I am a die-hard meat-eater. Toss that steak on my plate on the rare side, garlic butter and some salt I am in heaven. However, one of my MOST favorite things to not only make but eat is this roasted vegetable lasagna. The flavors are incredible and just blend so nicely, and the veggies give a nice meat feel so I am not lacking in the “I want meat” part of my tongue. Another win – there is no Pasta used. So, this is low carb, gluten-free and high protein goodness. I did not say low-fat. There are suggestions to lower the fat content in the recipe.
There is no one way to mix the cheese portion on this. I go what I have. I do use full fat items. You can lower the calorie content by using reduced or low-fat cheeses, without impacting the flavor too much. Because, what really makes the flavors pop is the roasted veggies mixing with the cheese and the homemade sauce. No matter what cheese you use, low-fat, non-fat, tofu, vegan. Those juices are what you want to capture and sink in.
This is vegetarian, no carb recipe. For vegan, use silky tofu in place of ricotta and vegan cheeses.
No meat-eater will turn this down as written.
Throughout the recipe, I give ideas on how to reduce the prep time. Assembling and Baking time will remain the same.
Vegetable Tomato Sauce
You will need a few hours for the full homemade directions I usually start this on a Sat or Sun morning while my son is still sleeping. The house is quiet the outside air crisp and I have lots of energy. The sauce takes a good 3 hours. But the rest can be prepped while the sauce is cooking.
**Time Saver: Use a good quality store-bought tomato & basil or Marinaria Sauce. I like Classico or Bertolli Brands.
2 TBS olive oil
1 med shallot, minced
5 or more large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 TBS dried basil
1/2 TBS dried oregano
1/2 TBS dried parsley
1 tsp sage, thyme, celery salt (dried)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 small can of tomato sauce ( about 6 oz or 3 TBS tomato paste)
36 oz can tomato sauce
45 oz diced tomatoes, italian or garlic and onion flavoring
- Heat olive oil in a large stock pot (at least 6 – 8 qts).
- Add shallot, onion, garlic and sauté until onion is just getting to translucent – about 3 – 5 minutes. Stir often.
- Add dried herbs (basil, oregano, parsley, sage, thyme, celery salt) and salt and pepper and 1 small can of tomato sauce or paste. Stir and sauté for another 3 – 5 minutes to slightly caramelize the mixture and infuse the flavors.
- Add in the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Let the sauce simmer on med heat for an hour and a half, stir a couple of times during that time.
- At this time, use an emersion blender and blend until all tomato lumps are processed. Or in batches, use a blender to do the same.
- Continue to let the sauce simmer another 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes or so.
- Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed.
You are now ready to use the sauce. If you have extra – save it for another dinner or to top of chicken or fish when cooking or of course over pasta.
This is where you get a ton of flavor! It takes about 45 minutes for this part. It can be done while the sauce is simmering. This is your pasta layer.
**Time Saver: Go to the salad bar or prepared foods section of your supermarket. They generally have roasted vegetables available, perhaps not the same as I am suggestion, but that is OK. You will want to get enough for 3 layers in your lasagna pan. These act as the Pasta layer.
3 Med Zucchini
3 Med Yellow/Summer Squash
2 Med Eggplants
6 Roma tomatoes
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 375
- Slice the zucchini, yellow squash and eggplant into 1/4 in rounds. Cut the tomatoes into 3rds.
- Place the vegetables onto baking sheets and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and dried oregano. This may take 3 or 4 baking sheets, so you may have to do this in two batches. It is ok if they cool to room temp before you are ready to assemble the lasagna.
- Bake for 30 – 45 minutes until the veggies are shriveled, a little mushy and can be slightly browned. You can toss 1/2 way through, but not necessary.
Sautéed Spinach and Mushrooms
This does not take much time, about 30 minutes. It can be done while the sauce is simmering and the veggies are roasting.
**Time Saver: Buy pre-sliced mushrooms, if they look fresh and pre-diced onions (red or white will work just fine). That will save you prep time.
2 packages of mushrooms (use your favorite: Portabella, Button, Crimini, etc..), cleaned and sliced
1 large or 2 regular packages of baby spinach
1.5 cups diced white onion
3 TBS garlic, diced
2 large shallots, diced
2 TBS unsalted butter
1/2 cup white wine
1 TBS Olive Oil
salt and pepper
- In a large sauté pan, heat the butter, oil, and mushrooms over med-high heat. Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper.
- Sauté the mushrooms until they caramelize, stirring every few minutes.
- After about 4 minutes in cooking the mushrooms, add in the onion, garlic and shallots over med-high heat. Sauté for about another 3 – 5 minutes until the onions start to become translucent and the mushrooms caramelized. Just watch the garlic, it can tend to burn fast. Turn the heat down if you feel the garlic is cooking too fast.
- Add in the white wine to deglaze the pan, and simmer for about 1 – 2 minutes.
- Add in the spinach a handful at a time. It will wilt fast. Stir in the wilted spinach, then add another handful. Repeat until all of the spinach has been added.
- Turn off the heat , taste and adjust with salt and pepper if needed. Set aside.
This step only takes a few minutes. You can substitute low fat cheese for any of the below.
2 cups shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded Sharp White Cheddar Cheese
1 large container of Ricotta cheese, drained (pour into a strainer and place over a bowl for about 15 – 20 minutes)
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded Asagio cheese (if you do not have, increase the amount of white sharp cheddar cheese by 1 cup or use an Italian Blend)
1 cup crumbled Feta Cheese (if you do not have, increase the amount of white sharp cheddar cheese by 1 cup or use an Italian Blend)
1 cup heavy cream (you can use light cream)
10 – 15 leaves of basil, sliced into strips
- Mix all in a large bowl. Taste and adjust amount of cream or pepper as needed. You do not want it too dry as you will have to spread it, so you may have to add more cream.
Set aside until ready.
No breadcrumbs – isn’t that great? If you have to you can, but there is no need.
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella
Set aside until ready.
Building the Lasagna
Now you have all your components ready to go:
Sauteed Spinach (optional)
Using a large deep lasagna pan (or two shallow glass baking dishes – you will only do two layers in ea), build your yummy lasagna.
Preheat oven to 375
- Spread a little sauce on the bottom of the dish to help prevent the eggplant from sticking. Layer the eggplant to cover the bottom of the pan. Spoon more sauce over the top of the eggplant.
- Spread a layer of the cheese mixture to cover the eggplant.
- Spread a layer of the spinach mixture to cover the cheese.
4. Add more sauce to cover the spinach
5. Start the next layer. Alternate the zucchini, yellow squash and roasted tomato slices to build the next layer.
6. Repeat steps 2 – 5 until you have 3 layers, ending the roasted vegetables on top.
7. Spoon more sauce over the top of the roasted vegetables
8. Sprinkle the topping over the entire top of the lasagna
9. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until bubbly and the topping is a deep golden brown
Let it cool for about 15 – 20 minutes before cutting and serving. The hot cheese and sauce will spread on the plate. Using a large serving spoon will make sure you get all the goodness that spreads out. Top with extra sauce if you wish and have it.
To freeze, let cool completely, refrigerate at least 3 hours to firm up. Then cut into portions and freeze the portions.
I hope you enjoy! I do every time I make it!