Results may vary.
Item not as pictured.
And...the *not* so pretty.
Even after a 30-minute post-oven wait, this lasagna is still a bit on the loose side. Oozy food tends to not photograph well. After an overnight chill, however, it slices much prettier but still lacks the vibrant coloring of the magazine cover version (I've been making the original version since 2004, and my previous attempts at the recipe always yielded more colorful results).
For today's edition of Meatless Fridays, I'm merging my two favorite lasagna recipes: Pioneer Woman's "The Best Lasagna Ever" and Better Homes & Gardens' "Mile High Lasagna Pie." The former boasts an impressive 2.5 lbs. of meat and massive amounts of cheese, while the latter is vegetarian all the way. In this mosty tasty creation, I've swapped out all that meat for a bounty of vegetables: carrots, zucchini, spinach, and mushrooms. This one fills a 9x13x2-inch casserole TO THE BRIM, so use caution and place a foil-lined baking sheet under it--just in case. To my delight, it didn't overflow. This time. You've been warned. One more thing: yes, this IS one of those recipes that dirties every dish, pot, and pan you own...
Vegetable Lasagna (Serves 10-12)
29 oz. can crushed tomatoes
12 oz. can tomato paste
2 Tbl. dried parsley
2 Tbl. dried basil
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
8 lasagna noodles
2 Tbl. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1½ cups finely chopped carrot
2 c. finely chopped zucchini
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
12 oz. fresh baby spinach (I've used frozen before, depending on cost)
3 cups lowfat cottage cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup grated Parmesan
2 Tbl. dried parsley
1 tsp. salt
1 lb. mozzarella cheese (sliced or grated)
additional grated Parmesan for the top
In a large saucepan, combine crushed tomatoes (undrained), tomato paste, 2 Tablespoons parsley, basil, salt, pepper, onion powder, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil lasagna noodles according to package directions.
Heat 1 Tbl. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots, zucchini, and HALF of the minced garlic. Cook and stir about 8 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Transfer vegetables to a bowl and wipe skillet clean.
Heat remaining 1 Tbl. olive oil in same skillet; add mushrooms and remaining garlic. Cook and stir about 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and their liquid has been released and evaporated. Gradually add spinach to skillet. Cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Remove with a slotted spoon to another bowl, making sure to drain well.
In a medium bowl, mix cottage cheese, beaten eggs, grated Parmesan, 2 more Tablespoons parsley, and 1 more teaspoon salt. Stir together well and set aside until time for assembly.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9x13" baking dish with non-stick spray. Arrange 4 cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of pan, overlapping if necessary. Spoon half the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles. Spread evenly. Cover cottage cheese with half the mozzarella cheese. Spoon spinach mixture on top of mozzarella, then cover with half of the tomato sauce. Repeat layers using carrot/zucchini mixture, and ending with sauce. Sprinkle top generously with extra Parmesan.
Bake in 350°F oven for 40-45 minutes (PW recommends 20-30 minutes, but this is never enough for mine), or until top is hot and bubbly. Let stand 20 minutes before slicing and serving.