The pictures don’t do this recipe justice, but I am here to tell you that Italian Sausage & Polenta Lasagna is pure comfort. Surprisingly, that comfort is delivered without a guilt trip. That’s right, this recipe came straight out of the new Weight Watchers cook book AND it’s made in the slow cooker. Badda bing. Badda boom.
The star ingredient in this recipe is a tube of polenta. Not only does it replace traditional lasagna noodles, making this a gluten free recipe, but it also adds a wonderful creaminess to the overall dish.
I made a couple modifications to the original recipe. First, I replaced Sweet Italian Sausage with Jennie-O Hot Italian Turkey Sausage. They’re not spicy hot, but they do bring a bit of flavor punch. Then I substituted chopped frozen spinach for frozen kale, only because I couldn’t find kale in my grocer’s freezer. I also increased the amount of parmesan & mozzarella cheese. Well because cheese.
The original recipe was for 6 servings at 8 WW Pts+ per. We easily got 8 servings, so even with my additions, each serving weighed in at only 8 WW Pts+ or 320 calories.
Once the sausage and mushrooms are pan browned, all the ingredients are layered lasagna style in your slow cooker. Marinara sauce, sliced polenta, mushrooms, sausage, spinach, zucchini, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese and seasonings; repeat. Cover and cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or on HIGH for 2-3 hours. Once hot and bubbly, turn off slow cooker, top lasagna with mozzarella cheese and allow to rest covered for 20 minutes.
I’m really loving this new Weight Watchers cook book. So much so I’ve basically kidnapped it. You see it belongs to my Healthy Choices buddy DJ. We’ve sort of worked out a deal. If I can hang onto it for a bit longer I promised to bring her samples of anything I make. I think it’s working out well for both of us :)
Today I hauled the whole crockpot to work to Share the Love. Everyone who sampled, loved this recipe. They couldn’t believe that Italian Sausage & Polenta Lasagna was figure friendly as well. That’s what bold flavors and creamy comfort can do for a dish. B also gave this recipe his stamp of approval, with this stipulation….add more punch. Next time we’ll use arrabbiata sauce in place of marinara. Red pepper flakes are often our go-to punch and that’s what this sauce brings.
- 1 lb. Jennie-O Hot Italian Turkey Sausage
- 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 1 one-pound tube polenta, cut into 18 slices
- 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
- 1 10-ounce box frozen spinach, thawed & squeezed dry
- 1 tsp. Mrs. Dash garlic & herb seasoning
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 24-ounce jar favorite marinara sauce
- 1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
- ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- Remove sausage from casings and brown in skillet, breaking up with wooden spoon until cooked through. Remove from pan and pour off any grease. Brown mushrooms in skillet coated with cooking spray.
- Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. Add ½ cup sauce to bottom of slow cooker. Layer 6 slices of polenta. Top with half of the sausage and half of the mushrooms. Add half of the zucchini slices and half of the spinach. Spread ½ cup of ricotta over top (I used a teaspoon to drop ricotta). Sprinkle ¼ cup of parmesan cheese, Mrs. Dash and basil. Spread 1 cup of sauce over layers.
- Add 6 more slices of polenta, then top with remaining sausage, mushrooms, zucchini, spinach, ricotta and parmesan cheese. Spread 1 cup of sauce over layers. Add remaining 6 slices of polenta and top with remaining sauce.
- Cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or on HIGH for 2-3 hours. Lasagna will be hot and bubbly. Turn off slow cooker. Spread mozzarella cheese on top. Cover and allow to rest for 20 minutes before serving.
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