A Lesson in Vegetarian Lasagna

August 27th, 2009 | Posted by Alison in Dinner Time

If you’ve never made lasagna, walk with me please.  It’s time for us to chat.

This is actually one of the first vegetarian dishes I ever made.

No, wait.

This is actually one of the first meals I ever made – period. In fact, I tear up now when I think about this vegetarian lasagna recipe.

(Not really. But I do like to pretend that I’m dramatic sometimes.)

When I started making vegetarian lasagna, the only other thing I made at that time was cereal.  And by “made cereal” I mean that I made it come out of the box. This is my proof that lasagna is pretty easy and you do not have be an experienced chef or Italian food savant to make a dish that will knock your own socks off.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

Sauce Ingredients

extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 zucchini, shredded*
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 cup of mushrooms, chopped
(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
6 oz can of tomato paste
1 cup of water

Cheese Layer Ingredients

1 egg, beaten
2 cups (15 oz) ricotta cheese
8 – 12 oz of mozzarella  (more if you’d like to optionally sprinkle some on top for the last 10 minutes of baking)
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese

9 – 11 lasagna noodles.

(*Back from the future, consider skipping the zucchini in the sauce and instead use that zucchini in place of pasta!)

You should only need 9 noodles (3 for each layer) 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.

A spread of everything you’ll need:

Lasagna Ingredients

(everything except the onion that I didn’t remember until after I had disassembled my group shot here.)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pan, start by sauteing garlic and onions in olive oil. Add zucchini and carrots once the garlic and onions have softened up.  I typically start the water for the pasta while my vegetables are cooking.

Saute Garlic and Onions Saute Vegetables

Add tomatoes, tomato paste, water, herbs and salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer.

Vegetable Tomato Sauce

While sauce is cooking, prepare cheese mixture. Beat egg in a large bowl. Stir in ricotta, shredded mozzarella and parm.

Ricotta and Mozzarella Mixture

Cook noodles for about 10 – 12 minutes. After you drain your pasta, rinse them under cold water to stop the cooking process and to keep them from sticking together.

Rinse Lasagna Noodles to Keep them from Sticking

It’s ok if they are slightly under done, they’ll finish cooking as the lasagna bakes.

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

Lasagna Sauce Layer

Lay three noodles on top of sauce layer.

Lasagna Noodle Layer

With a spatula or large spoon, spread cheese layer on top of noodles. If it’s really thick, you can add a little milk to thin it out and make it easier to spread. This step definitely requires some patience as you spread cheese around while not disturbing the noodles underneath.

Lasagna Cheese Layer

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

Vegetarian Lasagna

Bake at 350 for 40 – 50 minutes. I keep an eye on it and when lasagna smells start to fill your kitchen and you can it’s bubbling nicely, it’s done.

Let it sit for about 10 minutes to cool slightly and set.

Slice and enjoy!

Vegetarian Lasagna

Thanks for the walk and talk! Now let’s eat.

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15 Responses

  • Lizzy says:

    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!


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

  • WholeBodyLove says:

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

  • Libby says:

    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.


  • Christina says:

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

  • Lainie says:

    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!

  • 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!!!

  • janetha says:

    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!

  • Jennifer says:

    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.


    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. 😀

  • Whit says:

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

  • A says:

    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!!! 😀

  • 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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