I love my husband for many reasons. He’s handsome, successful, and loves to do dishes. But one of the things that sets him apart from many men is that he will eat a meal with no meat. I’ve made enough vegetarian meals during our time together that he doesn’t have an ounce of disappointment when I tell him dinner involves no meat; instead, he looks forward to whatever delicious and heart vegetable combination will be gracing his plate. I’ve satisfied him enough times sans meat he knows a meatless meal is just as good as any. This layered polenta dish with roasted vegetables, bold tomato sauce and gooey cheese was no exception. The polenta added more heartiness and texture to the dish than simply lasagna noodles, and it’s quite healthy – in fact, anyone on the Core Weight Watchers plan knows that cornmeal is allowed. It’s also fairly easy to prepare on a busy weeknight, as the components can each be prepared ahead of time. I roasted the vegetables and prepared the polenta on the night before I intended to serve the dish, which made it easy to throw together after a run the next night. 4 cups low-sodium, fat free chicken broth
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
About 3 cups assorted roasted vegetables, your choice, roughly chopped (I used eggplant, peppers, and mushrooms)
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
3-4 cloves minced garlic
pinch of oregano and crushed red pepper
1 cup shredded cheese, an Italian blend is good
Bring the chicken broth to a boil and slowly add the cornmeal, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Line a 13×18 rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper, and spread the polenta in an even layer in the pan. Chill overnight.
Saute garlic in a bit of nonstick cooking spray over medium heat. Add crushed tomatoes and seasonings, bring to a boil, and simmer for about 10 minutes.
When ready to assemble, cut the polenta into squares. In a deep 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish, spread a thin layer of sauce, then create a layer of polenta squares. Top with half of the vegetables and some of the sauce, and 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat with another layer of polenta squares, the remaining vegetables, and some sauce, and another 1/3 of the cheese. Finish with a third layer of polenta, and the remaining sauce. Cover with foil and bake at 400 for about 15 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and bake for another 10 minutes or until bubble. Cool for about 10 minutes before slicing. Makes 4 servings.