When my husband Bill is out-of-town or having a business dinner, that’s the time to make a meal for myself of something he doesn’t like. I settled on this vegetable lasagna that I came across in one of my files. It was a clipping from a 1988 Sunset Magazine. I knew it would be good because everything in Sunset Magazine is good. The lasagna is filled with spinach, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, and all the other basics that make a lasagna. Bill likes his carrots and spinach raw so I knew he probably wouldn’t care for this, although he doesn’t know what he’s missing. It was wonderful.
My (Manless) Meatless Monday begins with these colorful ingredients. I had everything assembled and ready to go. The recipe calls for a jar of marinara sauce, but of course you can make your own instead. One easy step that I liked was the lasagna noodles and carrots are boiled together first, then the zucchini is added to the pan and the mixture is cooked for a few more minutes. They were all cooked perfectly. A layering process is done with the cooked zucchini and carrots with noodles, a spinach-ricotta mixture, and a mushroom and onion laced marinara sauce. It’s topped with a last layer of sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan. It smells heavenly while baking and looks beautiful hot from the oven.
I decided to use this lovely dish for serving because it looks just like the one Sunset used in their photo. A flat baking dish works fine too, but I loved these taller chunky pieces.
I was very happy to freeze most of the lasagna for another time. Next time Bill is out-of-town, I’ll have meals ready to go, even if it’s not a Monday.
- 8 ounces dry lasagna noodles
- 4 carrots (about ¾ lb. total) ends trimmed, cut into ¼-inch thick slices
- 3 zucchini (about 1 lb. total) ends trimmed, cut into ¼-inch thick slices
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
- ½ pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 jar (32 ounces) marinara sauce
- 2 packages (10 oz. each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- ½ pound ricotta cheese
- ¾ pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
- ¼ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add noodles and carrots; cook 6 minutes. Add zucchini; cook until noodles are just tender, about 4 minutes longer. Drain well and set aside.
- In the same pan, add olive oil, onions, mushrooms, basil, thyme, and oregano. Cook over high heat, stirring often until onion is limp and liquid evaporates, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in marinara sauce. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Squeeze all liquid from the spinach and place in a bowl. Stir in the ricotta cheese; set aside.
- In a 3-quart baking dish, spread in ⅓ of the sauce. Arrange ½ of the noodles over the sauce. Sprinkle evenly on top1/2 of each of the vegetables, ½ of the spinach mixture, and half of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers, ending with the sauce. Sprinkle with the Parmesan.
- Set the baking dish on a jelly roll pan to catch any drips. Bake, uncovered, until the center is hot, about 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6.
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