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.
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?
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:
(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.
Add tomatoes, tomato paste, water, herbs and salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer.
While sauce is cooking, prepare cheese mixture. Beat egg in a large bowl. Stir in ricotta, shredded mozzarella and parm.
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.
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.
Lay three noodles on top of sauce 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.
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
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!
Thanks for the walk and talk! Now let’s eat.