Baked Polenta with Spinach and Cheese

Baked Polenta with Spinach and PolentaI’ve tried several new recipes lately that I’ll be sharing with you over the next few weeks! All are great for fall, low-calorie, tasty and extremely satisfying. The first is Baked Polenta with Spinach and Cheese, based on a similar recipe I found with swiss chard as the main ingredient.  It’s an easy one dish meal that can be prepared ahead of time and then placed in the oven when you get home from work. It serves 6 and has just 280 calories per serving.  It reheats well or is good cold as a leftover, a fact to which my sister will attest! Good additions or substitutions to this casserole would be a seasoned meat substitute, swiss chard, salsa, tomatoes and/or asparagus. If you use Spark People to track nutrition, calories and fitness goals, you can add the recipe to your meal planner by clicking here.

Baked Polenta with Spinach and Cheese


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 pound spinach
3 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal) or yellow cornmeal
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
2 cups coarsely grated low-fat mozzarella cheese (about 8 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil 2-quart glass baking dish. Heat oil in heavy large deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in garlic and crushed red pepper, then spinach; cover and cook until spinach is tender, stirring occasionally.

Uncover; stir until any excess liquid in skillet evaporates. Season with salt and pepper.

At the same time bring 3 1/2 cups water and salt to boil in heavy large saucepan. Gradually stir polenta into boiling water. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until polenta is very thick, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Whisk ricotta and eggs in bowl; whisk in 1 cup hot polenta. Stir ricotta mixture into polenta in saucepan. Spread half of polenta mixture in baking dish. Spread half of spinach mixture over. Sprinkle with half of mozzarella. Repeat layering with remaining polenta, spinach, and cheese.

Bake until puffed and brown on top, about 45 minutes. Cool 30 minutes.

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