About this Recipe
Lasagna is a popular dish to make for family or when entertaining friends. It is also a wonderful choice to take to a potluck. If you are looking for a tasty meatless version, you've come to the right recipe! I've been making lasagna for years and my traditional meat lasagna was requested for birthdays and was a dish that always evoked yummy compliments and requests for seconds. This vegetable lasagna recipe is getting similar rave reviews.
Meat recipes have taken a back seat in Grandmother's kitchen as we move into a more vegetable and nut based diet. Sharing veggie-based recipes that we have tried and like is a real joy and even if you eat meat on a regular basis, this vegetable lasagna offers some variety.
1. Use oven ready lasagna noodles to save the step of precooking the noodles. We used a nice thin oven ready noodle that is a product of Italy and they are about 4x6 inches in size so 4 lasagna noodles fit nicely on each row. You can use any lasagna noodle that is available to you, but this makes a quick shortcut in the preparation of this dish by being able to just lay the oven ready noodles in the rows without boiling and cooking them first. Oven ready or no-boil noodles just mean the noodles do not require boiling before baking in the lasagna dish. The sauce in the lasagna recipe rehydrates and softens the noodles while they are baking.
2. You can use any type of squash you like, but butternut squash is super high in nutrients and the color is very bright and appealing. It also has a creamy sweet flavor and good texture. It does not get mushy like many squash varieties do, so we highly recommend it.
3. Defrost your package of frozen spinach overnight in the refrigerator. That way, it will be soft and easy to mix together with the ricotta cheese and egg.
4. We used our own Canned Tomatoes but you can use canned stewed tomatoes from the grocery store in the recipe.
5. Be sure you like the flavor of the tomato sauce you choose. We find Hunt's original is a good choice and is not heavy seasoned with spices.
6. Dice the onions nice and small. We appreciate the use of my mandoline slicer, just for the sake of cutting up onions. It takes seconds, and, this mandoline is easy to clean. I love that you can dice them so small and evenly, there is not even time for 'tearing up' as the process is so quick. We watched quite a few YouTube videos and read several reviews before deciding on this Mandoline Slicer. We are very happy with all the features it has.
7. The reason we decided to make a cheese sauce for this lasagna was to be able to cut down on the amount of cheese usually required to cover the whole top of a lasagna pan. We are using a cheddar cheese made out of cashews that we are able to buy locally. That is personal preference and you can use your own favorite cheese in the recipe. There is only half a cup of cheese total in the cheese sauce. You can use a dairy milk or a non-dairy milk such as an unsweetened almond milk or unsweetened oat milk. It makes only a thin layer of sauce.
8. If you want the cheese sauce layer on top thicker, just double the cheese sauce recipe. The amount we show in the recipe was enough to cover the top but we are guessing that big cheese lovers may want it thicker.
9. Cover the lasagna when baking to keep the top layer from browning too much or too quickly. We used a silicone mat as our cover, but you can use aluminum foil.
10. You can omit making cheese sauce and save that step and just grate 2 cups of your favorite cheeses and sprinkle on top of the lasagna if you prefer.
11. If you want to you can use lasagna noodles that require boiling first. Just be sure to make enough for 4 layers of noodles.
Makes on 9x13 inch pan
16 lasagna noodles - Oven ready - 4 per row. These lasagna noodles are thin and flat and smaller than the wavy lasagna noodles that many are more familiar with.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, large diced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 cups zucchini, cut into small cubes, washed, skin left on, (1 zucchini about 10 inches)
2 cups squash, cut into small cubes, peeled, (1 butternut squash)
2 cups mushrooms, cut into small pieces (about 12 medium size white mushrooms)
1 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
300g spinach, frozen, thawed
2 cups stewed tomatoes
398ml tomato sauce, we used Hunts
250g ricotta cheese
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
10-12 fresh basil leaves, cut into small pieces
1 Tablespoon butter
1 cup milk
1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cheddar cheese (we used cashew cheese, you can use any kind)
1. Prepare all the vegetables. Peel and dice the onions and peel and mince the garlic. Set aside.
2. Peel the squash, remove the seeds and cut into cubes.
3. Wash the zucchini, leave the skin on and cut into small cubes.
4. Clean the mushrooms, and cut into small pieces.
5. Cut up the roasted red peppers into pieces.
6. In a deep bowl, using a hand immersion blender, blend the stewed tomatoes. Add the tomato sauce, stir together. Set aside.
