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Vegan Polenta Casserole

Question for all my fashion friends:

chocolate covered katie

When will Christmas bows come into style?

For our Christmas Eve party, I decided on a recipe that originated from a cookbook. But, par for the course when I try to follow a recipe, my impulsive hands had to do their own thing. This is how Polenta Casserole (nicknamed “Christmas Polenta Casserole” for the party) came into existence.

vegan polenta casserole

Polenta Casserole, with a healthy dose of nutritional yeast.
Above, after sittin’ pretty in the oven for a while. Below, the polenta dinner, pre-baking:

polenta dinner

Christmas Polenta Casserole

  • 2-3 bell peppers, chopped (I used 220g)
  • 4 cups zucchini, sliced (I used 560g)
  • 1 onion, chopped (I used 120g)
  • 2T soy sauce (such as tamari)
  • 4 cups kale (or other greens), chopped (I used 110g)
  • 1 tsp each parsley, dill, onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp oregano and basil
  • 2/3 cup (or more as desired) jarred or homemade pasta sauce
  • 1 cup cornmeal (I used whole-grain polenta)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, plus more for the top

1. Sauté the first three ingredients, in sautéing liquid of choice (oil, water, or broth), over high heat for 5 minutes. Then cover and simmer 5 more minutes. Add tamari and cook on low (covered) for 5 more minutes.

2. Add all remaining ingredients (except polenta), as well as 1/2 cup water. Stir and cover again. Cook until veggies are soft. Serve over cooked polenta (made with a little salt), and sprinkle nutritional yeast on top, as desired.

*For a true casserole, put the cooked polenta in an oiled pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Then put the veggies on top, sprinkle with lots of nutritional yeast, and bake again for 35 minutes. But I am lazy and therefore will probably skip all these baking steps next time!

polenta nutritional yeast casserole

Amidst all of the lamb and pork and macaroni, this casserole was definitely the most festive-looking dish at the party. I’d say it was the most-tasty, too… but obviously I’m biased.

chocolate covered katie christmas

Published on December 26, 2010

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Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the top 25 food websites in America, and Katie has been 
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  1. Thetreadmilldiaries says

    What great pictures of you, Katie. Looks like you’re having a great Xmas time. At my house, fleece & flannel PJ bottoms are what you HAVE to wear. So comfy. Why would I go with anything else?

  2. Carrie (Moves 'N Munchies) says

    ahahhah you are hilarious— i’m so with you on the bows– they aint just fo’ decoratin’ presents, oh no! and the pants- such a winner! you cannot go wrong with some festive fleeces! casserole looks DELICIOUS.. i wish I could have a bite x100

  3. Anna B says

    First-time commenter – I love your blog! And I’ll definitely be making that casserole, I think I’ll be stocking up on some kale in general. We can always use the calcium!

    My favourite is difficult to pick, but I think the fennel and coconut cream soup. It was the perfect start of our Christmas dinner and the omnis gobbled it up 🙂

  4. Disturbed says

    Hmmm, the best thing I ate this weekend was something of mine that I made. It is like a chocolate/caramel date dipping -though I like to just eat it plain.
    Pretty simple to, just bring about 10-12 dates to boil in some almond milk (or whatever type of milk). Once the dates are really soft just dump them into a blender and whip them up till there is no pieces left. Poor into a container and let set for about a minute. It taste more caramel-y if you put some vanilla extract in it. You can also put a tbsp of peanut butter in it for a little bit of a nutty taste.
    So good-or maybe I am just weird lol.

  5. Kiki says

    Haha, I definitely spent half of yesterday with a Christmas bow on my head too! They should be in style, in my opinion 🙂

    ZOMG LOVE POLENTA. I might try this soon. And the best thing I ate over Christmas was some stuffed portobello mushrooms!

  6. Albizia says

    Everything looks good on you so who cares if it’s into style? I’m lucky mo brother didn’t come up with the idea to post the picture he took of me at the Christmas Eve dinner. A sweatshirt and training pants don’t the perfect holiday look 😀 Fleece pants are waaay better.

