Ratatouille Polenta Lasagna

Noodless Lasagna is what I bring you today for #MM.  Don’t mistake- this dietitian LOVES her noodles- any form of pasta, really.  Carbs in general.  But- in my defense, my body LOVES carbohydrates as much as your body does.  Guaranteed.  

Your Body, my body.. everyone’s body runs on glucose (carbs) and wants nothing more than the ability to use up that energy first and foremost.  Your body- the brain in particular- doesn’t exactly like using protein and fat as it’s first source of energy.  It is natural for your body to use up the glucose first.. It is actually an entirely different absorption cycle in your body when you have to use protein and fat over the carbs. 

Hence the serious grouch-factor and black cloud of lethargy that follows an individual on a low-carbohydrate diet.  Your body is sucking the life out of your muscles for the stored glucose (glycogen)- therefore producing the initial weight loss from your muscles.  Not actual (true) fat loss.  It’s water and glucose storage- in other words, muscle depletion. 

There- mini biochemistry lesson for your week.

Back to this noodless lasagna.  Instead of lasagna noodles I opted for another grain- polenta.  If you are a regular follower- you have come to know that I love meeeee some polenta.  Fo shizzz.  A lot of recipes I have seen using this grain for layering use the store bought tubes- cut to form a layer. 

What if I made something with just one solid layer of the polenta?  Okay :) I took inspiration for this recipe in particular from one of my favorites- RR.  The girl knows how to cook.. and eat.  But mostly cook and eats really heavy foods. 

She kept calling this a healthy recipe because it was meatless. 

I absolutely loved her idea of making a red sauce with tons of veggies.. But when the steps that followed included a bechamel sauce made with milk and butter, whole milk ricotta, and tons of parmesan cheese stirred into her polenta made with whole milk.. and then poured it over her beautiful vegetable concotion.. I started screaming at the television- You’re ruining it!

So here I am again- re-making another one of her recipes.. which is fine by me.  Still love ya, girl.  But your idea of healthy is different than mine. 

My version includes more vegetables- calling it a ratatouille rather than a red sauce- clever that I am.

I skipped that bechamel sauce.  Totally not needed.  Went for the part skim ricotta and spinach mixture to layer over my polenta made with vegetable broth, reduced fat milk, and a light cream cheese for creamy texture. 

Finished it off with the remaining rataouille sauce and topped it with a strong flavored cheese.

This time is was provolone.. but you can sub out any cheese you like. 

Baked, cheesey, healthy goodness.

Prep time wasn’t exactly 30 minutes I would say- as she boasts on her show.  Watching it was stressing me out- she used every pan in her kitchen.  So plan to make this on a weekend beforehand to cook up later in the week. 

I did make mine after getting home from work without diffculty- took me about 45 minutes.  But not all of us have that luxury of a consecutive 45 minutes to spare. 

But I wont bluff and say this is a 30-minute meal.

 But- without a doubt, this was a delicious meal!  So find some time and make this- totally worth the effort, my friends.

Ratatouille Polenta Lasagna

Yield: Serves 8

Ratatouille Polenta Lasagna

Ingredients

  • Ratatouille:
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 orange or red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 heirloom tomatoes, rough chopped
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • Polenta:
  • 3 cups skim milk
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups instant polenta
  • 1/2 cup (2-ounces) 1/3 less fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup (2-ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup (4-ounces) provolone cheese

Instructions

Preheat your oven 350 degrees.

For the Ratatouille: Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add onion, zucchini, and bell pepper; cook stirring frequently until veggies begin to softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add in garlic and carrots; cook for another 6 minutes. Add in fresh and canned tomatoes; stir to combine. Season with Herbs, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cover and allow to simmer 15 minutes; do not stir.

Meanwhile, combine ricotta and spinach in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat milk and broth over medium high heat- bring to boil, but watch carefully- the milk with boil over very quickly. Once liquid is bubbling, stir in polenta, rapidly whisking to prevent clumps- 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cream cheese and Parmesan.

Layer your lasagna! Coat a large 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Add about 1/2 of the ratatouille to the bottom of the pan. Layer half of polenta over top. Gently spread ricotta-spinach mixture over polenta. Layer with remaining polenta and top with remaining ratatouille sauce. Sprinkle with provolone cheese. Bake @ 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until casserole is bubbly and cheese is golden.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 300; Fat 10 g; Carbohydrate 33.5 g; Fiber 4.3 g; Protein 19.2 g

http://chocolate-broccoli.com/2012/04/ratatouille-polenta-lasagna.html

Comments

  1. I love a polenta lasagna!! This looks so yummy!! Please make this and bring it to my house :) .

  2. I just grilled my first polenta last week-It is a great carb alternative. This looks delish!

  3. I can’t wait to try this. Thanks for the step-by-step instructions!

  4. I have been studying what food do the best for our health and why we should eat them. If we know why we are eating something, and know what is will do for us, I believe we will be more likey to eat it!

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