A lasagna recipe inspired by the Italian classic
Happy 2021 !
47,500,000 results when I searched on Google for a vegetable lasagna recipe as I sat down to write this post !!! Can you believe it???? Over 47 million recipes with pictures that will make one crave for it even if we’d just had some 😉 ! Then why am I posting another one? Easy, it is the one we eat, it the one our children love and it the one they want to make in the future when they are craving for one. So I had to chronicle it, they wanted me to, how can I say no to that !
This lasagna recipe is not the authentic Italian one, it is an interpretation of the classic, based on ingredients I have, our dietary requirements, my understanding of a lasagna and my thought process when making it… LOL ! I use fewer pasta sheets than what is recommended on the pasta box. I will not call it ‘light’ or ‘low calorie’, it is just a tad bit less dense due to fewer sheets of pasta used. We smother it with cheese to make up for the less pasta 😁!
I make a whole 13×9 tray of lasagna for the 4 of us and eat for 2 days. We don’t make it often so when it rains lasagna, it definitely pours !! It also freezes really well, we portion it in glassware boxes and throw it in the freezer. So whenever one of us craves for some, we take out one serving, heat it in a microwave and enjoy it !
I highly recommend eating it with a good tossed salad on the side since it helps balance out the richness of the pasta dish.
The layers will set only if we leave the baked lasagna to cool down a bit, but we never can, so kindly excuse our sloppy mess ! Eager hands and hungry tummies dived right in and unapologetically at that !!
Recipe : Vegetable Lasagna
|Makes one 9×13 pan of lasagna, less spicy||Prep Time : 45 minutes|
|Cook time : 30 to 40 minutes||Serves 8|
(Check Notes for some more information)
- Cooked lasagna sheets – 12 to 15
- Marinara sauce – 24 ounces
- Ricotta cheese – 24 ounces
- Various chopped veggies – 4 cups (Carrot, zucchini ,bell peppers, small Italian eggplant)
- Baby spinach – one 9oz bag
- Thinly sliced onion – 1 small – optional
- Crushed garlic – 1 tablespoon
- Red chili flakes – 1/2 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon
- Italian herb seasoning – 1/2 teaspoon + 1/4 teaspoon
- Bread crumbs – 1/4 cup
- Shredded mozzarella – 2 cups
- Parmesan cheese – 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon
- Olive oil as needed
- Salt to taste
How To :
- Cook the lasagna sheets/noodles as per the package instructions, you can also use no cook lasagna sheets. Apply oil and make sure they do not stick to each until we are ready to assemble the lasagna. I recommend cooking them in batches in a large stockpot with plenty of salted water so that they don’t over cook and stick to each other.
- Prep the veggies : Chop the veggies into 1 inch chunks (so that they do not overcook when baking), slice the onions (or chop them in chunks). Heat a skillet on medium high with a tablespoon of olive oil. Once oil is hot, add the red chili flakes, 1/2 teaspoon of the Italian herb seasoning and the sliced onion. Saute the onions for 30 seconds, add the crushed garlic, a pinch of salt and let the onions cook until they start to turn translucent. Next add the chopped veggies and cook them for 2 minutes, sautéing them once in a while. Add the spinach and mix it all well, cook until spinach wilts. (See pic 3) The veggies should not be cooked all the way through, leave them al dente. Add them to a large bowl and mix in the ricotta cheese. Make sure this mixture is just lightly salted.
- Layering the lasagna : Grease a 13×9 oven safe baking dish and set aside. Gather all the ingredients needed for the assembly and keep it accessible ( See pic 8 ). Now start with 2 tablespoons of marinara thinly spread on the bottom of the baking dish. Next add 3 sheets of cooked lasagna pasta sheet. Scoop out about 1/2 cup of the ricotta veggie mixture and spread it out as evenly as possible. Next add about 1/2 cup of marinara sauce over the cheese mixture, sprinkle a thin layer of mozzarella cheese and some parmesan cheese. Next, add 3 more noodle sheets, ricotta veggies mixture, marinara sauce and continue this until the pan is filled almost all the way up or you run out of noodles and mixture! I did this 3 times and my baking dish was almost filled.
- Bread crumb mixture : we like a good bread crumb topping on our baked pasta dishes, this is optional. Mix the bread crumbs with the 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese, 1/4 teaspoon of Italian seasoning and a teaspoon of olive oil. Sprinkle this as the top most layer.
- Cover the arranged lasagna with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated oven – at 350 degree Fahrenheit, for 30 to 35 minutes. After 35 minutes, remove the foil and let it bake for another 10 minutes until the bread crumbs start turning slightly crispy. You can even broil it for 3 to 4 minutes for a nice browning of the top layer, but I didn’t.
- If you can wait, let the cooked lasagna cool down a bit on the kitchen counter for at least 20 minutes. We couldn’t wait so we dug in at 5 minutes !!
- Use instant lasagna sheets for a quicker recipe.
- Cook the traditional lasagna sheets as per the package instructions, it makes a big difference. I recommend getting your partner/spouse/young adult children to help you in this endeavor as it will speed it up 😉 !!
- How much filling you want between layers of pasta is completely your choice. Keep it dense or light, use more sheets than 3, etc.,.
- Use bechamel sauce instead of marinara or a combination of both.
- Use whatever veggies you like – kale, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.,.
- This is not a classic lasagna recipe, just my interpretation of it. I share with you our recipe with lots of respect for the original/classic one.
- Since this a vegetarian lasagna i baked it only at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, you can try baking it at 375 as well.
As always, make it your own and enjoy ! Thank you for stopping by :)!