    Best thing I ate? That’s a tough one. I ate so many delish things and it’s hard to pick just one. Among my favorites were dried peppers stuffed with beans, my pumpkin dessert and your Thanksgiving stuffing which I cooked for dinner today and the whole family liked it very much.

  7. Brandie says

    I LOVE polenta! I wanbt to make this casserole YAY! Since I am just a single lady, with a Beebits, do you suppose it’d work cut in half though? (Or wil it freeze?) 🙂

    You look adorable as usual, I looove the long long hair and the HOHOHO jammies too *giggle* 🙂

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Yeah, I bet it would! Especially if you omit the baking steps. (Otherwise, just use a smaller pan to bake it in.) I don’t see why it wouldn’t freeze well, either. I looooove freezing food, because then you can just pull it out for a 5-minute meal :).

  8. VEGirl says

    Best thing I ate was the Christmas desert I created! SOOOOO yummy: warm chunky pear sauce with a rownie (round shaped chocolate brownie) topped with a silken tofu whipped topping, drizzled with a pear rosemary reduction sauce and finished with a sprinkle of cinnamon, all layered in a small blue dessert glass. Wow, thats a mouthful! I’ll blog about it soon :). Although my other #1 top favorite is the salted peanut butter popcorn I made for the Chrsitmas holiday. So yummy paired with a banana, too!


  9. Alexandra says

    That polenta casserole looks amazing – officially on the “to make” list (boy is that list getting long…….). At first I thought that our home made bread rolls were the best thing I ate this weekend, but then I remembered my Mom’s chocolate cream pie. Needless to say, the pie took first place. After all, anything with chocolate always wins. 😉

  10. Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) says

    Well I’m hardly a fashionista, but I think that you’re successfully bringing back the Christmas bow! Love the pants too! 😀
    Great recipe! This could be the vegan main for me next Christmas! Looks yum 🙂

  11. grocery goddess jen says

    Girl, I think you could bring Christmas bows AND fleece pants into style!

    That casserole looks so good, especially since it’s sugar-free. Best thing I ate all weekend…I made a vegan version of The Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls, which were awesome! However, I’m sick of sweets (for an hour or two).

  12. Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) says

    omg that looks SO GOOD Katie!
    It’s vegan, it’s GF (minus the polenta part just talking the veggie casserole), there is no garlic (I dont’ like it, i know im in the minority with that one) and it’s got nooch & tons of veggies in it.

    Normally sweet > savory in my book but this savory gives sweet a run for it’s money 🙂

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Wha? No garlic? LOL we’d be perfect dinner dates, because I could eat all your garlic :).
      On a different note: you could marry Edward Cullen (of those Twilight books). That would make tween girls everywhere very very jealous!

  13. Little Bookworm says

    Love the sound of that casserole! Best thing I ate this weekend – a tie between stollen and chocolate yule log. 🙂 Looking forward to Christmas recap!

  14. Claire says

    Haha, love the new look, wonder how many odd looks you’d get if you wore the Christmas bow on a run 😛 Polenta Casserole looks great for a windy day (ohh look it’s windy and cold today, humm … ;)).

  15. Frances says

    the best thing i ate this weekend? hm… i ate a lot of what i usually eat, which is usually an awesome salad with fig balsamic vinegar, almond butter bananas, nutritional yeast, raw food bars (like love force bars:….but i have to say, i went to a friend’s house for christmas dinner, and he made an amazing effort to keep over half of the feast vegan- and his dishes were great! vegan cassoulet, tomato soup- plus, i made vegan peanut butter truffles!

  16. Gina says

    Love the Christmas bow! I’m not sure when they’ll come into style but they sure are cute. And fleece PJs are so comfy it doesn’t even matter if they’re stylish or not 🙂

  17. Caroline says

    The oatmeal sounds so fun, Katie. But are you going to do a post showing what presents ya got? I’m nosy! But more than that, I like seeing what other healthy foodies get, because it gives me ideas. I never know what to ask for, and my birthday’s coming up in February. Yikes!

  18. Namaste Gurl says

    Looks like an indeed festive and yummy- looking casserole– would definitely loved to have that at my Christmas dinner! 🙂
    Best thing I ate this weekend…. nut butter oatmeal 🙂 I know, I’m weird, don’t judge!
    Hope you had a good holiday, Katie!

