30 Minute Recipe
I grew up eating casserole . . . usually with Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup as a main ingredient. But, even with this history, I still like having a couple quick, easy, healthy recipes that I can throw together in minutes – enter the casserole.
The other thing I love about a casserole is that there’s very few dishes to clean up! This recipe takes one skillet to sauté the items and one baking dish. It also only takes about 15 minutes to prep and then 15-18 minutes in the oven. Dinner in about 30 minutes that is satisfying, delicious and pretty healthy. (I’m not going to say this is one of my healthiest recipes – what with Italian sausage and cheese – but a serving runs about 266 calories, 7.5 grams fat, 24 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrates depending on the sausage and cheese used; so it’s not too bad).
Save Even More Time Recipe
Here’s really the time savers with this casserole. First, you can use a couple store bought products – a tube of polenta and a jar of pasta sauce. Normally I’m not a fan of any recipe I don’t cook from scratch. But, truthfully, I was desperate one night and was scouring the refrigerator and cupboards for ingredients I could throw together (another benefit of the casserole). Obviously it’s healthier if you make all the pieces but sometimes we all need a backup plan. 😉
Second, you can actually make this casserole ahead – up to two days! Put it all together, cover the baking pan and it can sit in the refrigerator for two days. When you are ready to cook the casserole, just uncover and bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Third, the leftovers are great! Make extra for lunches during the week. Add a mixed green salad and you are good to go!
Here I used a tube of polenta we had in the pantry. I’ve seen tubes of polenta in both the refrigerated and dry goods section of the grocery store. I also used jarred tomato sauce rather than my own creation. I haven’t tried it but I’m thinking this casserole would be just as good without the Italian sausage if you are watching your meat consumption.
Polenta Casserole Recipe
- ½ small onion
- 2 medium zucchini
- 1 tube of polenta or 2 cups cooked polenta
- 1 teaspoon ghee
- ½-1 pound ground Italian sausage
- 1 24-oz jar fire-roasted tomato pasta sauce
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheese
- Chop onion and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cut zucchini into ¼ inch slices. If using polenta from a tube, cut into approximately 8 slices.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high and add ghee. Swirl skillet to coat with ghee. Add polenta slices and cook 3 minutes on each side. If using cooked polenta flatten and cook until browned on each side.
- Place polenta slices in a 9×9 dish.
- Heat the same skillet again. Add sausage. Cook 4-5 minutes, breaking apart into crumbles. After cooked, drain if needed to remove excess fat.
- Add onion and zucchini to skillet and sauté 3-4 minutes or until slightly tender.
- Stir in sauce and pepper until well mixed.
- Spoon mixture over polenta. Sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.