A Lesson in Vegetarian Lasagna

I had lunch today with a childhood friend. Someone I haven’t seen in years and years.

Alfalfa

Ummm, close. But not exactly.

Alfalfa

Alfalfa! I swear the last time I had alfalfa sprouts was in 1987 when my mom was into sprouting her own. It’s been a long time. Welcome back my friend, looking forward to visiting with you more regularly.

Soup and sandwich for lunch today – left over Curried Carrot Cauliflower Lentil Soup and a veggie sandwich with Sesame Ezekiel, mustard, red leaf, tomatoes and as I mentioned, alfalfa.

Super Sandwich

The girls busied themselves around the house and outside today while I putzed around doing housework sprinkled with a little playing as needed.

We broke for snacks some time mid afternoon. Fage and granola for me – so happy together.

2% Fage and Homemade Granola

But now, the reason we’re all here tonight. A Lesson in Vegetarian Lasagna.

Maybe you’re a pro and have made lasagna 1000 times before and you’re already yawning and scrolling through this part wondering when it’s going to be over. If that’s the case – run along and make me something to eat.

If you’ve never made lasagna and are either:

a. intimidated
b. curious
c. intrigued
d. hungry

then please, walk with me.

This is actually one of the first vegetarian dishes I ever made. No, wait. This is actually one the first dishes I ever made – period! It is very near and dear to my heart and is probably why I’m dedicating nearly an entire post to it. I made veggie lasagna years before we were actually vegetarians and were just looking for more meatless dishes to enjoy. This was also something I made early on in our marriage and first had my own kitchen and started making dinner like a grown up. I’ve made this dish many, many times and if I may be so bold I’m going to go ahead and say that I am a VLE. Vegetarian Lasagna Expert. Both in the eating and preparing sense of the term that I made up just now. This is an time intensive dish to prepare but it is honestly not very difficult. I usually only make this for dinner parties or if I’m in the mood to really COOK. Tonight happened to be the latter.

For the sauce you’ll need:

extra virgin olive oil
1 zucchini, shredded
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 cup of mushrooms, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
(the vegetable used in this dish are very flexible and veggies can be left out or included as desired)
15 oz can of diced tomatoes
4 oz can of tomato paste
1 cup of water
oregano
basil
S&P

For the cheese layer:

1 egg, scrambled
2 cups ricotta (or cottage cheese)
8 oz of mozzarella
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese

9 – 11 lasagna noodles – I use uncooked. I’ve never used pre-cooked so I’m not exactly sure how they work. If you’ve ever use pre-cooked noodles for lasagna, do you think it’s a big savings in time/energy?

You should only need 9 noodles but I make a couple extra so I’ve got a few “backups” in case one or two rip or I need to patch up a spot if the noodles are a little short. Plus I’ve got two children who are happy to eat left over, slightly undercooked, plain lasagna noodles.

A spread of everything you’ll need:

Oops forgot parm for the pic!

Well, everything minus the Parmesan that I didn’t remember to add to the picture until I was up to my elbows in vegetables, sauce, cheese and noodle madness.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large pan, saute veggies of your choice in EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) on medium heat until soft. While this veggies are cooking, fill and begin heating a large pan with water for cooking lasagna noodles.

Veggies for sauce

Add tomatoes, tomato paste, water and stir. Add herbs and S&P.

Veggie Sauce

Oh! And this is an important step. Take an extra carrot and slice it up to enjoy with salsa to snack on and enjoy while cooking. (OK that’s probably not very sanitary so skip that step if you are a food inspector or making this meal for a lot of people.)

Important Step

While sauce is cooking and water for noodles is heating up, prepare cheese mixture. Scramble egg in a large bowl. Stir in ricotta, mozzarella and parm. Add a few splashes of milk if needed to make it a little thinner and easier to spread.

Cheese

Cook noodles until they are Al Dante. (i.e., still a little bit firm) They’ll finish cooking as it bakes.

In a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the dish.

Layer 1

Lay three noodles on top of sauce layer.

Layer 2

With a spatula, spread cheese layer on top of noodles. If it’s really thick a little milk can help thin it out and make it easier to spread.

Layer 3

One more time: a layer of sauce, noodles, cheese. Then a layer of sauce, noodles and sauce again. Sprinkle with parm and it’s ready for the oven!

