I’ve been making a lot of heavy, fattening comfort foods lately. So I decided I should make some healthier, lighter dishes. I looked in the fridge and had quite a few vegetables to use up. And what did I decide to make? Lasagna. Hahaha. Not exactly healthy or light. Maybe next week.
This isn’t so bad actually. It has lots of roasted vegetables and fresh spinach. But there’s also lots of cheese. I never use low fat cheese. It has additives that make up for the fat. And it doesn’t melt properly. I also don’t use the “no cook” noodles because I haven’t had much luck getting the liquid content just right. So this one is not filed under healthy but it’s really tasty. Roasting the vegetables helps intensify the flavours and reduce the liquid so it holds together well.
Start by cutting eggplant, onions, mushrooms and peppers into small chunks. The pieces will shrink a bit while roasting. You can vary the amounts of each vegetable depending on what you have on hand and what is in season. You want to have enough to cover a baking sheet in one layer. Toss them in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 15 minutes, then add basil and oregano, stir and return to the oven for about 15 more minutes. I add the dry herbs half way through so they don’t burn. Scrape the vegetables and any juices and bits into a bowl and add about 1/4 of a jar of pasta sauce. Marinara is great or any kind that isn’t chunky. Herb and garlic works well too! Homemade is even better. You need about 2/3 of a cup, four times.
In another bowl combine cottage cheese, egg, shredded mozzarella and pesto. You can use ricotta instead of cottage cheese. If you don’t have pesto no biggie, you could mince some fresh basil or spinach. Or just use the cheese and egg mixture.
Bring a large pot to a boil. Add a bit of salt. Lay a kitchen towel on the counter and cook 6 noodles at a time until al dente. By not crowding them you can ensure they all cook evenly and can remove them quickly before they overcook and start tearing. Cook the next batch while you are assembling the first few layers.
Spoon a very thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a pan that has the dimensions to hold 3 lasagna noodles by length and width.
Place 3 noodles side by side in the first layer. Spoon sauce evenly over the noodles in a thin layer and cover with spinach. Use about 1/4 of the jar each time you layer with sauce or about 2/3 of a cup.
Lay a second layer of noodles and spread the vegetable mixture evenly over top. Top with a thin layer of shredded cheese. Lay a 3rd layer of noodles and top with a thin layer of sauce and spinach. Lay a 4th layer of noodles and spread cottage cheese mixture evenly over top. You may have to press down on the noodles to prevent the layers from getting too high. The spinach reduces quite a bit so the lasagna won’t spill over the top.
Lay the last layer of noodles, spread the remaining sauce over top and cover with remaining shredded cheese. Grate Parmesan over top.
Generously rub or spray a sheet of foil with oil. This is important because otherwise when you remove the foil the cheese will stick to the foil and peel off. Cover the lasagna lightly and bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake 30 more minutes until top is brown and bubbling. Let it rest at least 15 minutes before serving so the pieces stay together.
Here’s the recipe:
Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
Roasted Vegetable Lasagna Ingredients 15 lasagna noodles 1 large jar (650 ml) pasta sauce or approx. 2 1/2 cups 1 container (475-500 gram) cottage cheese 1 large egg 1 Tbsp pesto 2 small or 1 large eggplant 2 sweet peppers, any colour 1/2 onion 12 mushrooms 1 tsp dried oregano 1 tsp dried basil 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil salt and pepper 4 cups loosely packed spinach 1 large mozzarella cheese bar (450 g) Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, approx. 1/2 cup Method Chop eggplant, peppers, mushrooms and onions into small chunks. Toss in olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Add oregano and basil, stir and return to oven for 15 more minutes or until vegetables are soft and darkening. Remove vegetables from the pan with any juices, scraping any bits left on the sheet and combine with 1/5 of the jar or 1/2 cup pasta sauce. While the vegetables are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in batches of 6 until al dente. Drain on kitchen towel. Shred the entire bar of cheese. Combine about 1 cup of the shredded cheese with the container of cottage cheese and the egg. Stir in the pesto. Reserve the rest of the mozzarella for assembly. To assemble, spread a thin layer (1/2 cup) of sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Lay 3 cooked lasagna noodles, side by side and cover with another thin layer of sauce (1/2 cup). Cover with half of the spinach. Add 3 more noodles and cover with roasted vegetable combination. Sprinkle about 1 cup of shredded mozzarella over top. Add 3 more noodles and cover with 1/2 cup sauce and the rest of the spinach. Add 3 more noodles and top with cottage cheese mixture. Add last 3 noodles, top with remaining sauce and cover with the rest of the shredded mozzarella. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Spray or wipe a sheet of foil with oil to prevent cheese from sticking. Loosely cover the lasagna and bake in the centre of the oven at 350 for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and cook 30 more minutes or until the top is browning and bubbling. Let rest at least 15 minutes before cutting.