Park and Orchard
Way back when, Dennis and I had our third date at a restaurant called Park and Orchard in Rutherford, NJ. I had eaten there several times before, but it was new to him. They had several vegan options on the menu, my favorite being a dairy-free, gluten-free lasagna made with tofu ricotta and polenta instead of noodles.
Vegan Polenta Lasagna
We would venture out to Park and Orchard every once in a while, but as the years went by and vegan food became easier to find, we stopped eating there as much as we used to. Still, we would still go once or a year or so, to get our polenta lasagna fix. Sadly, the restaurant changed ownership in recent months, and it’s not as vegan friendly as it used to be. While they still make polenta lasagna, it’s now made with cheese rather than tofu. (A note to restaurant owners: vegans aren’t going to frequent your establishment if the only vegan options are side salads!)
Since we can no longer go out for polenta lasagna, it only makes sense that I recreate the dish at home. If you don’t have time to make the polenta yourself, slice up tubes of pre-made polenta instead. I used jarred sauce, but of course, you can make your own if you prefer.
Vegan Polenta Lasagna
This vegan Polenta Lasagna is warm and comforting – the perfect dish to cozy up to on chilly fall evenings. It tastes even better the next day, so make sure you leave yourself plenty of leftovers!
For the Polenta
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cups polenta
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
For the Tofu Ricotta
- 14 ounce package of firm tofu, pressed and drained
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
For the Lasagna
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces crimini or baby button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 bunch kale, stems removed, coarsely chopped
- 3 cups tomato sauce
Make the Polenta:
Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
Slowly add the polenta in a steady stream, whisking as you go to prevent any clumps. Whisk in the nutritional yeast and salt. When the polenta begins to bubble, reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue to whisk to prevent clumps. Cook for 10-20 minutes, until the mixture is thick and pulls away from the pot.
Lightly oil two 9”x12” baking or casserole dishes. Pour half the polenta into each and use a rubber spatula to even out the mixture.
Allow the polenta to cool and then place in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.
Make the Tofu Ricotta:
In a food processor, blend together the tofu, cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic, lemon juice, stock, basil, and salt. Process until the mixture is thick and looks like ricotta cheese. Add more vegetable broth if the mixture is too thick.
Make the Lasagna:
Preheat oven to 400°. In a large pan over medium-high heat, sauté the onion in the olive oil for about 5 minutes, until it begins to brown. Add the garlic and mushrooms, and allow to cook for about 10 more minutes, until the mushrooms release their liquid and are fragrant. Mix in the kale and cook until it wilts.
Spoon 1/3 of the tomato sauce over the bottom of a 9”x12” baking or casserole dish. Carefully place a layer of polenta on top of the sauce. If it’s difficult to handle, cut it into four smaller pieces.
Spread the tofu ricotta over the polenta, and top it with the vegetable mixture. Evenly pour 1/3 of the tomato sauce over the veggies.
Carefully place the second layer of polenta on top of the lasagna, again cutting it into four pieces if necessary. Top with the rest of the sauce.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the edges of the polenta begin to brown and the sauce is bubbly.
Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serve hot.
If you enjoyed this vegan Polenta Lasagna, you might also enjoy: