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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Polenta and Garden Vegetable Lasagna

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Polenta replaces traditional lasagna noodles in this hearty, gluten-free, satisfying casserole! Packed with fresh vegetables, Italian spices and cheese, it’s a vegetarian friendly dish that the whole family will love.

polenta and garden vegetable lasagna, cut and served on a white plate with the full casserole dish in the background

We love lasagna in our house! Lasagna, when done correctly, can take 90 minutes-2 hours to make. Usually, I don’t have that kind of time, but that doesn’t mean I have to give up making lasagna! This polenta and garden vegetable lasagna is the perfect, quick and easy recipe – ready in under 45 minutes and just as satisfying as the traditional version!

polenta and garden vegetable lasagna, cut and served on a white plate, top view

I love this twist on the traditional version of lasagna. Fresh, sliced polenta replaces the noodles, a mix of shredded cheeses make it rich but not too heavy, and seasonal veggies cooked with Italian spices add texture and flavor to this recipe. I was originally inspired by this recipe from EatingWell, but modified it significantly to make it even more flavorful and healthy — to appeal to meat-eaters, picky-eaters, vegetarians and gluten-free diets alike!

This recipe makes 8 HUGE servings, and it’s a wonderful balanced meal with the fiber and healthy goodness from the veggies, the protein from the cheese, and the whole grains from the polenta.

It also makes for amazing leftovers, and will last in the fridge for up to 4 days!

ingredients for polenta and garden vegetable lasagna: sliced polenta, tomato sauce, zucchini, peppers, spinach, onion, spices, garlic and cheese

How To Make This Polenta and Garden Veggie Bake – Step By Step

Step 1: Preheat oven to 450 degree F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, red pepper, zucchini, garlic, salt and pepper, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown, 4 to 6 minutes.

onion, red pepper, zucchini, garlic, salt and pepper, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper being cooked in a pot on the stove
onion, red pepper, zucchini, garlic, salt and pepper, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper being cooked in a pot on the stove

Step 2: Add spinach; cook until wilted, stirring once, about 3 minutes. Stir marinara sauce into the vegetables and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes.

tomato sauce and spinach added to veggie/spice mixture, in a large pot on the stove

Step 3: Slice polenta, and place half of the polenta slices in a single layer in the prepared baking dish, trimming to fit if necessary.

sliced polenta placed in a white casserole dish

Step 4: Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese.

shredded cheese added to sliced polenta in casserole dish

Step 5: Top with the zucchini/spinach mixture and sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese.

layer of vegetable mixture plus shredded cheese added to previous layers in casserole dish

Step 6: Repeat: one more layer of polenta, one layer of veggies, and the remaining cheese on top.

layering repeated for polenta garden vegetable lasagna

Step 7: Bake until bubbling and the cheese has just melted, 12 to 15 minutes.

top view of polenta garden vegetable lasagna, before going into the oven

Step 8: Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

polenta garden vegetable lasagna in white casserole dish, served from the oven

Is Polenta Healthy For You?

The short answer is, yes! Polenta is made from cornmeal – so if you’re using organic polenta it is a great gluten-free alternative in many recipes. Other than being gluten-free, polenta has a number of health benefits including:

  • High in fiber
  • A good source of complex carbs, making it low glycemic. This means it’s broken down more slowly and takes longer to digest, keeping your blood sugar levels steady.
  • Rich in Vitamin A and C, and a good source of carotenoids
polenta and garden vegetable lasagna, cut and served on a white plate

A good-for-you recipe that’s simple to make!

This is a super balanced meal, it’s got it all! Fiber, protein and tons of nutrients from the veggies. The best part? It’s so easy to make! Only 20 minutes to prep, about 20 minutes to cook. You just need to cook down the veggies and add the ingredients into a pan, then just layer your polenta and bake mix into a baking dish. 45 minutes and done!

Is this polenta and garden vegetable lasagna kid-friendly?

You might be surprised, but yes it is! The combination of the cheese, creamy polenta and fragrant spices makes this a dish that the whole family (picky kids included) will love. If you have an especially picky eater who can’t stand looking at a vegetable, I recommend chopping up the veggies in this dish super super small so that they blend into the sauce and aren’t very noticeable. You can even use a food processor to finely chop the veggies to make it easier to “hide” them in the dish 🙂

polenta and garden vegetable lasagna, cut and served on a white plate with the full casserole dish in the background

Top Tips For This Polenta and Garden Vegetable Lasagna

  • Use a pasta sauce that is all natural with no added sugar.
  • Make sure to pre-heat your oven!
  • You can use any kind of shredded cheese you like in this recipe. I opted for sharper parmesan, but mozzarella or goat cheese would taste fabulous as well!
  • Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
  • If you need to make this ahead of time, assemble everything the day before and refrigerate — unbaked and covered — for up to 24 hours.

