September 2, 2010

Vegetable Lasagna

Over the past few months we have been trying to cut out some meat from our diet (we still eat it, just not every meal..), and have been focusing on eating more vegetables and grains in its place. Of course the hardest part in doing this is making sure to keep a good balanced diet with enough protein. As you know now from some previous posts, quinoa is one of my all-time favorite foods, not only because it tastes so good, but because it is incredibly amazing for your body, and holds a complete protein in itself. This is good news when you are trying to eat less meat without compromising protein.

 Anyways, this dish does not contain quinoa, or much protein for that matter (besides the ricotta, and some in the veggies and noodles), but it is one of those meals that you eat and do not miss meat for even one second. There are a few simple steps to making this, but all in all it is fairly easy, and the results are phenomenal. I got the basic recipe from Green Kitchen Stories blog, and tweaked it a bit to make my own version. I made it for a dinner party, and people devoured it, and I honestly don't even know if they all knew it was vegetarian. That being said, I didn't get a chance to take a picture of the finished product, and I am seriously upset I didn't because it came out perfect! It is light, summery, and the perfect end to your evening. Enjoy!

Vegetable Lasagna
This is my new favorite lasagna recipe. It is so good and healthy you forget it is even lasagna!
Serves 6-8

1 package of whole wheat lasagna noodles (make sure they are the ones that are ready to use, no boiling required)
1 jar of Arrabiata pasta sauce (It is just a spicy tomato sauce, if you want to make homemade go to the original recipe above)
1 large can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large eggplant
1 large or 2 medium zuchinni
1 large or 2 medium summer squash
1 pint of fresh mushrooms
16 oz frozen or fresh spinach
2 clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
16 oz ricotta cheese
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 cup fresh torn basil
pinch of dried oregano
2 cups mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper

This is an really easy recipe but there are a few steps in making it. First you need to broil your vegetables to get rid of some of the liquid in them.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and place a cooling rack in a cookie sheet (you may need two). Trim ends off zuchinni, squash, and eggplant. Then slice each into ling thin strips, about 1.4 inch thick. Using a ziplock bag or baking dish toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on cooling rack and bake for 6 minutes per side. Let cool. Turn oven down to 350 degrees.

While the veggies cool, saute the mushrooms. In a skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, add in mushrooms, garlic, and thyme. Saute. stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Set aside.

While the mushrooms and veggies cool, make the lemon-ricotta. In a medium bowl, mix ricotta, lemon zest ad juice, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and then set aside. In a another small bowl mix can of tomatoes and pasta sauce. Set aside.

To put it all together:
In a lasagna size casserole dish, spoon a little bit of tomato sauce. Add a layer of noodles, followed by a layer of ricotta mix, then grilled veggies, spinach, mushrooms, then a layer of sauce. Repeat this 2-3 more times depending on pan size and amount of veggies. For the last layer, top with veggies, ricotta, tomato sauce, and then the mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes.

1 comment:

  1. I made this on Saturday evening, and it was pretty much excellent. I'm not gonna lie, I really wanted it to taste unhealthier :) but I felt pretty pleased with myself after I ate it, and didn't have to cope with the remorse of the unhealthy food binge. Awesome.