Have you joined the growing ranks of folks who are going gluten-free? That’s great … until you start craving comfort food standards that call for pasta. Never fear, we’ve found a recipe that’s apt to make you forget why you even liked pasta in the first place. We swapped out pasta for cornmeal polenta and the results are delicious!
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 sliced onion
- 1 sliced red bell pepper
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 2 sliced zucchini
- 2 sliced yellow squash
- 1 17-ounce tube of prepared polenta
- 1/2 cup jarred marinara sauce
- 1 cup shredded Italian cheese
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Warm 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add 1 sliced onion and 1 sliced red bell pepper; sauté until softened, 5 minutes.
- Add 1 minced garlic clove, 2 sliced zucchini and 2 sliced yellow squash; cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender and begin to brown, 10 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Mist an 8-inch, square baking dish with cooking spray.
- Cut a 17-ounce tube of prepared polenta into 18 slices.
- Spread 1/2 cup jarred marinara sauce in bottom of dish.
- Top with 9 slices of polenta, then half of vegetable mixture. Sprinkle 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend over vegetables.
- Repeat layering, beginning with sauce, followed by polenta, then vegetables and then cheese.
- Bake until heated through, cheese is melted and sauce bubbles, 35 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories 257; Fat 20 g; Saturated fat 7 g; Protein 9 g; Carbohydrate 12 g; Fiber 4 g Cholesterol 30 mg; Sodium 482 mg
Key Ingredient Benefits
Garlic: Vampire jokes aside, garlic can protect us in many ways. It contains sulfur compounds that may protect cells from cancer, relax blood vessels and improve cardiovascular health. Research suggests garlic may help boost our cellular antioxidant production. There is some evidence supporting numerous health benefits from a diet rich in garlic.
Marinara Sauce: Pasta sauce can be a great way to sneak more vegetables into your diet, helping you eat the recommended 2.5 cups each day. Eating enough vegetables helps lower your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, obesity and Type 2 diabetes because of the fiber, vitamins and minerals they contain. With store-bought marinara sauce, it’s a good idea to check the label as it can be high in sodium, with 553 milligrams per serving.
Mozzerella: Most commonly used in pizza, pasta and salads, this Italian cheese is rich in protein. Additionally, mozzarella cheese has calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, which strengthen bones. Zinc in mozzarella cheese boosts the immune system and improves body growth and development.
Polenta: This is essentially cooked cornmeal. One cup of cornmeal will produce about 3 cups of polenta. By itself, one cup of polenta contains about 145 calories, 1 gram of fat, 3 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and no cholesterol. High-calorie flavorings such as butter and cheese will drive up the fat and calorie content, so use them sparingly.
Red Bell Pepper: Bell peppers are an excellent source of carotenoids and vitamin C and are members of the nightshade family. They also provide plenty of fiber, water and Vitamin A.
Summer Squash: Whether it’s green or yellow, summer squash is rich in powerful antioxidants, which promote healthy immunity, and its concentration of beta-carotene provides anti-inflammatory properties.