Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cheesy Polenta Casserole with Roasted Bell Pepper Sauce

There are nights when I want to make polenta from scratch from whole-grain cornmeal, roast bell peppers to perfection in the oven, or slowly simmer a tomato sauce on the stovetop. And then there are nights when you just want dinner fast. Enter the pantry, and some of my favorite staples, like tube polenta, bottled roasted bell peppers, and canned tomato sauce. Will it taste as fresh as the homemade version? No, but it will be tasty and satisfying, and sometimes that's what matters most.

  • 2 cups tomato-and-basil pasta sauce
  • 1/4 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (7-ounce) bottle roasted red bell peppers
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 (16-ounce) tube polenta
  • 3/4 cup shredded Daiya mozzarella
  • 2 tablespoons vegan Parmesan sprinkles (such as Galaxy Foods)
1. Drain the bell peppers and cut into slices.  Add to a saucepan, along with the pasta sauce, olives, balsamic, and black pepper.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of a 13x9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Cut the polenta tube into 12 slices, and arrange evenly over the sauce.

3. Spread with the remaining sauce, and sprinkle with the mozzarella and Parmesan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes - your casserole should be nice and bubbly by the end.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1 portion), Calories 221

Tasting Notes:
Excellent, big flavor - the simple addition of bottled olives and bell peppers to the tomato sauce makes it taste like something simmered carefully over the stove, instead of thrown together in minutes, and the splash of balsamic makes all the difference. The casserole itself is warm and filling with just the right amount of gooey cheese. My only complaint is the messy appearance from dividing the casserole into 4 servings. Next time I would bake in individual gratin dishes.


No comments:

Post a Comment