Make Ahead Pesto Polenta Lasagna


pesto polenta lasagna photo by vsimon

This recipe is from, submitted by Fiffen. It is a super simple do ahead dish. All it requires is layering purchased ingredients, packaging, and baking.

Sometimes you just need a plop and drop dinner. This one is rich and satisfying, a small serving is filling.  Serve with a green salad and vinaigrette on a meatless Monday.

Simplify your life with make ahead meals

Prep the lasagna and freeze some for later. Layer in small ceramic or glass containers with tight fitting lids. Package just one or two portions per container. This is what personal chefs do for clients everyday.

Proper containers are one of the secrets to successful make ahead meals.

Reusable, stackable containers

We use mostly small Pyrex rectangles that hold 3 1/2 cups. They hold 1-2 portions, have tight fitting lids, and stack well. There is an example of these containers on Amazon.

If you have a Wal-Mart nearby, you can buy these small rectangles individually, no need to buy an assortment. Wal-Mart is not my favorite store, but we have not found this size in singles anywhere else.

The lasagna in the photo is made in a CorningWare container. This style makes a nice presentation, oven to plate. Make sure to get ones with tight fitting lids, not the loose glass lids.

Small containers make thawing and heating quicker. Pull your dish from the freezer and thaw overnight in the fridge. Meals can be refrigerated for several days. So it isn’t critical if you need to change your dinner plans.

Gluten free ingredients

I use Frieda’s prepared polenta. It comes in many flavors, and several work here. I like  mushroom and onion, basil and garlic, even dried tomato and garlic. I get whatever the store has. Look for it in the refrigerated produce section.

Classico marinara is the brand I by. All flavors are gluten free. I usually buy the roasted garlic flavor because it is lower in calories and sodium than the other flavors. But choose what you like.

Roland Pesto is my purchased pesto of choice. It is smooth, flavorful, and deep green. Classico pesto is leafy and unappealingly brownish. 🙁

Shredded cheese makes prepping this recipe quick. I like Sargento brand 6 Cheese Italian for the flavor. It is a handy mix of mozzarella, smoked provolone, asiago, romano, parmesan and fontina cheeses. Simple shredded mozzarella works too.

Sometimes you will see warnings on the internet that shredded cheese may be dusted with wheat flour to prevent clumping. Most often, it is not. And if it is, wheat must be printed on the label.

Pesto Polenta Lasagna submitted by fiffen

serves 8 metric measures
2 -8 oz tubes of prepared polenta total 500 gm
3 cups of marinara sauce 720 gm
1/2 cup pesto 120 ml
1/2 cup pine nuts 70 gm
2 cups shredded cheese (8 oz) 225 gm

Cut polenta into 1/2” slices.

Put a tablespoon or two of marinara on the bottom of an oven safe baking dish, or several small dishes.

Layer half of the polenta slices, marinara sauce, pesto, pine nuts and cheese.

Repeat layers.

Bake right away, refrigerate or freeze for later.

Bake it

Thaw overnight if previously frozen.

Remove any plastic lids.

If it is in one or two portion containers, bake in a 350-degree oven for about 30 minutes.

In a 9×13” pan? Cover with foil and bake for about an hour. 

Microwave it

Remove any plastic lids. The manufacturers say the lids are microwave safe, but it makes me uneasy. I don’t like cooked plastic, so I take the lids off.

Microwave one or two portions for 10 to 15 minutes.

I don’t even try to microwave a big pan of lasagna. The pan would keep hitting the sides of my microwave. And the turntable scrapes against the bottom of the pan. That is really annoying.

Enticing Embellishments

Sauté 8-16 ounces of slice mushrooms and add to the layers.

Sauté 16 ounces of fresh spinach and add to the layers.

Do both. 🙂

What would you like to make ahead?

Enter timtana flour giveaway

Don’t miss out on a chance to win whole-grain gluten free timtana flour. Simply leave a comment by January 6, 2009. Three winners will be announced January 7, 2009.

W is for Waffles- Quinoa Cocoa

We eat waffles often at our house. But rarely for breakfast. Too much fuss, too early in the bleary a.m. It is breakfast for dinner, or lunch. The waffles might be amaranth, buckwheat, corn, Montina, teff, or simply Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour. I use whatever I have. I started all of this long ago, with a buttermilk wheat recipe and experimented with every single gluten free flour I could get my hands on. It has also proven to be a nice way to use up bits of leftover flour, all mixed up. Every combo, of this and that, has been eagerly eaten.

waffles (2a)


photo by vsimon

The latest batches have gluten free and dairy free. Amazake works nicely, but it is expensive and hard to come by. Apple juice is a convenient and inexpensive solution. Gluten free, dairy free, both, any way, it is always a treat. Waffles with fruit and nuts is one of my very favorite meals.

Tuesday lunch in the garden

It was sunny and warm. Perfect for Quinoa Cocoa Waffles with chocolate syrup and raspberries picked from the back of our yard.

Sometimes I feel claustrophobic walking through our garden. The berry patch is huge, 30 feet by 15 feet. The canes reach to my shoulder and you must be careful not to inhale the clouds of mosquitoes that reside there. The amaranth is to my chin, just starting to bud. The pole bean tee-pees are seven feet tall and the vines are twirling together over the tops. Looking out over this lushness makes me feel rich. And peaceful. We have plenty, more than enough.

garden (3)

pole-bean-tee-pees photo by vsimon

So the simple waffles just enhanced my contentment. A light crispy crunch, rich chocolate syrup, bright tangy berries. Chocolate for lunch, overlooking abundance, what could be better?

Quinoa Cocoa Waffles

serves 2 metric measures
2 tablespoons cocoa 12 g
7/8 cup quinoa flour 110 g
1 tablespoon sugar 15 g
1 teaspoon baking powder 4 g
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 3 g
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup apple juice
3 g
180 ml
1 egg 50 g
2 tablespoons oil 30 ml

Preheat waffle maker.

Preheat oven to 150 degrees.

Put 2 tablespoons cocoa in a 1 cup dry measuring cup. Add quinoa flour to the top and level with a knife. You’ll have 7/8 of a cup of quinoa flour. Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine well.

In a small bowl, whisk together apple juice, egg and oil.

Add juice mixture to quinoa flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

Pour into the waffle maker and bake until the steam stops. Remove waffle from the maker and place right on the oven rack to keep crispy while the second waffle cooks.

Serve with your favorite chocolate syrup. I simply microwaved semisweet chocolate with some oil until it melted, for a super rich and low carb sauce.

These would be equally lovely with a peach sauce. What kind of waffles and sauce do you like best?

We are happy to submit this post to Andrea’s Recipes Grow Your Own recipe round up. GYO celebrates home grown foods, something we can all be proud of. Thanks Andrea for hosting!