qt. baking dish. Cover the saucepan so the remaining polenta doesn’t dry out. Spread half of the lentil mixture over the polenta in the baking dish. Top it with another one-third of the polenta. Repeat with the remaining lentil mixture and polenta, smoothing the polenta layer evenly.
  5. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes. Just before serving, warm the remaining marinara and spread it over the top of the lasagna. Garnish with fresh basil.

Comments (12)

(4.33 from 6 votes)
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Heather2 months ago
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I had to come back and comment again. *This dish is best served the second day. It allows the polenta to set up then, when cut, it slices cleanly like a layered cake. Looks impressive!
I reheated mine in a cast iron skillet adding water to steam on medium for 15 minutes. The dish holds together beautifully and transfers unbroken to be plated.

Heather2 months ago
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I used yellow corn grits in place of polenta, rice vinegar and probably too many vegetables but, turned out well. Very hardy, filling and flavorful! I added a pinch of cayenne to the lentil mixture and topped it with some bruschetta I had sitting around- delicious!

Kurt2 months ago
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A nutritious, whole food/plant-based, no oil, and fairly tasty dish which in no way resembles lasagna. I sat down to eat 2.5 hours after launching the recipe. I won’t make again because too laborious and time-consuming to justify the outcome, both in preparation and clean-up.

Alberto2 months ago
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great alternative to traditional polenta. I do not add salt, and I am using a can of imported tomatoes SanMarzano (whole, not chopped). Why is baking soda necessary?

Polenta Granny2 months ago
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It may be what makes the polenta “fluffy.” I would not call the polenta I make for cereal or frying, “fluffy.” That fluffiness may, also, allow the sauces to meld more evenly into the cornmeal.

Yolanda Garza2 months ago
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I love the recipes, I can’t wait to start cooking.

ATCBusesOrlando2 months ago
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Sounds really good, will try to cook it tonight.

Gina2 months ago
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I took the yard sauce to mean Lori was a gardener and had some nice veggies coming in already in her yard.

This might be good in a Tex Mex version and the polenta made with blue corn meal!

Lori Belenzon3 months ago
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I had to do some improvising, using black beans instead of lentils, and a good yard red sauce instead of the sauce ingredients, but other than that I mostly follow the recipe. Very easy and delicious! The challenge is not eating each of the components individually before putting them together into this lovely Pie!

Cindi M.3 months ago
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Comfort food! This has a mellow flavor that is just right or can be customized to your preferences. Easy to make. I’m looking forward to trying the leftovers to see how the flavors merge ever further.

Diana Trent2 months ago
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Karen,
I think Lori meant jarred sauce. 🙂

Karen Moore2 months ago
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Lori Belenzon, what does that even mean? What is a good yard sauce??? Thx!

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Darshana Thacker

Darshana Thacker is chef and culinary project manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit DarshanasKitchen.com for more.

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