Make this Eggplant Polenta Casserole for a vegetarian lasagna dish that uses polenta instead of noodles! With eggplant and mushrooms, there’s additional veggie goodness of a tasty and nutritious dish.
All you need are 15 minutes of prep to make this fantastic eggplant casserole. For a lasagna-like dish with a yummy twist, this eggplant polenta lasagna is a delicious option!
💚 Why You'll Love This Recipe
One day I was working on a recipe for a lasagna with eggplant, and it hit me that the polenta would make a great addition to that dish! So I put it all together, and it was a huge hit with the family.
The polenta added a nice texture and mild corn flavor that perfectly complimented the eggplant and mushroom flavors and did not overpower the cheese and sauce.
My favorite part of the dish, however, was that I totally skipped the hassle of dealing with lasagna noodles!
If you like putting fun twists on classic lasagna, you'll also love this Vegetarian Fiesta Lasagna, inspired by Mexican flavors!
🧂 Ingredients Needed
- eggplant - provides lots of nutrition and a sweet, vegetal bitterness.
- polenta - using a tube of prepared polenta is a great way to cut down on prep time.
- ricotta cheese - this classic lasagna ingredient creates creamy, cheesy layers between the veggies and sauce.
- Parmesan cheese - for extra salty and cheesy flavor.
- egg - helps the ricotta layers take on a bit more substance so they bind together.
- sliced mushrooms - provide some additional earthy flavor and nutrition.
- marinara sauce - another important lasagna ingredient that adds some acidity and delicious tomato flavor.
- shredded Mozzarella - works as a delicious topping that melts while baking.
- Cut eggplant into rounds and spray with olive oil, then roast at 450 degrees F for about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Cook the mushrooms in the microwave for about 5 minutes or until softened, stirring halfway through.
- Meanwhile, cut the polenta into rounds.
- Combine the ricotta cheese with Parmesan and the egg in a medium bowl.
- Spread a layer of marinara sauce into the bottom of a baking dish, then top with a layer of polenta rounds.
- Top the polenta with half of the ricotta mixture.
- Add the roasted eggplant on top, then distribute the mushrooms evenly.
- Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
- Repeat the process, layering with polenta, ricotta mixture, eggplant, mushrooms, and sauce.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, add a final layer of mozzarella cheese, then bake an additional 15 minutes until the cheese is nice and melty and the casserole is heated through.
If you want to prevent your eggplant for absorbing excess oil, soaking before cooking is a great way to achieve that. Otherwise, soaking isn't a necessary prerequisite to cook eggplant!
Ultimately this comes down to personal preference. Some people aren't fans of eggplant skin, in which case you can peel it before slicing. But it can be left on just as well.
This dish is made with cornmeal and can be served in a variety of ways. A common way of eating polenta is as a kind of hot porridge. It can also be solidified and then grilled, fried, or baked (like in this Eggplant Polenta Casserole recipe!)
💭 Expert Tips and Tricks
- Be sure to pay attention while the eggplant is roasting. The thinner slices may cook a bit faster. Do your best to cut them evenly for best results!
- Also, be sure to spread out your eggplant rounds while baking so they can cook evenly. Don't drench them in oil, just a light coating for some browning on the outside.
- Use only as much sauce as necessary to avoid a soggy Eggplant Polenta Casserole.
📌 Make this eggplant polenta lasagna for a fun and delicious twist on the classic dish that has a kick of added nutrition! The whole family will love this hearty and comforting dinner.
💡 Substitutions and Variations
- The mushrooms can easily be omitted if you prefer to leave them out.
- Extra flavor is easy to achieve with Italian seasoning or a homemade spaghetti seasoning.
- Feel free to add more cheese if you like!
- Instead of ricotta cheese, you could substitute mascarpone, cream cheese, cottage cheese, or sour cream. Ricotta will provide the most authentic lasagna flavor though!
🔊 What readers are saying...
"I made the full recipe Tuesday night and its gone tonight. This is a fantastic recipe and I’ll definitely be making it again! It tastes great on its own! Lots of flavor! Tonight I added a bit of garlic powder and crushed red pepper and I think it suits my taste buds a little more. I’m going to experiment around with the recipe a bit but the natural flavors on their own definitely impressed me (especially since I’m not a huge fan of eggplant). GREAT WORK!"
🥫 Storage and Reheating
Store leftover Eggplant Polenta Casserole covered in the fridge. I recommend transferring to an airtight container of some kind if possible. The casserole should last 3-4 days if properly stored.
You can also freeze your leftovers or even an entire prepared casserole to be reheated in the oven at a later time. You'll want to let it thaw in the fridge for a bit before baking again.
🍴 What To Serve With This Dish
Looking for the perfect side dish to serve alongside your eggplant and polenta casserole? Pair it with Air Fryer Broccoli, Air Fryer Roasted Carrots, these super tasty Oven Fried Crispy Green Beans or a batch of Crispy Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts.
✔️ More Casserole Recipes You'll Love
- Corn Dog Casserole - Transport yourself back to the county fairs of your childhood with this yummy and healthier take on corn dogs!
- Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole - Whether you need a nice brunch or a hearty breakfast for dinner, this tater tot casserole will hit the spot.
- Crock Pot French Toast Casserole -
- Cowboy Cornbread Casserole - You'll adore this tasty Casserole from Bowl Me Over, inspired by Southwestern Flavors you know and love!
Vegetarian Polenta Lasagna
Love this recipe? Awesome! Snap a photo and tag me on Instagram. You can find me at DizzyBusyandHungry or #dizzybusyandhungry!
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📋 Recipe Card
Eggplant Polenta Casserole
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
- Spray the eggplant rounds with a little olive oil spray, then place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.1 large eggplant
- While the eggplant is roasting, slice the polenta into rounds.18 ounces prepared polenta
- In a medium bowl combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and egg.16 ounces ricotta cheese, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, 1 egg
- Place the mushrooms in a microwave-safe dish and heat about 5 minutes on high, stirring halfway through, to soften them slightly.16 ounces sliced mushrooms
- Once the eggplant is done, remove from the oven and turn it down to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Spread a little of the marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 casserole pan. Place half of the polenta rounds on top of the sauce.24 ounces marinara sauce
- Spread half of the ricotta mixture on top of the polenta.
- Place half of the eggplant rounds on top of the ricotta mixture. Distribute half of the mushrooms on top of the eggplant.
- Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese on top of the mushrooms, then spread half of the remaining marinara on top of the cheese.12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- Then repeat layers: place the remaining polenta rounds, ricotta mixture, eggplant, mushrooms, and sauce.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil, sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella, and bake for about 15 additional minutes.
- Keep an eye on the eggplant while it's roasting. Some thinner slices might start to burn before the thicker slices are cooked.
- If your family doesn't like mushrooms, simply omit them.
- For extra flavor, stir some Italian seasoning or spaghetti seasoning into the sauce (start with 1 teaspoon and add more as needed). If you don't have these seasoning mixes handy, check out my homemade Italian seasoning and spaghetti seasoning recipes!
- Use more shredded cheese if desired.
Nutritional information is an estimate. The nutritional values for your final dish may vary based on measuring differences and products used.
Update Notes: This post was originally published in July 2014, and was republished with tips, step by step photos, and a recipe change in June 2023.