Friday, July 25, 2008

Vegetable Lasagna

Last night I attempted to make my dad's vegetable lasagna. Unfortunately, my dad doesn't really have a recipe written down for it, so once again I will attempt to create one based on what he told me and what I did last night.

Vegetable Lasagna
Lasagna Noodles (I used the no-boil kind, and it was SO easy!)
2 jars Alfredo sauce (whatever variety you prefer)
2 zucchinis, diced
1 c. (approximately) carrots, diced
fresh spinach
2 large tomatoes, sliced
dash of olive oil
1/2 large white onion (or 1 small one), diced
1 c. (approximately) sliced mushrooms (fresh)
1 container of ricotta cheese (the small one, I think it's 8 oz)
1 lb grated mozzarella cheese

Steam the zucchini and carrots. I steamed them together, but then my carrots weren't all completely done. You may want to steam them separately or else chop the carrots smaller than I did (I just chopped baby carrots in half). Meanwhile, sautee the mushrooms and onions with a dash of olive oil. Set aside. Once carrots and zucchini are done, spread them out on a layer of paper towels and pat them dry. You want to dry off the vegetables so that they don't make your lasagna runny. Move them to a medium size bowl. Steam the spinach. This goes very quickly, and you need way more than you think because it shrinks down a ton. Remove spinach to a layer of paper towels and pat dry. Set aside. Add mushrooms and onions to the bowl with the carrots and zucchini. Mix in the alfredo sauce, reserving 2 cups of the sauce for the top and bottom of the lasagna.

Spread half of the reserved alfredo sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Place a layer of noodles over that. Then, spread half the vegetable mix over the noodles. On top of that, layer with tomatoes, spinach, ricotta cheese (by the spoonfuls, dotted over the top), and half of the mozzarella cheese. Add another layer of noodles, and then add the other half of the vegetable mixture followed by the rest of the tomatoes, spinach, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Top with one more layer of noodles and the other half of the reserved alfredo sauce. Cook at 375 degrees for 45-60 minutes. Cooking time and temperature may vary according to the lasagna noodles you use. I just followed the directions on the box of lasagna.

I probably could have taken mine out sooner. The top layer of noodles was a bit crunchy, but it still tasted good!

The thing about this recipe is that you can pretty much use whatever vegetables you choose. The onions and mushrooms provide a lot of the flavor, so you should keep those. Also, in my opinion, the tomatoes are pretty crucial (they were my favorite part as I was eating). Other than that you can do whatever. You can use squash, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, or anything you can think of. You can even make your own white sauce if you don't want to use the store bought variety, but if you ask me (and my dad) this makes it unnecessarily difficult.

General Tips: Slice the tomatoes as thinly as you can and layer them so that they almost cover the whole lasagna. Also, I plan on using a whole lot more spinach next time. Since it was my first time steaming spinach, I didn't know how much it would shrink. Be generous with the cheese. :) Another thing I plan on doing next time is chopping my vegetables just a little bit smaller. But you should do whatever you prefer! Don't be scared by how long this takes. Most of the time is just cooking time.

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