7. Place the spinach, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and egg into a mixing bowl and stir together to combine. Set into the refrigerator while you are cooking the sauce.
8. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven or deep saucepan. Add the onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes until the onions are soft.
9. Add the mushrooms, zucchini, squash and roasted red peppers to the pot. Stir to combine. Add the salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, covered, open lid and stir occasionally.
10 Cut the fresh basil leaves into small pieces.
11. Add the tomato sauce and the basil to the vegetables and stir in. Put the lid on and cook for 10 more minutes. Test after 10 minutes to be sure the veggies are cooked and tender and when they are you will assemble the lasagna. If they are not tender, then cook a little longer. Do a taste test and season to taste.
12. Spoon half of the tomato vegetable sauce into the baking dish. Put a layer of noodles, followed by a layer of half of the spinach filling. Do another layer of noodles with the remaining spinach filling and on the same layer add a small portion of the tomato sauce.
13. Do another layer of noodles and spoon on the rest of the tomato vegetable sauce. Place the final layer of noodles on top. You want to be sure there is lots of sauce in the layer below as these noodles need to be able to absorb the moisture from the sauce in the cooking phase to soften up. Set aside while you make the cheese sauce for the top.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare the cheese sauce:
1. Melt the butter on low heat in a saucepan.
2. Meanwhile, in a taller measuring cup, or some sort of container that is good for use with a hand immersion blender pour in the milk. Add the salt and flour and use the immersion blender to combine.
3. Add the milk mixture to the melted butter and keep the heat on low and cook the mixture, stirring as it cooks so it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. It will thicken up very quickly. Keep stirring to prevent scorching. Let cook for about a minute. Add the cheese, shut off the heat and stir the cheese into the sauce until the cheese has melted in.
4. Pour the cheese layer over the top of the lasagna.
Tip: Our top layer of noodles had started to curl upwards from sitting on the sauce, so we flipped the noodles over for the sake of them lying flat before adding the cheese sauce layer. You could pre-soak the oven ready noodles for 15 minutes to soften before using.
Spread the cheese sauce so it is nice and even.
5. Cover the lasagna and place into the preheated oven. We used a silicone flat mat, but you can use aluminum foil or lid if your baking dish has one. Bake for 30-40 minutes until cooked through. Serve while hot and Enjoy!
Lasagna noodles are yet another shape of pasta. We talk about using the oven ready lasagna noodles in this recipe. So you may ask what is the difference between oven ready and regular lasagna noodles. No-boil noodles are similar to instant rice. During production the noodles go through a water bath. Once this happens, they are then mechanically dehydrated. When you cook them the sauce gets absorbed into the noodle and rehyrdates them. Some people suggest soaking these noodles in hot tap water for 10 minutes. This will allow the noodles to have a softer texture.
In the case of a recipe that calls for lots of sauce, there should be enough moisture in the sauce to soften the noodles when baking, but doing the soaking step will ensure the noodles are going to be plump and have more moisture. For sure, you don't want to end up with hard lasagna noodles in the dish, so, if you have concerns the sauce is not going to make the noodles soft enough for your liking, just to put your mind at ease, go ahead and soak the noodles before layering.
If you are going to use lasagna noodles that require boiling, do that step first and when cooked, put them into a bowl covered with cold water to stop the cooking process and to keep them from sticking together before using in the lasagna.
Lasagna recipes usually ask to be covered when baking. This is because the dish is in the oven quite a long time and the cheese on top will get too browned, hard or even burn if the dish is not covered.
This vegetable lasagna actually tastes good cold from the refrigerator as well. It is almost like a pasta salad so is a nice one to pack in a lunch box, and not worry about reheating.