Why make veggie lasagna? The obvious answer is “why not?” This time of year, our gardens are abundant, farmers markets are bountiful and the end-of-summer produce in the grocery store is divine. These peak-season veggies are begging to be the star of the show!
Lasagna is versatile and can be customized to suit individual preferences. You can select your favorite vegetables, such as zucchini, peppers, mushrooms and onions, as I used, or add other options like eggplant, summer squash, chard and spinach.
To save on costs, opt for vegetables that are on sale or use just one or two veggies instead of a larger variety.
For added flexibility, you can replace ricotta cheese with cottage cheese or even add meat such as cooked hamburger crumbles, Italian sausage or Italian turkey sausage.
On the other hand, if you prefer a vegan version, simply omit the eggs and use vegan cheeses. For those following a gluten-free or low-carb diet, zucchini slices make a great pasta substitute.
Enjoy your cheesy, gooey, satisfying and perfectly glorious late-summer meal!
Roast Vegetable Lasagna
3 medium zucchinis
1 yellow onion
2 red or green bell peppers
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
4 garlic cloves, or more to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided
8 ounces lasagna noodles, 10 pieces
15-ounce tub ricotta or cottage cheese
2 large eggs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups (24-ounce can) or jar pasta sauce
1 14.5-ounce can Italian-style diced tomatoes, drained
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roasting the vegetables caramelizes them, bringing out natural sweetness and depth of flavor. Rough chop the zucchini, peppers, onion and mushrooms. Dice the garlic cloves and add to the veggies. Place the vegetables in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Use two pans if necessary. It’s going to look like a lot, but they cook down significantly.
Drizzle with oil and season with 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast the vegetables for 30 minutes, then toss and continue to roast 15 minutes more, or until softened and beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees.
While the veggies roast, start water boiling and cook lasagna according to package directions. Drain the pasta and run under cold water until cool enough to handle. Separate the pasta and set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix ricotta, eggs, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, 1/2 cup mozzarella, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste until well combined. In another bowl, mix the pasta sauce and tomatoes.
To assemble, coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray; spread 1/2 cup sauce mixture on the bottom of the pan. Place a layer of pasta over the bottom of the pan. Spoon roughly a third of each; the veggies and ricotta mixture. Sprinkle 1/2 cup mozzarella evenly over the mixture and top with a scant cup of sauce. Repeat layers until you have four layers of pasta and three layers of filling. The top layer will be pasta topped with the remaining 1 cup sauce, 1 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until golden and bubbly, about 15 minutes more. Rest for 15 minutes before serving.