Monday, September 24, 2012

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Lasagna

Vegetarian lasagna seems an obvious choice for a hearty meatless meal, and it is! Just last night I made one without even thinking about going meat-free. I had a large zucchini, fresh garden onions and peppers, homemade tomato-basil-garlic sauce, and some no-boil lasagna noodles — as I said, an obvious choice!

I did not follow a recipe for my lasagna. I grilled my veggies, assembled the layers of the lasagna, and baked it. I substituted the common lasagna cheeses for those that I had in my fridge (I used goat cheese instead of ricotta, and parmesan instead of mozzarella) and just winged it.

Feel free to use your favorite lasagna recipes here. If meat is a part of your recipe, take it out and sub in some veggies. Broccoli, zucchini, eggplant, kale, peppers, onions, even butternut squash all go really well in a lasagna. But if you would rather have a step-by-step guide, I have a recipe for you.

Here it is:

Vegetarian Lasagna

The secret to making a rich-tasting vegetable lasagna lies in cooking the vegetables and combining them with the tomato sauce. This lasagna is a delicious improvement over the watery spinach lasagna that is a common alternative to meat lasagna.
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small eggplant (about 1 pound), peeled and diced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium-size yellow summer squash, diced
  • 1 medium-size zucchini, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 cups well-seasoned tomato sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 1/4 cup pesto
  • 12 no-cook lasagna noodles
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant, and sauté until juicy and tender, about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms; sauté until they give up their juice, about 8 minutes. Add the summer squash, zucchini, and garlic; sauté for 3 minutes, until almost tender. Pour in the tomato sauce. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. Keep over low heat while you assemble the lasagna.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  3. Combine the ricotta, egg, and basil in a medium-size bowl, and mix well.
  4. To assemble the lasagna, spread about 2 cups of the sauce in a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Place three lasagna noodles over the sauce. The noodles should not touch or overlap. Spread a third of the ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles. Top with another 1½ cups sauce. Sprinkle a quarter of the mozzarella and one-quarter of the Parmesan cheese on top. Repeat the layers two more times, beginning each new layer with noodles. Top with the remaining three lasagna noodles. Spread the rest of the sauce on top. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Cover with aluminum foil.
  5. Bake the lasagna for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until hot and bubbly.
  6. Let the lasagna stand for at least 5 minutes before cutting into serving pieces. Serve warm or hot.
Make-Ahead Lasagna:
The lasagna can be assembled and held for up to 8 hours in the refrigerator. Add 15 minutes to the baking time if it is cold when it is placed in the oven. The lasagna can also be baked in advance and frozen for up to 1 month. Reheat it still frozen and covered with foil, adding 30 minutes to the baking time. Uncover for the last 10 minutes.
Recipe excerpted from The Classic Zucchini Cookbook © 2002, 1990, 1977 by Storey Publishing, LLC. Authored by Nancy C. Ralston, Marynor Jordan, and Andrea Chesman. All rights reserved.

For more great vegetarian recipes, download the FREE digital edition of Serving Up the Harvest — download available September 1–30, 2012.


Meatless Monday posts are my effort to pitch the idea of eating meatless one day or one meal a week — for health, for the well-being of animals, and for the environment. I encourage you to give it a try. I also suggest trying variations of these recipes with the produce you have on hand. Additionally, if you are not yet ready to go a full day meat-free, try using these veggie-packed recipes as the focus of your meal.

Our Meatless Monday Recipe Archives:
Braised Chard Pizza and Farmhouse Salad
Mini Frittatas and Shaved Zucchini Salad
Beet Soup, Roasted Plum Quesadillas, and Peach Kuchen
Garden Vegetable Pasta and Grilled Eggplant-Tomato-Basil-Mozzarella Stacks
Indian Spiced Eggplant and Pad Thai
Corn Risotto and Corn Sauce
Spicy Tomato Basil Soup

1 comment:

Gill - That British Woman said...

we try too have a couple of days of meat free dishes each week and this would be a good choice.