I had some leftover vegetables that needed to be cooked, so I came up with this hearty vegetable lasagne. Adding diced zucchini to the sauce gave it the chunky texture of a meat sauce without the meat. It’s a good mix of summer time veggies and rich comfort food. The best of both worlds!
Start with some diced onion and red pepper.
I used my frozen red pepper from my stash in the freezer.
Here’s the star of the dish – zucchini. Dice it small. I mostly did it this way because I knew my 11 month old would be eating it too, but it made the sauce more naturally chunky than larger chunks would have.
Toss it in the pan with some olive oil.
While this sautés, finely chop some garlic and add to pan.
Stir in a large can of crushed tomatoes. Mine had basil added. It’s not necessary.
Add some salt, pepper, italian herbs and a little sugar to cut the acid. I do mine to my own liking. This is the part where you feel like an Italian mama making your own sauce. Simmer the sauce, covered, on low for 30 min to an hour. Let the veggies get tender.
While you’re waiting, thaw and drain some frozen spinach.
In a bowl, combine an egg, ricotta cheese, spinach, lemon juice and salt.
Stir until combined. You can keep it in the refrigerator until the sauce is ready.
In a baking dish, spoon some of sauce on the bottom. Then begin to layer lasagne noodles, ricotta mixture, sauce and repeat until you use all the filling. Add mozzarella and parmesan to the top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheese starts to bubble and turn golden brown on top. I love how it’s oozing over the edges of the pan!
Are you ready to eat?
- For the sauce:
- ½ large onion, diced
- ½ red pepper, diced
- 1 large zucchini, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- ½ tsp dried parsely
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- a pinch of sugar to taste
- For the filling:
- 16 oz ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- ½ cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- ½ tsp lemon juice
- ⅛ tsp salt
- Lasagne noodles (I used no-boil. Otherwise cook according to package)
- 1½ cups mozzarella cheese
- ¼ grated parmesan cheese
- Sauté onion, red pepper and zucchini in a pot until tender. Add garlic and sauté another minute.
- Stir in crushed tomatoes and herbs.
- Salt, pepper and sugar to taste.
- Simmer for 30 min to an hour on low heat or until zucchini is tender and flavors blend.
- While sauce is cooking, stir together in a medium bowl the ricotta, spinach, egg, lemon juice and salt.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- When sauce is ready, spread a small amount on the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish.
- Layer with noodles, ricotta mixture, sauce and repeat this until you use all the filling.
- Top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden.