Layered Polenta Marinara with Kale

I love the flavors in this Italian-inspired layered polenta dish. It’s easy to make and is a nice way to get your greens.

This is a recipe I include in my upcoming REVITALIZE Spring Cleanse, as it is definitely a favorite in our house!

The creaminess of the baked polenta goes nicely with the bright sauteed kale and sharpness of kalamata olives. The marinara sauce pulls the whole dish together. 

With the vegetables and white beans, it is packed with nutrition. I prefer using dinosaur kale (also called lacinato kale) in this dish, though you could use curly kale or try another green like spinach or chopped collard greens. 

You can make your own polenta from scratch, but the polenta that comes in a tube and has only whole ingredients saves time, is good, and is so easy to use. Just peel off the wrapper, slice, and it’s ready to layer.  Make sure you buy organic polenta, which uses non-GMO corn. 


The Layering of the Polenta Marinara:

Put down a layer of sliced polenta, cover with marinara and roasted red peppers.

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Add sautéed kale. Add Kalamata olives and white beans. So pretty.

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Add another layer of polenta.

polenta layer mid_copy

Top with marinara and put in the oven.

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Enjoy a delicious and healthy dinner! (And pack up the leftovers to take for lunch.)

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If you want more great recipes that support your health and tickle your taste buds, join me this April for REVITALIZE: 14 Days of Spring Clean Eating. Together, we will cook and eat delicious nutrient-dense meals, cleanse our bodies, and feel great about taking care of ourselves with nourishing food and self-care. 

Layered Polenta Marinara with Kale

Time: 30 minutes to prepare, 25 minutes to bake
Serves: 4

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced (can substitute ½ teaspoon dry)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale (also called dinosaur), shredded (I like lacinato kale in this better, but curly kale is fine too)
  • 1 15-oz. can white cannellini beans (or cook your own)
  • 1 tube prepared polenta (I like Food Merchants brand best; it’s organic and non-GMO and has a nice texture)
  • 1 ¾ cups marinara or pasta sauce (check labels for sugar-free!)
  • ¾ cup roasted red peppers (from a jar, or roast yourself)
  • 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • (OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup feta, cut in small pieces)
  • Extra coconut oil to grease baking pan

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onions and rosemary until the onions begin to soften and brown. Add garlic and carrots. Saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add kale and sauté until tender, then remove pan from heat.

2. Grease an 8x8" baking dish. Cut polenta into slices about 1/4 inch thick. Line the bottom of the pan with 1/2 of the polenta slices, overlapping them slightly to cover the whole bottom of the pan. Pour 1/2 of the marinara sauce over the polenta and spread it evenly. Next, layer all of the roasted red peppers, Kalamata olives, kale mixture, and cannellini beans. If you eat dairy, you might like to add feta here in the middle layer.

3. Top with the remaining polenta slices in a layer, overlapping slightly. Spread remaining half of the of marinara sauce.

4. Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. 

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