Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bill Clinton almost a Vegan? and Vegan Polenta Lasagna, Two Ways

Have you heard the big news? Former President Bill Clinton has adopted a plant based diet. See it here. I almost started to cry. It's incredible publicity for the work of both Dr. T. Colin Campbell, and his son, Dr. Thomas Campbell, authors of The China Study, as well as Drs. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dean Ornish.

On a lighter note, here's a great vegan recipe for entertaining a large crowd or just for feeding your family during a busy week. It's a variation on a recipe from Cooking Light magazine that I had to put my own twist on after my friend Lisa C made it and brought it to my vegan pot luck party this summer. I happen to really like polenta and I think that this polenta lasagna concept is super yummy. I hope you feel the same!

Wendy's Vegan Polenta Lasagna
makes 8 servings

vegetable broth for sauteing
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
16 ounces fresh spinach OR 2 medium zucchini, shredded
25 ounce jar of your favorite pasta/marinara sauce
1 1/2 tubes prepared polenta, sliced into 24 rounds
4 or 8 ounces vegan shredded mozzarella cheese (I like Daiya brand)

Preheat oven to 350°. Can also be prepared and placed, uncooked, in the refrigerator for a day until ready to cook.

Spoon 1/2 cup marinara sauce into an 9x13-inch baking dish to cover bottom, and set aside.

Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable broth in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté, stirring frequently, 5 minutes or until onions are tender and translucent. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add more broth, a little at a time as needed so the pan does not get too dry.  Add mushrooms and sauté 4 minutes or until mushrooms are tender, stirring frequently. Add spinach (1/3 at a time) OR all of the shredded zucchini and stir. When spinach is wilted OR zucchini is cooked, add 3/4 cup of marinara sauce; reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute. Season to taste with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Arrange 12 polenta slices over marinara in baking dish, and top evenly with half of vegetable mixture. Sprinkle 2 ounces of cheese (or 4 ounces if you want this more cheesy and thus higher in calories and fat) over vegetable mixture; arrange remaining polenta over cheese. Top polenta with the remaining vegetable mixture.  Place a spoonful of pasta sauce over each "mound" of polenta and vegetables. Gently press each mound and spread sauces with the back of your spoon.  Sprinkle with remaining 2 or 4 ounces of cheese.

Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to cook or cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Gotta add more broth, onions are starting to get too dry!

Mushrooms are cooking down.

Spinach has all wilted down nicely.

Tomato sauce is now in; this is yummy enough to eat all by itself!

Here is the filling with the shredded zucchini.

Cutting the rounds is so much fun! Just use a big chef's knife. Slice the polenta in half and then half again, as the chunk gets smaller holding it from above with your thumb and forefinger on both sides. Keep slicing the chunks in half until you have 24 slices.

Layering this baby up!

Ready to be spread out with a spoon.

Ta da! Ready for the oven or refrigerator.


Jessica said...

I loved the piece with Bill and Wolf. Thanks for posting. The polenta lasagna looks excellent - I can't wait to try it.

whitney blane said...

this looks so delicious! now i have to decide between this and an egg tahini recipe i hard to choose!!

eversteph said...

I'm not crazy about polenta (homemade or store-prepared) but I'll try this with noodles!

Maggie San Diego said...

Nutritarian a term coined by Dr. Fuhrman.

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