Check Out These Other Delicious Meatless Italian Dishes

Also, if you have tried this polenta and garden vegetable lasagna recipe, or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

Print Recipe
5 from 7 votes

Polenta and Garden Vegetable Lasagna

Polenta replaces traditional lasagna noodles in this hearty, gluten-free, satisfying casserole! Packed with fresh vegetables, Italian spices and cheese, it's a vegetarian friendly dish that the whole family will love.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 215kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 yellow/orange or red peppers diced
  • 7 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 zucchini finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp dried Italian seasoning or more to taste
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 8-10 ounces baby spinach chopped
  • 1 jar of spaghetti sauce make sure to get one that’s all-natural, with no sugar added – I like Muir Glen Organic Garden Vegetable sauce
  • 16 ounces prepared organic polenta sliced lengthwise into ~24 thin slices
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan cheese divided

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450 degree F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, red pepper, zucchini, garlic, salt and pepper, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown, 4 to 6 minutes.
  • Add spinach; cook until wilted, stirring once, about 3 minutes.
  • Stir marinara sauce into the vegetables and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Slice polenta, and place polenta slices in a single layer in the prepared baking dish, trimming to fit if necessary.
  • Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese, top with the zucchini/spinach mixture and sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Then repeat: one more layer of polenta, one layer of veggies, and the remaining cheese on top.
  • Bake until bubbling and the cheese has just melted, 12 to 15 minutes. Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

Top Tips For This Polenta and Garden Vegetable Lasagna
  • Use a pasta sauce that is all natural with no added sugar.
  • Make sure to pre-heat your oven!
  • You can use any kind of shredded cheese you like in this recipe. I opted for sharper parmesan, but mozzarella or goat cheese would taste fabulous as well!
  • Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
  • If you need to make this ahead of time, assemble everything the day before and refrigerate — unbaked and covered — for up to 24 hours.
Modified from: EatingWell

Nutrition

Calories: 215kcal | Carbohydrates: 26.3g | Protein: 10.4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 880mg | Potassium: 547mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g

Posted In…

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60 responses to “Polenta and Garden Vegetable Lasagna”

  1. I have picky eaters in my house! I think they may like this. I know my husband and I would for sure! My mom made us homemade sauce and I am putting this on the menu next week!

  2. This looks like such a delicious option to bake. I love the idea of getting more veggies into our daily dishes, thankful to see this polenta and garden vegetables bake recipe so I can give it a try!

  3. I’ve never heard of polenta and had to look it up. It sounds delicious and something that I would be interested in trying. I’m like you and love lasagna but it takes forever to make. Plus, this version is healthy and full of veggies. We will have to give it a try soon.

  4. I made this receipe yesterday. I had never cooked with polenta before and have to say, it’s the best thing I have made in a very long time. I used homemade marinara sauce and it is absolutely delish!!!!! I’m on your sight now looking for my next cooking adventure. Thanks for blogging! 🙂

    • Hooray!!! I’m sooo happy to hear that Tracy 🙂 Love the idea of using homemade marinara sauce with this as well! Thanks for letting me know!

  5. Hello, this looks so good and I plan to make it this weekend. Is there something I can use to replace the zucchini? Every time I use it in a casserole it produces so much liquid. Maybe it will be absorbed by the polenta. Your thoughts?

    • Hi Yvette! I didn’t have any issues with the zucchini making this recipe too liquid-y, I think the key is to making sure you don’t cook the zucchini down too much. But if you don’t want to risk it, you can replace it with carrots, any other squash, or just more bell peppers (red, yellow, orange, green – any kind will work). Hope that helps, let me know how it turns out!

      • Hi Anjali, I made the recipe this weekend and it was delicious!! I decided to try it your way first by using the zucchini and it worked out just fine. I added mushrooms and I also used a slotted spoon when transferring the vegetable mixture to the baking dish. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Thanks for all you do!!

      • Oh that’s so great! I’m glad the zucchini worked out. And yes! Using a slotted spoon is a great tip 🙂 Thanks Yvette!

    • Thanks Suzanne! I think your kids will like it! It kind of tastes & feels like lasagna, which I think is pretty kid-friendly 🙂 You’ll have to let me know how it turns out and what they say!

    • Thank you so much Christine!! And yes – isn’t that pre-made polenta amazing? It tastes so great too 🙂 I’m sure you will love this recipe!

    • Awesome! You know, originally I was intimidated by cooking with polenta, but it is actually the easiest thing in the world. Let me know how this recipe turns out for you!

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