Cooktop Cove: How to make easy vegetarian lasagna (video)
Lasagna should be full of robust flavor layered between pasta; with decadent cheeses and delightful squashes in every bite, this vegetarian version more than fits the bill.
If squash isn't your thing, try combining different vegetables. Mix and match mushrooms, spinach, olives or carrots to your palate's content, keeping the total vegetable volume to eight to 10 cups. Inspired Taste, whose video below provides visual instructions for making the lasagna, recommends keeping the roasted red peppers; their sweet, smoky taste adds a layer of flavor that can't be beat!
Easy vegetarian lasagna
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
14 lasagna noodles
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup or 140 g)
3 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
2 medium zucchini, chopped into 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) pieces
2 medium yellow squash, chopped into 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) pieces
1 cup roasted red peppers, cut into 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) pieces
(two home-roasted peppers or one 12-ounce jar of roasted peppers)
28 ounces (794 g) crushed tomatoes, canned
Large handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
15 ounces (425 g) ricotta or cottage cheese
2 large eggs
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
8 ounces (230 g) mozzarella cheese, shredded
Black pepper, freshly ground
1. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Lay cooked noodles flat on a sheet of aluminum foil.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius). Spray a deep 9-inch by 13-inch (23 cm by 33 cm) baking pan with nonstick spray, or coat lightly in oil.
3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. When onion pieces are translucent, add garlic, red pepper flakes, zucchini, squash and a pinch of salt. Cook 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened but still have bite.
5. Add roasted peppers and crushed tomatoes, then lower heat. Simmer another 5 to 8 minutes until liquid has reduced by half and thickened. Add basil, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
6. In a medium bowl, stir ricotta (or cottage) cheese, eggs and 1/2 teaspoon salt until well combined.
7. Scoop about a cup of the vegetable mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread lightly over the bottom. Layer four noodles lengthwise over the sauce.
8. Spread half the ricotta mixture over the noodles, then sprinkle one-third of the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses over the ricotta. Top with one-third of the vegetable mixture, then another layer of noodles.
9. Repeat step 8.
10. Over the final layer of noodles, spread the last of the vegetable mixture and top with the last of the cheeses.
11. Cover dish lightly with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove the cover and bake another 15 minutes until cheese is crisp on the edges. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes to brown the cheese, then let lasagna rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Lasagna is the perfect make-ahead dish; the sauce can be premade and frozen for up to three months. Or make the entire dish and refrigerate, unbaked, for up to two days (make sure to use parchment or wax paper between sauce and aluminum foil).
Baked lasagna, when cooled, can be frozen whole for reheating later. Defrost the well-wrapped lasagna in the refrigerate overnight, then bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius) for 30 minutes, covered. Remove cover and bake another 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
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