Baked Polenta Pie

We’ve had a very mild winter so far, but we finally got some snow on Saturday. I don’t mind the snow as long as I am looking at it through my window:) I spent most of the day in the kitchen cooking and baking. I was in the mood for some good old comfort food and remembered a Baked Polenta Pie recipe I bookmarked from Bev Cooks. Bev’s recipe has Italian sausage in it so I decided to switch things up and create a vegetarian version of her recipe.

Baked Polenta Pie is similar to lasagna, but instead of noodles, you get a thick layer of creamy polenta as the base. I layered the pie with roasted vegetables, tomato sauce, and of course loads and loads of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. You bake the pie until bubbly and do your best to not burn your tongue when it comes out of the oven. Your house will smell so delicious you won’t want to wait to dive in.

We didn’t talk during dinner, not because we didn’t have anything to say, we were just too busy devouring our Baked Polenta Pie. It was everything I had dreamed about and more. The gooey layers of polenta, tomato sauce, roasted vegetables, and cheese all melted together to create an amazing dish. If you are looking for a comforting recipe that will warm you up and fill your belly in the best possible way, make this Baked Polenta Pie. It does not disappoint. And P.S.-it is just as good reheated the next day. I love it when leftovers come to the rescue, especially when they taste this good.

Baked Polenta Pie

A thick and creamy layer of polenta is topped with roasted vegetables, tomato sauce, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese and baked until bubbly.

Ingredients
  

To make the tomato sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 14.5 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1/8 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Dash of crushed red pepper
  • Pinch of coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the polenta pie:

  • 1 small zucchini chopped
  • 1 small yellow squash chopped
  • 1/2 small eggplant chopped
  • 1 small red pepper chopped
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season vegetables
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 3 cups milk we used skim
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • To make the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender. Stir in garlic, tomatoes, fennel seed, basil, oregano, and red pepper. Season with salt and black pepper and let simmer for about 30 minutes over low heat.
  • While the sauce is simmering, roast the vegetables. Place zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, and red pepper on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss. Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. When the vegetables are done roasting, set aside to cool and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
  • In a large pot, bring the milk, butter, sugar and salt to a light simmer. Slowly add the polenta to the pot, whisking constantly. Once it starts to thicken, trade the whisk out for a spoon and stir until the polenta pulls away from the sides of the pot. Add half of the Parmesan cheese to the polenta and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a 2 quart casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Top with the other half of the parmesan.
  • Evenly spread the roasted vegetables on top of the polenta. Spread the tomato sauce over the vegetables and top with grated mozzarella cheese. Place the pie in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until bubbly and the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Let rest for about 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm.

Have you tried this recipe?

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Maria

I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. I saw this recipe on Bev’s site and this post has just reaffirmed the fact that I have to make it soon! It looks amazing.

  2. This is the perfect recipe to make for dinners because it will give me planned leftovers. Which are my sanity savers 🙂

  3. Looks delicious – I definitely want to dive in. We are having a really mild winter here in the UK too…. would like a bit of snow before the spring comes

  4. Ahhh! You made it! I love your version too. I’m going to do that next time. So glad your face and belly were satisfied. 🙂

  5. Snow! Ah! Stay warm 🙂 This looks so delicious. Polenta is ridiculous awesome and I can’t imagine how good it must be in lasagna like form!

  6. this is being bookmarked…i have a big bag of polenta in our cabinet that i’ve been trying to figure out what to do with!

  7. Love this one. I will have to try it! Hope you’re doing well and I get to see you this month

  8. Looks delicious. I made something similar a couple weeks ago. I liked using the polenta for a change

  9. I have always wanted to try polenta but haven’t yet. I know that’s like a crime for a vegetarian to not have eaten polenta. But that’s me! I hadn’t even tried tofu until pretty recently. This might be a silly question, but what area of the grocery store do you find polenta?