  19. BroccoliHut says

    Beautiful casserole!
    Freaky twin instance # 865–I wore the SAME PJ pants for Christmas. Check out my latest post for proof!

  20. ezzie says

    I love Christmas PJs! So comfy. 🙂
    The casserole looks super delicious! This recipe will most defiantly be bookmarked 🙂

  21. Meghan says

    That casserole looks so good! Does the polenta not get dried out if you bake it for 35 minutes before adding the vegetables?


    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      You actually only cook it for 25 minutes before adding the veggies. But it doesn’t get dried out (although it’s not supposed to be super-moist, as it acts as the casserole’s crust). I like it creamy, though, so I like to make the casserole “deconstructed” by simply omitting the baking steps.

  22. Heather Eats Almond Butter says

    Good gracious, how did I miss this one?!? Let’s see…December 26, ahh yes, I believe that was around some sort of holiday when I had both sets of families at our house and a newborn. Crazy times.

    Thanks for posting the link Katie. Can’t wait to make this! 🙂

  23. s says

    hmmm …. this recipe has got my ingredient-substituting wheels a’churning … i wonder if this would work as a casserole made with chickpea flour. maybe i’ll try it out this evening. nom. 🙂

  24. Alanna says

    Finally got around to trying this (been too excited about dessert and breakfast recipes, hehe)… Good recipe! I accidentally overcooked my veggies a bit and needed to add salt since I used lite soy sauce and plain tomato sauce instead of pasta sauce, but still turned out well. I’d bet the veggie combo would be great with more pasta sauce over noodles instead of polenta, too!

  25. Rebekah says

    Hi there 🙂 I’m a first time commenter, long time reader. I’m 15 years old and a vegetarian, trying to turn vegan but its hard living in a small town in Northern Ireland. I liturally just made this for my dinner 10 minutes ago and it….was……..DELICIOUS!!! I was so surprised (good surprised though).
    I would love to be a vegan but I’m curtainly very underweight for my age and height. I don’t go a single day without thinking, researching or haven to be talked to about what I’ve eaten or when I’m going to eat. I burst out in tears last night about my weight and how I’m finding it so very difficult to put weight on. I’ve been seeing my GP about my weight and all my family and friends have noticed the dramatic lose of weight and are aware of how I want to be weight on.
    Sorry. I talk a lot and didn’t mean to write this much about something that doesn’t even concern you, sorry again.
    Anyways, I love your recipes and especially how you’ve marked every recipe with a dietary mark (my mum, sister and possibly myself are coeliac). Keep on posting the NoMoLiCiOs recipes 😛 and be assured, I’ll be siting here reading them. xxx

  26. Becky says

    When you say cornmeal, do you mean polenta? In parenthesis you have whole grain polenta, but I wanted to be sure that cornmeal doesn’t go in the casserole as well as in the polenta. Thanks!

  27. Riley says

    I am a little confused. For the “true casserole” do I still saute the veggies or do I only have to bake them?

  28. Tiffany says

    Looks DELICIOUS. I love each and every single one of your recipes, that I have seen, and honestly spend hours each day exploring your site (aside from the occasional link to FoodieFiasco, which actually distracts me more than it should). You are by far my favorite, though. 😉
    ANYWAY, nutrition facts? I’d never had any trouble before finding them on your site but can’t seem to find any for this particular recipe.

    P.S. – Consider a soft shell tortilla recipe, as well as a pizza (cauliflower, vegan, anything outside of the box)?

  29. Nancy says

    For the “true casserole” where you say to put the veggies on top of the cooked polenta, do you put all the “cooked until soft veggies” on the polenta before putting it back in the oven, or will some be uncooked at that point?

  30. Mariana says

    Hi Katie. I’m trying this now but am also confused about a few things like the others. I’m also lazy and like to minimize steps. So I cooked vegetables separately and polenta is in the oven. So do the softened vegetables go on polenta and rebake?
    It would be great if you could rewrite recipe steps with clarity for all the questions. Thank you for all the amazing recipes

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