One year ago, if you had offered me an ooey, gooey slice of vegetable lasagna, I would have curled my lip in disgust.
Vegetables? AND no meat? I'll pass, thanks.
I had absolutely no idea what I was missing! My boyfriend found this recipe on the Pioneer Woman's website, and had me help him make it for his mother's birthday. We also made a typical meat lasagna using spicy sausage, and to our surprise, everyone loved the vegetable one more! Several of them had even requested that we skip the mushrooms, but ate the lasagna without knowing that the fungi were hidden among all the other veggies (sneaky, I know).
The secret to this lasagna is in the sauce. It uses a LOT of vegetables, diced very small and sautéed in olive oil and garlic, and then simmered with a can of whole tomatoes. I seasoned mine liberally with red pepper flakes, paprika, cayenne, and chili powder to give it a nice kick. The flavor is rich and incredible, and it makes perfect leftovers. I had a big piece every day for lunch this week!
You will need:
- 10 ounce box of lasagna noodles
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 whole medium onion
- 6-10 cloves garlic
- 1 whole red bell pepper, diced
- 24 ounces, weight white mushrooms, chopped (I used portobella)
- 2 whole yellow squash, diced
- 2 whole zucchini, diced
- 1 can (28 ounce) whole tomatoes
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Red pepper flakes, cayenne, chili powder, and paprika (to taste)
- 30 ounces of ricotta cheese
- 2 whole eggs
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound thinly sliced mozarella cheese
- Extra parmesan cheese, for sprinkling
Obviously, the first thing you want to do is dice your vegetables. If you have a slap chop or something similar, make it your best friend. You have a lot of stuff to chop, and you want the pieces to be small and roughly the same size.
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Cook your lasagna noodles.
Heat the olive oil in large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for a minute. Add the chopped red bell pepper and cook for another minute or so. This helps soften it up before you add the other veggies.
Add the squash, zucchini, and mushrooms, and cook for a few minutes. Pour in the wine (we used chardonnay we had left over from our chardonnay cake) and add salt, pepper, and seasonings to taste.
Crush the whole tomatoes with your hands or a fork, and pour the entire can into the skillet. Stir, and simmer for 20 minutes. Taste often to check the seasonings, add more if the taste dissipated when the tomatoes were added. Add chopped parsley.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, salt, pepper, and parmesan.
To assemble the lasagna, spread a small amount of the sauce on the bottom of a lasagna dish. Layer 4 noodles on top, and then spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over them. Layer the mozzarella slices over the ricotta, and then top with 1/3 of the vegetable sauce. Repeat twice more, ending with the rest of the sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan.
Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 20 minutes, and then remove the foil and cook for another 10-15. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 1o minutes before cutting and serving.
I ate this for five straight days and didn't get sick of it. When my friends Chris and Andrew came over on Thursday evening to watch a movie (Cool Runnings, obviously), I offered them each a big slice. Hesitant at first, they soon demolished the piece on their plate and ran upstairs for seconds. Chris is a notoriously picky eater and hates almost all the veggies that were in this dish, and yet he absolutely loved it!
Lasagna is the perfect meal to share. It's relatively easy to make, and you get so much out of each pan. It's an entire week's meals for one person, or hearty enough to feed an entire family. When Marilyn (of Matzo ball soup fame) was stuck in the hospital in Florida with food poisoning, and her husband Jim flew back to NY by himself, I knew that this would be the perfect dish to bring over to keep him fed until Marilyn got back.
So enjoy this recipe, and make two of them; one for yourself, and one for a friend 🙂
Recipe adapted slightly from the Pioneer Woman