When I was younger, I came to a rather stark realization about lasagna. [Editor’s Note: What the author means is any lasagna that wasn’t her mom’s vegetable lasagna.] I was at a friend’s house and was invited to stay for dinner. Of course I said yes, and when dinner was served, I was over the moon. It was lasagna with a side of garlic bread. I dug in happily—and then, a flash of panic washed over me. There was something unusual in the lasagna: meat. For years, I believed that “lasagna” meant noodles, ricotta cheese, and some form of pasta sauce, and that it was vegetarian by definition. It wasn’t that my family was vegetarian: we simply never had meat in our pasta sauce.
To this day, I’m still a steadfast lover of vegetable lasagna. This dish is one of those “perfect for all occasions” recipes. I’ve made it when we’re having company over; on days when I want a solid week of leftovers to put in my husband’s packed lunch; and for my pregnant friends as a freezer meal for future use. (It’s a great gift!) I keep the layers fairly simple, and I try not to overdo it on the cheese. Lasagna is all about striking a balance between sauce, noodles, and filling.
When time permits I like to make lasagna from scratch—noodles, sauce, and all. Of course, that’s not always doable, and that’s when store-bought noodles and sauces come in handy.–Erin Alderson
LC Vegetable Lasagna For All Seasons Note
Easily bored? Can’t imagine making the same exact vegetable lasagna all year long? We understand. So does this crazily versatile vegetable lasagna recipe, which switches ingredients depending on what’s in seasonal abundance at any given point in the year. (Go on. Take a gander at the variations beneath the recipe.) And while we quite like the recipe and its variations as is, you can’t really go wrong when you instead simply roast whatever is in your CSA box, use it as the filling, and call it dinner.
Vegetable Lasagna for All Seasons
- Quick Glance
- 45 M
- 2 H
- Serves 9
- For the filling
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 to 5 cups (640 to 800 grams) cubed assorted vegetables (see suggested variations beneath the recipe)
- For the ricotta
- One 15-ounce container (420 grams) whole-milk ricotta
- 1 large egg white
- 1 tablespoon (2 grams) finely chopped oregano leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- For the assembly
- 3 cups (780 grams) simple tomato sauce or béchamel sauce (recipe follows)
- 1 box lasagna noodles or 1 batch homemade lasagna noodles
- 6 ounces (168 grams) shredded mozzarella cheese
- Make the filling
- 1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F (200˚C).
- 2. Toss together the olive oil, diced onion, and veggies in a roasting pan or on a rimmed baking sheet and spread in an even layer. Roast until tender, which ought to take 25 to 35 minutes, depending on the type and size of your vegetables.
- Make the ricotta
- 3. Whisk together the ricotta, egg white, oregano, and salt.
- Assemble the lasagna
- 4. Bring a pot of water to a boil so you can boil the lasagna noodles in batches as you assemble the lasagna. Meanwhile, spoon 1/2 cup tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9-by-9-inch pan. Boil 3 pasta noodles for 30 seconds and layer them on the sauce in the pan. Smear half the ricotta cheese mixture on the noodles, sprinkle with half the veggies, and top with roughly 1/3 the shredded cheese.
- 5. Repeat the process again with 1/2 cup tomato sauce, noodles that you just boiled for 30 seconds, the second half of the ricotta mixture, the second half of the vegetable mixture, and another 1/3 of the cheese. To finish, spread another 1/2 cup of tomato sauce, boil the remaining 3 noodles, and layer them on top, then cover with more tomato sauce and the remaining cheese. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and the tomato sauce is bubbling.
- 6. Let the lasagna rest at room temperature for at least a few minutes prior to slicing and serving.
- Béchamel Vegetable Lasagna
- To make the optional béchamel sauce to use in place of the tomato sauce, melt 1 tablespoon (1 ounce) butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add 1 small minced shallot and cook until fragrant and translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Whisk in 3 tablespoons (24 grams) all-purpose flour and cook, whisking or stirring constantly, for another minute. Slowly stir in 2 cups (480 milliliters) milk and heat until the béchamel has thickened, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat, add 4 ounces (112 grams) shredded mozzarella cheese, and stir until melted. Use the béchamel as you would the tomato sauce, sprinkling 2 ounces (56 grams) shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the lasagna.
- Spring Vegetable Lasagna
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced, and cook until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat, stir in 3 cups (120 grams) spinach, and gently toss to wilt the spinach a little. Make the Vegetable Lasagna recipe as directed, using the béchamel sauce instead of the tomato sauce and the fennel and spinach mixture as the filling.
- Summer Vegetable Lasagna
- Preheat the grill to medium-low heat. Trim the ends from 2 medium zucchini (12 ounces or 340 grams). Cut each zucchini in half horizontally and then take each half and slice it into 1/4-inch-thick (6-millimeter-thick) planks. Grill the zucchini planks until lightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove the zucchini from the grill and cut into small pieces. Make the Vegetable Lasagna recipe as directed, using the tomato sauce and the grilled zucchini as the filling.
- Fall Vegetable Lasagna
- Preheat the oven to 425˚F (220˚C). Toss 3 cups peeled and chopped butternut squash and 1 medium apple, peeled and chopped, with 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) olive oil and spread them in a single layer in a roasting pan or on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes and remove from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 400˚F (200˚C) and make the Vegetable Lasagna recipe as directed, substituting the squash and apple for the filling and using the béchamel sauce in place of the tomato sauce.
- Winter Vegetable Lasagna
- Peel and chop 1 large sweet potato. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the sweet potato, and cook until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and purée with 1 cup (235 milliliters) milk. Make the Vegetable Lasagna recipe as directed, using the sweet potato and milk purée in place of the milk in the béchamel sauce and omitting the other vegetables.