Smoky Red Pepper Sauce

Hearty and delicious Polenta Lasagna with Smoky Red Pepper Sauce – a simple easy, gluten-free lasagna recipe using store-bought polenta. A vegan adaptable main dish – perfect for holiday gatherings, that can be made ahead!
polenta lasagna with smoky red pepper sauce


  1. 2 x 18 ounce tubes of polenta ( store bought). See notes for making your own.
  2. 4-8 ounces of Ricotta ( or sub this  vegan tofu ricotta )
  3. 1-2 cups grated mozzarella cheese ( or use smoked mozzarella for great flavor, jack, or use vegan cheese)
  4. Generous pinch salt, pepper and nutmeg


  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. one onion, diced
  3. 4-6 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  4. 16-20 ounces mushrooms ( sliced)  or sub other veggies ( eggplant, peppers, zucchini – you’ll need about 3 -4 cups cooked) You could also roast veggies in the oven- butternut, eggplant, etc.
  5. 2 heaping handfuls baby spinach, chopped
  6. ½ teaspoon salt, pepper to taste
  7. Smoky Red Pepper Sauce ( or use 3 cups store-bought marinara)
  8. 8 ounce jar roasted red peppers ( 2 large red bell peppers roasted, or about 2 cups roasted)
  9. 1 can diced tomatoes ( fire roasted adds great flavor) and their juices (or use tomato puree)
  10. 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  11. ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional, if you want a smoky flavor)
  12. Salt and Pepper to taste (this depends on the tomatoes you use, with the fire roasted tomatoes, it didn’t need any salt.)

Quick pesto drizzle:

  1. 1 cup packed basil
  2. 1-2 teaspoons lemon zest
  3. ½ cup olive oil
  4. 1 fat garlic clove
  5. salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 400 ( prep and assembly will take around 45 minutes)
  • Heat 1-2 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute the onion, stirring until tender, about 5 minutes, add garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Place ½ of the cooked onion garlic mixture in a blender for the sauce. ( If using store bought sauce, just leave it all in the skillet.) Turn skillet to medium ( or medium low)  and add the mushrooms ( or other veggies) and salt, and saute until they release their liquid and are cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  • While these are cooking, make the sauce.  Add the diced tomatoes ( and juices) to the blender (along with the cooked onions and garlic) and add the drained roasted peppers. Add 2-3 tablespoons olive oil. This gives the sauce a delicious creamy richness. Add the smoked paprika. Blend until creamy and smooth. If the sauce is too thick to get motor running add a little water ( a tablespoon at a time) just to get it going. Taste. It should have a sweet smoky flavor. Season with salt and pepper.