Anyone else surprised to see the title of today’s post??
I’m not going all Birkenstock, vegetarian, anti-packaged foods on you all here, so hold your horses and don’t get your panties in a knot. But I did happen to make a wonderful lasagna that was stuffed to the gills with super healthy things. Healthy things like spinach, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, squash, and CHEESE.
Cheese is important.
Anywho, I’m a big supporter of lasagna. It’s an awesome, heart warming dish that my family has every Christmas. And pretty much no other time of the year. I suppose that is why it is so special. It almost feels like…forbidden…to have it any other time of the year. Therefore, out of respect to Christmas and tradition, VEGGIE lasagna was made.
One thing you should know about veggie lasagna is that it is delicious. Like seriously, it is amazing. So good you really won’t miss the meat. The eggplant and veggies give it that “oomf” to fill you up. Yeah, veggies “fill you up” now. This is happening!
Maybe I’ll become a vegetarian. Eh…probably just every September 28 from now on I will be vegetarian for the day. National Vegetarian-for-a-day Day? I like the sound of that.
6 lasagna noodles, cooked
about 255 mg Fresh Spinach
1 yellow squash
1 green bell pepper
1 medium-large eggplant, finely chopped into about 1/4-inch cubes
2 cups pasta sauce
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
about 1 cup cottage or ricotta cheese
1 cup provolone-mozzarella cheese, mixed
1/2 Tablespoon dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
about 3 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
- Slice the zucchini in thin, 1/2 inch slices and in a small bowl, lightly coat with about a Tablespoon of olive oil, and season and salt and pepper. Slice the bell pepper into thin slices.
- Place the zucchini and pepper slices on a baking tray and broil low for about 15-20 minutes. Be sure to turn the zucchini slices and pepper slices halfway through to ensure even cooking. When done, let cool and roughly chop the zucchini and bell peppers.
- In a pan, sauté the onions and garlic with some olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add the eggplant, oregano, and thyme and continue to sauté until the eggplant is cooked. Add the tomato sauce, paprika, zucchini, and bell peppers and sauté about 7-ish minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, mix the ricotta or cottage cheese, egg, spinach, and small handful of the cheese mixture. Use your hands, because a spoon here just ain’t gonna cut it! Layer the lasagna: Coat the bottom of a 9×9 or 8×8 inch baking dish with the sauce and veggie mixture, place two or three lasagna noodles on top of the sauce until the dish is covered (you may need to cut some of the noodles, to fit), and cover the noodles with a layer of the spinach mixture, sprinkle a small handful of the mozzarella-parmesan cheese mixture over the spinach mixture, cover with more lasagna noodles, layer with sauce, add more spinach mixture, layer the noodles, and so on until the dish is full. You should end with a layer of sauce and a generous layer of cheese over the sauce.
- Cover lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove foil and broil high for about 2 minutes or until the cheese on top becomes a golden brown. Watch carefully to avoid burning!!! Let lasagna sit for about 8 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
Note: This dish may be served and cooked a day or two after preparing. I covered mine with saran wrap and kept in the fridge over night the day before I actually cooked and served this. I have always been told lasagna is best to let it sit for a day after preparing.
Random Fact of the Day: Each day, up to 150 species of life become extinct.
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