Squash Polenta Casserole



I’m totally up to my neck in squash and from the CSA, so instead of making zucchini bread, I decided to experiment with polenta, which I just recently cooked with for the first time. I tried this recipe the other night when I had friends over for dinner and it was a huge success (I love all her recipes!). Daiya cheese would have gone great with this too but I ran out and was already back home in Brooklyn (can only find it in Manhattan so far). I’ve also been getting a ton of basil so I’m putting pesto on EVERYTHING, but who would complain about that?

For the pesto:

  • 1 1/2 cup fresh basil, sprigs removed
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 tbsp cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • salt
  • crushed red pepper
Process everything up, pouring the olive oil in little by little. I left it chunky, but if you want you can add more olive oil to make it smoother.
For the polenta:
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 tsp salt
I followed veganprairiefood’s method:
Combine the cornmeal, salt and cold water, then pour into the boiling water on the stove. Turn the burner down to medium low heat and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the cornmeal thickens into a thick paste. I set it by the window to cool for about 20 minutes.
For the filling:
  • 5 small summer squash (i used green and yellow) halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups napa cabbage, steamed until soft but crisp (about 10 min
  • tempeh crumbles (adapted from post punk kitchen recipe, without the sage and added 1 tsp nutritional yeast)

Grease the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch pan and preheat oven to 375º

Saute the onions for about 7 minutes until they turn soft and translucent, then add to the tempeh and cook for another 3 minutes on med-low heat.

While that’s cooking, roll the polenta into a cylinder and cut into thin slices to layer the bottom of the pan with.

On top of that, layer the zucchini, tempeh, cabbage, and pesto (I had room for about 2 rounds of layers) and top off with the remaining polenta slices.

Bake for about 25 min. This made about 5 servings, and the leftovers were great for a quick yummy breakfast the next day too when we were in a hurry to go berry picking. The one redeeming thing about the atrociously hot summer in New York has been all the great fruits and veggies!

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