Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna


Lasagna is one of those recipes that people call comfort food. It’s warm, with gooey cheese, and a fresh blend of ingredients. As you know, I love making healthy dishes, and have an extra fondness for dishes with lots of color. I was craving lasagna after making my classic, easy recipe for Spinach Lasagna for a friend. Because I gave it away, we didn’t get to eat it. And I think The Boy was a bit disappointed. I promised him I’d make another. So, the weekend rolled around and I had time to devote to a more labor-intensive dish, and also found myself with a plethora of fresh zucchini and squash from my CSA box. (I know I sound like a broken record always talking about my CSA box, but I really do plan our meals around what veggies we get from it.) I’d been wanting to make a lasagna that I could pack EVEN MORE nutritious veggies into by layering the zucchini and squash in.

I turned to this recipe as my guide and inspiration. I’m really glad I took the time to make the tomato sauce instead of just using a jarred pasta sauce. Even though I always used the best jarred sauce, I really like the way the tomatoes and tomato flavor stands out in a homemade version. Plus, it’s cheaper!

Another awesome flavor in this lasagna, is the roasted squash & zucchini. I just adore roasted vegetables. When I sliced the zucchini and squash, I sliced them a little too thin. I forget how they tend to shrink up a little when roasting. So next time I’m do thicker slices. I also threw in mushrooms, as another nutritious filling addition.

Instead of following the original recipe’s suggestion for the filling, I used one based from my other lasagna. I think I could make that one in my sleep! And finally, I used REAL, fresh mozzarella this time, instead of the cheap shredded dry kind. If I’m saving calories by making this meatless, and including all those nutritious veggies, I think it’s totally ok to have the real, moist mozzerella, as opposed to a pre-shredded 2% version.


By now, most of you probably aren’t still reading this, because I’ve rambled on and on. But I must say, this lasagna turned out FABULOUS! I really could taste all the extra details, from the tomatoes, to the roasted vegetables, and most importantly the cheese. This won’t be the only lasagna I cook from now on, as the other one is simpler and faster to prepare; but this will be the one for when I have the time and ingredients to dedicate to preparing. Both deserve space in my tummy.

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Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

heavily adapted and heavily influenced by The Kitchen Sink
also adapted from Spinach Lasagna, a previous post

Ingredients:

Tomato Sauce
1 medium onion
4 cloves of garlic (you can use less, I just like garlic!)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (or more if you like it!)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 28 oz cans whole tomatoes (optional suggestion, use one can of fire roasted tomatoes)

Filling
1 15 oz container part skim ricotta cheese
1 egg beaten
1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups sliced mushrooms
salt & pepper as much or little as you like

Additional Ingredients
3-4 zucchinis and squash, sliced
additional chile flakes
salt
pepper
italian herb seasoning (oregano, rosemary, thyme, etc)
fresh mozzarella, sliced (mine was a 5 oz "ball")
lasagna noodles of choice (whether it be homemade, fresh, the non-boil kind, or the kind you boil; I went with the boil kind, whole wheat OF COURSE!)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

Prepare tomato sauce: Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Saute onion & garlic. As those begin to soften, add fennel seeds and chile flakes. Cook 3-4 minutes, add the cans of tomatoes. Simmer and puree, or just roughly break up with a wooden spoon (my preferred method).

While the tomato sauce is simmering, prepare the roasted vegetables. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and arrange the vegetables on a cookie sheet sprayed with olive oil nonstick spray, in an even layer. Sprinkle them with salt, pepper, chili flakes, dried herbs seasoning, and roast for 25-30 minutes until done.

Prepare the filling. Beat the eggs, add in ricotta, spinach, 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, mushrooms, salt and pepper, and combine well.

Prepare the noodles if necessary. (I always boil mine in a large skillet, about 4-5 at a time.)

Layer ingredients in a 9x13 pan in the following order: sauce, pasta, filling, veggies, cheese, until you reach the top of the pan. Layer with remaining noodles, sauce, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese. Bake at 425° for 35 to 45, until top is brown and bubbly. Remove from oven and let rest 20 minutes before serving.

Alternatively, you can wrap tightly with foil, and then plastic wrap, and freeze. To reheat, thaw in refrigerator, then place in oven, and turn oven on to 425° for 45 minutes, until top is brown and bubbly. Let rest 20 minutes before serving.


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13 Responses to “Roasted Vegetable Lasagna”

  1. 1
    TPOX — August 26, 2009 @ 6:49 am

    That.Looks.Awesome! I hope the picture is enough to sway my husband into liking lasagna because I really want to make that!

  2. 2
    Liesl — August 26, 2009 @ 7:38 am

    YUM! I think homemade sauce always tastes better. I recently made stuffed shells with jarred and was SO disappointed.

  3. 3
    Kristy K — August 26, 2009 @ 9:17 am

    That looks great! Question…what in the world is a CSA box? lol

  4. 4
    Damon M. Barnes — August 26, 2009 @ 3:34 pm

    You have causes a first in the "Life and Times of Damon M. Barnes". I would honestly like to make this and I have NEVER wanted to try a vegetarian dish before.

  5. 5
    Erin — August 27, 2009 @ 8:39 am

    I read all the way to the end, because this dish totally appealed to me! I love veggie lasagnas, but really dislike when they're covered in white sauce. I'm a tomato loving girl! I love tossing in extra varieties of veggies, and this sounds like a great mix!

  6. 6
    Colleen — August 27, 2009 @ 10:56 am

    I love the idea of roasting the veggies first – it must add such a great depth of flavor to the whole dish.

  7. 7
    ellysaysopa — August 27, 2009 @ 12:36 pm

    Mmmm looks so fabulous! I love roasted veggies.

  8. 8
    Joelen — September 2, 2009 @ 6:51 am

    This looks delicious and roasting the veggies first is a great idea!

  9. 9
    L — September 4, 2009 @ 7:10 am

    Yum! Also check out the veggie lasagna recipe from Food Network's Everyday Italian show – so good!

  10. 10
    Jen — August 1, 2010 @ 8:55 pm

    I stumbled upon your recipe searching for veggie lasagna. I followed your recipe but added eggplant just because I had it and it was delicious. I had company and they loved it as well. Had never roasted the veggies for my lasagna before and I think that’s what makes it sooo good. Thanks! I see that I’ll be trying the quinoa/garbanzo salad next.

  11. 11
    Abbie — August 16, 2010 @ 9:23 am

    Thanks for posting this killer-sounding recipe! Quick question for those who have already tried it: is it OK to assemble the lasagna and refrigerate for a few hours before baking? I’d like to prep everything and then be able to spend the afternoon with my guests before baking and serving. Any thoughts/advice would be appreciated! Thank you again!

  12. 12
    Abbie — August 18, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

    Update:

    The lasagna turned out wonderfully and was a huge hit all around. Thank you, Erin!

    Considering this was my first time making this particular recipe, I think I did pretty well. 😉 Luckily, this is a great, forgiving recipe! The only pitfalls I encountered were: 1) I simmered the sauce a little too long. I was hoping that some reduction would intensify the flavor; however I ended up with too little sauce and had to improvise with some additional canned tomatoes (spruced up with dried spices) plus some mushroom broth for the last round of saucing. Still tasted amazing, though. 2) I over-roasted my veggies a bit. I think I just had them cut a little too thinly for the suggested cooking time. I had lots of fresh baby spinach on hand, so I used that instead of frozen.

    The outcome was delicious. I will undoubtedly use this recipe again and again!

  13. 13
    Eating Deliciously — July 16, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

    Love the idea of roasting the veggies first. Can’t wait to give this a try in the fall when the weather finally cools down.

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