I don’t know about you, but with the dip in temperatures and the gloomy gray mornings, I’ve been leaning toward eating warm, cooked veggies as opposed to summery salads. (I mean, when I’m eating veggies at all. Because, let’s be honest, baked goods and I are kind of having a thing.) This fall I am trying to sneak in veggies wherever I can, including this delicious vegetable lasagna.
Lasagna is a polarizing dish in my household. My husband won’t touch cheese, so a lasagna spread with it is off limits for him. This means that I face the prospect of eating an entire lasagna all by myself. A little dangerous, no? I often find that lasagna can be too heavy – so many layers swimming in cheese and sauce! And though scrumptious, a meat lasagna makes me want to curl up in a food coma just thinking about it.
My solution is to pack my lasagna to the gills with delicious zucchini, peppers, and onions. All the veggies lighten things up, and I use part-skim ricotta and shredded cheese, so you don’t miss any flavor. The good news is, not only does the lasagna make a perfect dinner for tonight, it freezes really well. If you want to eat the whole pan in one sitting, there’s no judgement here, but this is a lovely dish to bring out from the freezer on a night you don’t want to cook.
- 1 box lasagna noodles (I made the mistake of buying the “oven ready” variety the first time, and they were too big for my pan. Cue me, hand-cutting dry noodles to fit. Picture dried pasta splinters everywhere.)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 green zucchini
- 1 yellow summer squash
- 1 medium onion
- 1 red bell pepper
- 4 cups spaghetti sauce
- 3 cups light (part-skim) ricotta cheese
- 2 cups light (part-skim) shredded cheese (mozzarella is classic, but you can use whatever you have on hand)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cook lasagna noodles in salted water according to package directions. Lay noodles aside on tin foil or wax paper to avoid sticking.
- Meanwhile, thinly slice zucchini and squash, and chop onions and peppers. I kept my pieces large enough to be recognizable.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened.
- Add remaining vegetables to the pan and cook, stirring often. You want the veggies to get tender-crisp. They’ll cook a bit more in the oven, but you want to soften them up and get them fragrant and delicious.
- Mix ricotta cheese with salt and oregano.
- Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of your pan (about 1 cup), then top with a layer of noodles.
- Spread a layer of ricotta on top of the noodles (about 1 cup), then top with vegetables, a sprinkle of the shredded cheese, and more sauce.
- Add another layer of noodles, then repeat the ricotta, vegetables, shredded cheese, and sauce layers 2 times.
- Top with a final layer of noodles, sauce, and shredded cheese.
- Cover pan with 2 layers of aluminum foil, then bake for about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook, uncovered, for 5 more minutes. You’ll want the cheese melted and gooey.
- Let the lasagna cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Note: To freeze, cut into individual portions and wrap in layers of parchment paper. This will prevent the pieces from sticking together and will let you pop out a piece without having to defrost a giant block of noodles. I like to reheat the lasagna in the oven, when possible, to allow for even heating.