A quick review on the layers, from the bottom up:

sauce, noodles, cheese, sauce, noodles, cheese, sauce, noodles, sauce, parm

Ready!

In it goes!

Going In

You did pre-heat the oven, right?

Temp and Time

Bake at 375 for about 35 minutes. I keep an eye on it and if I start to really smell it and see that it’s bubbling nicely, it’s done.

Take it out and let it sit for about 10 minutes to cool slighty and set. Slice and enjoy! Makes about 12 servings.

For dinner tonight, with a side salad. (And lunch tomorrow and the next day too probably!)

Lasagna and salad for dinner tonight

When I make this for a dinner party I usually make garlic bread too, but since it’s just us tonight I skipped any bread and just went with salad.

So there ya go – Veggie Lasagna a la Alison. Manga!

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14 Responses

  1. Alison, my mouth watered the second i read Vegetarian Lasagna on the title!

    My personal challenge is as follows
    -Make Alisons VEGETARIAN LASAGNA! OMG…..i’m going to print this out so i can have it by my side as i prepare . Not sure when this will occur, but i’m thinking sometime in the NEAR NEAR future! i’ll make it for my fam, and i know they’ll enjoy it as much as yours does too! 🙂 and you know this girl will not skimp out on the “cut up extra carrot, dip in salsa part!) i’m so excited 🙂 Thanks for posting your masterpiece!

    nighty night!

    http://saladdiva.wordpress.com

  2. I want to make this.. like now. I’m laying in bed with the biggest craving for veggie lasagna ever.. thanks!

  3. I am a VLV: Veggie Lasagna Virgin. So, I am diggin the tutorial. I’ve never eaten carrots with salsa either! Big changes! Big!

  4. How funny – I had alfafa on my sandwich today as well. Although I opted for one of the white rolls I bought the kids – hardly ever have white bread these days – was nice for a change though as it was super fresh.
    That lasange looks amazing. I think I’m going to make it next week.

    Libby

    • You know I rarely eat white bread these days either but there is the occasion where a perfectly fresh, soft wondrous white roll will present itself into my life and I let it take advantage of me. 😉

  5. wow that veggie lasgna looks like it would kick my veggie lasagna’s butttt

  6. Thank you soooo much for sharing this recipe!!! I’m going to make this in the near future! You make it look absolutely delicious…I think even my carnivore obsessed husband would like this!

  7. yum! weirdly, lasagna is one of the first dishes i learned to cook and the only thing i rarely make now (cheese factor not so good for my cholesterol). but i ONLY use no-boil noodles, b/c that’s how i was taught. i have no clue how to boil the noodles!!!

  8. um woah, it has been about a week since i had alfalfas and that has been TOO long. i can’t believe it has been 2 decades for you! MMM thanks for the play by play of your lasagna, it looks so tasty!! and definitely a healthier version than most recipes!

  9. I always used to boil my noodles completely first but then I heard that you do not need to do that. So the last few times I made lasagna I put the noodles “uncooked” straight from the box into the lasagna and they cooked as they baked. They were just as if I had boiled them before. That was a REAL timesaver. Have you ever tried that?

    The veggie lasagna looks delicious! I like how you shredded the veggies so you get small bits in every bite versus huge chunks.

  10. I NEED TO MAKE THIS!

    I never use all caps, but I felt like this deserved my loud voice. 😉 Seriously, this looks amazing! I’m printing out the recipe as I speak. 😀

  11. You, lady are the VLQ! Veggie Lasagna Queen! That looks ahmazing. Ze mouth ees watering.

  12. That looks awesome!! I like how you shredded your veggies. I may try that. I make a vegan version with tofu. Isn’t lasagna THE BEST?!?!?! You know, my hubby and I lived in Italy for 2 years and they don’t even serve it regularly in resturants or in Italian homes. It’s really only served every once in a while on holidays. I’m glad I live in the good ‘ol USofA where I can make laganga ANY TIME I WANT!!! 😀
    -A

  13. Wow, that looks like some fantabulous lasagna! I’m trying to stay away from pasta–and too much cooked food–but ya never know. I just might try this sometime. I did, after all, give that overnight breakfast cookie a whirl. 😉

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