More than 2 years ago, I had posted a recipe of Vegetable Lasagna which was more of my own experiment. This time I am back with another recipe which was given to me by my friend Cindy.
About 1 year ago, Cindy had invited us for a lunch at her place. Though she usually prepares meat dishes, she made vegetarian food for us. She knew I am a lasagna lover, so she made this for me. I became an instant fan. On my request, she sent me the recipe. Somehow, I never got to try this until recently.
Llast month, one of my colleagues asked me if I can make vegetable lasagna. He wanted to bring lasagna for our entire group. But he didn’t know how to make vegetarian version. We have about 4-5 vegetarians in the group. Since I had not tried it for more than 2 years, I wasn’t very sure if I can pull it off.
So first I made a small batch with Cindy’s recipe. It came out fantastic. Next, I made a whole batch for our group. I asked for some tips to get a beautiful top. Thanks to my friends, colleague and internet resources, I could make a very nice lasagna. Even the meat eaters in the group enjoyed it. It got over in minutes, I wish I had made a bigger batch. Soon, within one week, I made it once more for us. This recipe is a keeper.
The original recipe called for unpeeled eggplant. But sometimes eggplants have a slight bitter taste near the peels. So one of my batches turned slightly bitter(the one when I took these pictures). So I am going to peel it hereafter. The canned tomatoes make a lot of difference due to their concentrated flavor.
Things to improve : Next time, I need to mix the ricotta cheese very well with other cheeses before spreading it. I was getting impatient, so didn’t take time to mix well. Also, I need to wait till the lasagna cools down before digging into it(you can tell that from the above picture. I could not wait until it reached room temperature) :).
4 cups eggplant, peeled & diced
2 cups yellow squash, unpeeled & diced
2 cups zuchini, unpeeled & diced
1 cup chopped onion
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
28 ounces crushed canned tomatoes
12 ounces tomato canned paste
1 tsp sugar
3 tea spn chopped fresh basil or 1 tea spn dred basil
2 tea spn fresh oregano leaves or about 1/2 tea spn dried oegano
15 ounces ricotta cheese, part skim milk (I used low fat version)
2 cups mozzarella cheese, part skim milk, shredded
1 large egg, beaten (I did not use it)
9 lasagna noodles, cooked
2 tbl spn grated Parmesan cheese
In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add eggplant, zuchini, squash, onions and garlic. Cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until eggplant is tender.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In another bowl, stir together both tomato paste and crushed tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt and the sugar, basil and oregano.
Combine ricotta, mozzarella, egg(if using), 1 teaspoon salt and the parmesan in large bowl.
Bring water to boil in large saucepan, Add salt and cook noodles.
Putting everything together:
Spray the 9 x 13-inch baking sheet with a little cooking spray(optional). Spoon 1/3rd eggplant sauce in the baking dish. Layer with 3 lasagna noodles and 1/3rd tomato mixture, 1/3rd cheese mixture. Repeat layers until all layers are finished. Sprinkle with Parmesan and some mozzarella cheese. Cover the baking dish with a silver foil (poke 2-3 small holes to the silver foil) and for 30 to 40 minutes, until all cheese melts. Take out, discard the silver foil and bake again for about 1-2mins. Take out from oven and keep rest it for about 1hr before cutting into it.
Refrigerate remaining lasagna. Next day, it becomes much more easier to cut.
Preparation time : 90mins