ABOUT THE RECIPE:
Pantry Polenta Lasagna is a very flavorful lasagna that is quick to assemble using mostly pantry ingredients.
Makes 4 to 6 Servings
Vegan and Gluten-Free
1 jar (24 to 26 ounces) vegan marinara sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos, divided
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend, divided
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (use 1/8 teaspoon for less spicy)
1 block (15 to 16 ounces) extra-firm regular tofu (refrigerated tub), drained and broken into chunks (see note)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tube (16 ounces) very cold, precooked sun-dried tomato or Italian-style flavored gluten-free polenta, cut into 24 thin slices (see note)
2 cans (4 ounces each) sliced cremini or white button mushrooms, well drained (see note)
Preheat the oven to 375° F.
To make the sauce, put the vegan marinara sauce, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon tamari, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, and the crushed red pepper into a medium-sized bowl and stir with a large spoon to combine.
To make the vegan ricotta, put the tofu, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon tamari, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend, and a few grinds of freshly ground pepper into a medium-sized bowl. Mash to the consistency of ricotta cheese using a potato masher or large fork.
Evenly pour one-third of the marinara sauce mixture into the bottom of a 9- x 12-inch or similarly sized casserole dish.
Arrange 12 polenta slices in an even layer over the marinara sauce mixture. Top the polenta slices with all of the tofu mixture, spreading it evenly over the polenta slices and gently compressing it with the back of a spoon or spatula. Arrange all of the mushrooms in an even layer over the tofu. Top the mushrooms with one-third of the marinara sauce mixture.
Arrange the remaining 12 polenta slices in an even layer over the marinara sauce layer. Top with the remaining one-third of the marinara sauce mixture, and then sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend over the marinara sauce.
Cover tightly and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and tent it very loosely over the lasagna and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes or until the top of the casserole becomes slightly golden.
Put the casserole on a wire rack and let cool for 12 to 15 minutes before cutting it into 12 equal sized squares. Serve 2 to 3 squares per person with a simple green salad or steamed green vegetables on the side.
Chef’s note: If preferred, you may use 1½ aseptic packages of extra-firm tofu in place of the refrigerated variety. The resulting tofu ricotta will not be as firm, but it will still be quite tasty!
Chef's note: If you are cooking gluten-free, be certain to buy certified gluten-free, precooked tubes of polenta to ensure that the polenta is completely free of gluten.
Chef’s Note: You may use sliced fresh mushrooms in place of the canned variety, if desired. To do so, sauté 8 ounces of freshly sliced mushrooms in 1 teaspoon of olive oil and/or a bit of water, for about 7 minutes, before adding them to the lasagna.