Vegetarian Polenta Casserole for Parents, Sitters and Kids

Is it just me or have you also started thinking a lot more about the food you get for dinner on the nights when a sitter is coming?  I might be fine feeding my kids Mac n Cheese on a random Thursday night, but if a sitter is coming over, I feel the need to step up my game!  Especially when that sitter is a high school athlete, or vegan college student...then you're propelled into a whole new ballpark.  

Fear not!  There are recipes to satisfy the whole family and beyond.  

Here's a recipe for a simple, vegetarian black bean and polenta casserole.  It's simple enough to assemble ahead of time or leave it for your sitter to assemble and pop into the oven.  


  • 1 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 medium onion – chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic – diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lb button mushrooms
  • 3 small zucchini (or one large) – chopped or sliced into rounds
  • 1 red pepper – chopped or sliced
  • 2 cups corn (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 can (14oz) black beans
  • 1 can (14oz) diced tomatoes (or 3 small fresh tomatoes, diced)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 18oz. packaged polenta ‘log’
  • 2 cups shredded Romano cheese


In a saute pan, lightly saute garlic and onion with 1/2 t salt in olive oil; about two minutes or until the onion begins to turn translucent..
Add the mushrooms, zucchini and red pepper and saute three minutes more.
Add corn, beans, tomatoes and spices then simmer for about five minutes, stirring frequently.
While the vegetables simmer, lightly oil the bottom of a casserole dish or 9×13′ cake pan. Slice the polenta into 1/2′ rounds and arrange across the bottom of the dish. When vegetables are cooked, but not soft, pour across the top of the polenta. Top with cheese and bake in a 350 oven, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
Serve plain or on top of a bed of spinach. 



Mama Bino