Friggin’ Amazing Veggie Lasagne
Do not be thrown off by the fact that this is a vegetarian dish. It is absolutely delicious, and would be welcome on anyone’s plate. I have never had anything like it, and it so completely stomps the piss out of store bought veggie lasagnes as to not even be in the same category. It is a bit labor intensive, but the results are sooooo worth it!
A particular note… salt and pepper individual items during their own cooking process to flavor them through, but be careful to slightly under season everything. Salted items in particular can have an additive effect when put together in a casserole style dish, and it would be a real shame to go to this much effort only to be defeated by over salting.
- One 24 oz jar of pasta sauce… find one with no sugar, or better yet, make your own. No Ragu.
- 1/2 cup diced sundried tomatoes, in olive oil
- Two tablespoons red wine reduction (for sauce — you must make this in advance)
- One large eggplant
- Two 8 oz packages of fresh, sliced mushrooms
- One tablespoon margarine
- Four tablespoons red wine reduction (for mushrooms)
- Two 3.8 oz cans sliced black olives
- One 17 oz tube of polenta (you can use the plain or one of the flavored ones, your preference)
- Three tablespoons olive oil
- One cup of fire roasted red peppers, torn into small pieces.
- One recipe walnut cheese (below)
First, peel your eggplant, slice in 1/4″ rounds, sprinkle with olive oil, light salt and pepper, and bake for 20 minutes in a preheated 350〫oven. After 20 minutes, take it out, flip your eggplant over, sprinkle again with olive oil, (no other seasoning needed this time) and bake another 15 minutes.
While the eggplant is baking, dice your sundried tomatoes and mix them into your pasta sauce along with the red wine reduction over a medium heat. Heat thoroughly (about 8 minutes should be enough) and reduce to lowest setting and cover. You’re just keeping it warm now.
Rinse your mushrooms and put over low heat with the margarine and red wine reduction. Lightly salt and pepper. Stir frequently, and keep it going until the liquid is thickened and mostly gone.
Heat 2 T olive oil in a large pan. Slice your polenta into 1/4″ (or slightly smaller) medallions. You should end up with about 32 slices. Pan-fry in 2 batches, browning the medallions on both sides. Add another tablespoon of olive oil between batches. (As needed.) Lightly salt each batch immediately after blotting.
In a 9 x 13 casserole dish, cover the bottom with a thin layer of pasta sauce to prevent sticking. Layer all your eggplant next, then olives, then the fire roasted red peppers. and cover with another layer of sauce. Next go the mushrooms and then the polenta medallions. spread the walnut cheese (you may want to do it by hand) over the medallions and cover with the remaining pasta sauce.
Bake in a 300〫oven for 25 minutes, enough to heat all the way through.
- One and a half cups of walnuts
- Two small (or one large) cloves of garlic
- Salt to taste
- Three tablespoons olive oil
- hot water
Place nuts into food processor with garlic until it’s chopped well.
Add salt and olive oil.
Process again until it’s starting to turn into a paste.
Add hot water slowly while processing until it is nice and smooth, but try not to thin it out. You may need to stop to scrape down the sides of your bowl and continue to process to get it all smooth.