    1. I usually buy it in the bulk bin section. I know Bob’s Red Mill sells it in a little bag too. Look by the flour or just ask:)

  10. Looks so gorgeous and comforting. Love this idea!! And feel free to send a bit of snow this way….

  11. Maria, that sounds divine. I love cozy dishes like this, they make you fell like you’re wrapped up in a warm blanket. 🙂

  12. I’m loving that you made this a vegetarian delight! It looks so good and there are so many fiber-rich veggies packed into each serving. I can’t wait to give it a try.

  13. I love this! We love polenta in many forms but I have never thought of using it to make a pie like this. Perfect for winter!

  14. looks amazing!!!

    Funny, I’ve seen several “comfort food” posts today (mine included) lol…..I think we are all longing for the winter we aren’t getting lol

  15. I’ve made Jenna’s polenta that’s linked at the bottom and absolutely loved it. I bet this (and Bev’s) are equally amazing. I always forget about polenta which is such a shame because it’s probably the easiest type of comfort food out there!

  16. Mmmm….savory pies are great in the winter. Even if your winter is a balmy 68 degrees like mine here in Texas.

  17. Oh my word! This looks amazing! I have been looking for great vegetarian entrees for a good while. This is definitely on the list!

  18. Maybe I’m weird, but the idea of polenta was always creeped me out. I’m a really big texture person when it comes to my food and polenta always just looks mushy and tasteless, like overcooked oatmeal. In the pie, does it bake up almost like a bread or does it stay creamy?

  19. This looks awesome! I love polenta 😀 I made a polenta lasagne once with a similar idea and can’t wait to try this kind of variation. The roasted veggies sound delicious!

  20. Oooh, thanks for sharing this! My son has been gluten free since September…. we haven’t had lasagna since before than. This looks like the perfect compromise! I’ll have to put it on the menu for this week.

  21. Oh my goodness, this looks so incredible that I’m heading ut to get some of the ingredients so I can make it tomorrow night. Thank you for such a delicious looking recipe! I adore polenta!

  22. This looks incredible! My husband is gluten-intolerant, so polenta is a great substitute for us. I’d probably add sausage (we just started making our own!) but I’m definitely adding this to our list!

  23. OMG! Polenta is one of my top 2 favorite foods! I love love love this recipe! Thanks for sharing the recipe and your beautiful pictures!

  24. I don’t eat meat so I love seeing recipes transformed into vegetarian ones. Your recipe looks fantastic. Love it!

  25. This is lovely, Maria! What a perfect dish for our snowy weather. Thanks to both you and Bev for a fantastic recipe.

    1. We haven’t tried freezing yet, but I am sure it would be fine. I will have to try freezing it next time we make it. If we don’t eat it all:)

  26. I have never cooked with polenta, but this looks like a great recipe to try. Do you recommend any subs for egg plant? I’m just not an egg plant person. Thanks!

    1. You can leave the eggplant out and add more of the other veggies. Mushrooms would be good too!

  27. I’ve been craving lasagna-esque noodles without all the…lasagna! And polenta is always a favorite. Love this!

  28. I love polenta covered with bolognese (or any other red) sauce, and we do roasted veggies all the time. Can’t wait to try this combination of so many of my favorites! One dish meal at its foodiest, plus polenta is a whole grain!

  29. What a great idea! My husband is not a huge fan of lasagna, but loves polenta. I will have to give this a try to see if I can win him over!

  30. i made a polenta pizza baked in a pie dish awhile ago and we loved it–i’ll have to try this sometime!

  31. I like the looks of this polenta pie! Glad it’s a lot like lasagna, because I LOVE lasagna. 🙂

  32. Someone made me a “polenta lasagne” right after I had Spencer and I was so grateful to eat something so delicious and hearty in my starving breast feeding state that I was practically crying while eating it. What a terrific winter dish!

  33. Made this tonight… YUM! I have to admit I did adapt the sauce, but the polenta itself was exactly right for the base! The roasted veg I didn’t mess with except to use the whole eggplant (and I didn’t have yellow squash.) Would definitely be good with just zucchini, portobello/crimini, and the peppers if you don’t do eggplant. Hubby is diabetic and I was too lazy to make two dishes, so for the sake of protein we cooked up some spicy turkey Italian sausage and criminis that needed using, and combined it with the (*gasp* jarred) sauce. Everyone had seconds! I might do this up as jumbo-muffin lunch cups for the freezer after testing how these leftovers freeze. If they’re still there to freeze when I get to it tomorrow. 😉

  34. finally something comforting and full of flavor! it reminds me so much of my grandma, she always cook meals like this one

  35. This is currently in my oven!!! I’m so excited, this is my first time eating/making polenta 🙂 Smells divine!

  36. This is fabulous! I am trying to build up my supply of meatless main dishes for both my family and for special events at our church. (We have several ladies who prefer a vegetarian menu.) I tested this last week, and it was a hit with everyone who ate it. The polenta is super easy to do, the roasted vegetables are amazing, and the tomato sauce is thick and delicious. Thanks, Maria, for sharing this!

  37. Making this now! Can smell the deliciousness as I type this comment! Thanks for the recipe!

  38. Enjoyed this very much, but your pictures look like vegetables and sauce are integrated rather than layered. The polenta was definitely a bottom layer on mine. Also the pan size of 2 qts was maxed out and bubbled over quite a bit. Did you make modifications that were not listed?

    1. The polenta is the bottom layer and we used a 2 quart dish. Everything we did is reflected in the recipe.

  39. I’ve made this twice to rave reviews. I love it. I’ve added roast garlic in with the other roast vegetables and some fresh basil, either to the sauce or on top of the polenta layer. This is a great recipe and makes a great meal to serve company. No one minds the lack of meat.

  40. A big pan of this just finished cooling. It’s for dinner later this week, but I thought it fit to grab a bite. SO TASTY! I added a thin layer of sausage to it.. but honestly, the roasted vegetables are my favorite part. thank you!

  41. I made this tonight and it was delicious! It’s about 20 degrees outside where I am, so it was perfect for a very cold night. Thanks for the recipe. 🙂

  42. I am so happy to have found your blog via Pinterest! Your recipes have all turned out fantastic. My husband & son are both good veggie eaters but usually balk when it’s time for a meatless meal. All the recipes I’ve tried from here get rave reviews from them (and me!) Thank you for helping me prove to them that vegetarian & vegan food can be both good for you & delicious!

    My question: do you have a serving size/calorie count breakdown of your recipes?

    1. I am glad you are enjoying our recipes. We don’t offer nutritional information at this time. Maybe someday!

  43. I use the tomato sauce as my go to tomato sauce base. I think it is the fennel seed but it is so easy and so good. I do two things differently, I round the measurements for the spices for a bit more kick, add twice as much garlic and add one peeled/chopped carrot that I cook with the onion. I cook the sauce with a bay leaf and then let the sauce cool and puree and then use the next day. This was a great start for me and I make this polenta pie for vegetarians a lot.

  44. This is one of my go-to recipes now. It’s so easy, comforting and so so so delicious! I’m making it for family tonight and plan on doubling the recipe. I can’t wait for them to try it! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  45. Ooh, this is delicious! It was in my “Food” board on Pinterest for a month or two before I tried it tonight.

    I added some ground beef just for kicks, used finely ground cornmeal, and I used a bit less cheese than pictured. The biggest change I made was using canned tomato sauce. The sauce recipe looked delicious, but I took a short cut for time’s sake. It still turned out really tasty and I’ll definitely be making this again in the future!

  46. My great grandma always made this as leftovers growing up. We would have fresh polenta the first night with a tomato stew and baked polenta (what you call polenta pie as leftovers). So we would get three meals from one night of cooking!

  47. This is really good. Used 4 cups water for polenta and 1/2 oz parm, no butter. Grilled veg on BBQ. Used butternut squash for “yellow” squash. (Maybe use mushrooms instead of peppers.) Made own tomato sauce with fire roasted tomatoes and red wine. Used 13×9 pan. Topped in 2 oz mozza.

  48. Instead of making the polenta, can I use the kind sold in a tube?  I’m thinking I would just slice it down for the bottom of the pie.  would that work?