David really enjoyed this Grilled Vegetable Polenta Casserole. He had it for dinner and then took the leftovers in his lunch and ate them cold.
But I made a lot of changes so be sure to read the Notes section below to learn from my mistakes.
- 1 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise, ½” thick (1)
- 2 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise, ¼” thick
- 4 portobello mushrooms (2)
- 1 bunch asparagus (3)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 cups water (4)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups polenta or coarse cornmeal
- 1-1/2 cups marinara sauce
- ½ cup goat cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil (5)
Preheat a grill. Brush the eggplant, squash, mushrooms and asparagus with the oil. Place the vegetables on the grill and cook over medium-high heat, turning the squash, mushrooms and asparagus over after about 4 minutes. Cook all the vegetables 4 minutes longer. Remove the vegetables from the grill. Slice each mushroom into 8 strips. (6)
In a large pot over high heat, combine the water and salt and bring to a boil. Whisk in the polenta or cornmeal in a slow, steady stream. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the polenta reaches a thick but spreadable consistency. (7)
Preheat the oven to 375. To assemble the casserole, put ½ cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of a 13×9 baking dish. Add half of the polenta. Layer each of the grilled vegetables atop one another. Evenly spread the remaining polenta on top of the vegetables. Smother the top with the remaining marinara sauce. Sprinkle with the cheese and basil.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until the sauce starts to bubble. Remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until the cheese browns. Let the casserole cool 5 minutes before cutting.
(1) Believe it or not, my grocery store was out of eggplant. I got extra two zucchini instead.
(2) I bought canned mushrooms. I don’t like mushrooms; I don’t know anything about them; I went the easy route.
(3) I left the asparagus intact but David said it would be better if it was cut into smaller pieces. I’ll do that next time.
(4) Instead of making polenta from scratch, you can use two 16 ounce tubes of pre-made polenta cut into ¼” slices. That’s what I did but the pre-made polenta is about $3 a tube.
(5) I didn’t have fresh basil so I sprinkled dried basil on top of the casserole.
(6) I wasn’t able to grill the vegetables so I used my George Foreman. Big mistake! It worked okay but took forever! Next time I’ll either grill them outside or roast them in the oven.
(7) I skipped this and purchased pre-made polenta.
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