Polenta Torte

Prep: 30 minutes Cook: 30 minutes Chill: 2 hours

Serves:12

During the McDougall Advanced Study Weekend in January 2005 our guest chef, Alex Bury, made a delicious polenta torte during a fabulous cooking demonstration. Alex was the pervious owner and chef of Sparks, a unique vegan restaurant in Guerneville, CA. I have changed a few of the measurements and directions to make it easier for you to make in your kitchen. I made this myself at home with wonderful results. I encourage you to try this special dish and share it with your family or friends.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups uncooked polenta
  • 1-2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3 tbsp parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 15 ounce can tomato sauce, heated

Directions

Make Tofu Ricotta (recipe can be found in Miscellaneous), and set aside.

Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Slowly stir in the polenta and garlic. Whisk until fairly smooth. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until quite thick, about 25-30 minutes for coarse polenta. Stir in the salt, pepper, nutritional yeast and herbs. Separate the polenta into two batches. Stir the tomato paste into one batch and set aside. Stir the spinach into the other batch and set aside.

Put the tomato polenta in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish and smooth out evenly. Place the tofu ricotta on top of the tomato polenta and smooth out evenly. Then top with the spinach polenta and again smooth out evenly. Cover with parchment paper and foil and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to firm.

When ready to eat, slice into serving sized pieces and place on individual plates. Warm each serving in a microwave or the oven and drizzle some of the hot tomato sauce over each serving.

Hints: Alex says that the most important part is to first chill the torte as a complete uncut casserole. Once it is firm, it may be sliced while cold and the individual pieces heated, or it may be baked whole (like lasagna) and then sliced. This is a beautiful layered dish that retains its shape best when it is sliced while chilled. I have baked the whole torte in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour and served it hot, however, the layers did not hold up as well during that baking process, although the torte was still delicious.