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Layered Polenta Casserole

polenta layered casserole

I made this recipe with the addition of Parmesan cheese, some in the polenta itself and some on top of the final layer, but I felt it would be just as good without it and then could be a great non diary side dish for a meat meal. It is a bit of work, but can be made ahead and adjusted to suit anyones needs. If you are making dairy and really love cheese you can top the dish with any kind of cheese you like.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 8-10 ServingsServings


  • 6 cup water (broth or part milk works too)
  • 2 cup polenta (cornmeal)

Bean Layer

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 can (15 oz.) cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 whole sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup water or broth
  • 1/2 bunch kale, chopped

Mushroom Layer

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, cut into cubes


  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)


If making your own polenta, prepare that first so that it will set.  You can do this the day before.

Pour the water into a large saucepan; once boiling add about 1 teaspoon salt and stir in the cornmeal and whisk it until it dissolves. Over medium-high heat, cook the cornmeal, whisking constantly until the polenta thickens and begins to leave the sides of the pan and forms a loose ball.  Taste and adjust the salt as needed.

Scoop the polenta out onto a lightly oiled large cutting board or baking sheet and spread it evenly. Allow it to cool. It is best to refrigerate the polenta for an hour before slicing it or make it ahead and hold it covered overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees; with rack in upper third.

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, until fragrant about 2 minutes. Add beans, sun dried tomatoes and about 1 cup of water or broth.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is hot and flavors meld, about 20 minutes.  Add kale, mix in well and turn off heat.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and onions and mushrooms.  Saute until cooked well, add salt and pepper to taste.

Place a layer of polenta on the bottom of a greased 9x13 inch casserole.  Cut it out from what you made or overlap circles from the store bought kind.  Spread the bean kale mixture over top evenly.  Place another layer of polenta and then spread over the mushrooms.  Top with a final layer of polenta.  Brush over tomato paste and if going dairy Parmesan cheese and bake in oven for 20-30 minutes.