Polenta Napoleon with Pesto

Yield: serves 6

Inspired by a recipe from Food Network, this dish uses polenta as a base for a lasagna-type dish. It’s gluten-free comfort food. Enjoy!

Ingredients for polenta:

  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups cornmeal

Remaining ingredients:

  • ½ cup pesto
  • 2 zucchini squash, sliced lengthwise into ¼” slices
  • 1 cup tomato sauce or marinara
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spray an 8-inch spingform pan with pan release.
  2. For the zucchini, heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat and sauté zucchini slices until lightly golden on each side. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside on a paper towel.
  3. For the polenta, in a large saucepan, combine the milk, water, olive oil, and salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and slowly pour in the cornmeal, whisking constantly until it thickens, about 5 minutes.
  4. While polenta is warm, start layering the napoleon. Spread some tomato sauce (about 1/3 cup) in the bottom of the pan. Spoon half the polenta into the pan and press it into an even layer (it will still be hot so use a spatula for this).  Spread a layer of pesto (about ¼ cup) to cover polenta. Spread half of the zucchini over the pesto. Top with about 1/3 cup tomato sauce. Top with half of the parmesan cheese and half of the mozzarella. Repeat layers – polenta, pesto, zucchini, tomato sauce, and two cheeses.
  5. Bake on a baking sheet for about 20-30 minutes, until browned and bubbly on top. Let sit for at least 30 minutes to cool. Remove from pan, cut into wedges and serve.

Inspired by foodnetwork.com

2 Responses to Polenta Napoleon with Pesto

  1. Rebecca January 14, 2018 at 11:56 am #

    Can you make this ahead of time and does it need a springform pan or can you use a regular 8×8? Thanks!

  2. Kristen Desmond January 14, 2018 at 6:37 pm #

    Hi Rebecca! I believe an 8×8 pan would be too small – this dish is large and round, shaped much like a layered cake. A spring form pan works really well. Make it ahead and refrigerate it. When ready to serve, portion and reheat pieces on a sheet pan at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. It’s nice to also warm up some marinara sauce and serve it along side the Polenta Napoleon. Enjoy!

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