11 August 2011

Healthy Vegetable Lasagna

Yesterday, a huge cardboard box filled with fresh, organic vegetables arrived at my apartment. When I got home after work, my doorman (who now thinks I'm completely nuts), asked if I was the girl who'd had this 'box of salad' delivered. I was - I'd ordered the delivery from Farm Share Ltd (with a groupon, of course), which is a great organization that brings freshly harvested and locally grown crops into New York City. But sadly the timing wasn't great: my parents were coming up to the city over the weekend, which meant lots of meals out and not a whole lot of time (or reason) to cook. So rather than let any of the vegetables go to waste, I decided to make a vegetable lasagna. This recipe, a kind of amalgamation of the veggie lasagna recipes from this month's Cooks Illustrated and last January's Cooking Light, is easy, healthy and delicious. I replaced the heavy cream, butter, and oily pesto with part-skim ricotta, basil and garlic, and sprinkled fat-free mozzarella on top. Best of all, this lasagna freezes incredibly well. I cut mine up into 6 servings and froze them in individual freezer bags so that, in the future, all I'll have to do is grab a bag and defrost it for a fantastic, veggie-filled dinner. I love the combination of zucchini, eggplant, carrot and mushroom, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Peppers, onions, and yellow squash all taste great, too.

vegetable filling:
2 tsp olive oil
3/4 cup sliced mushroom
3/4 cup chopped zucchini
3/4 cup chopped eggplant
1/2 cup sliced carrot
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 24 oz bottle tomato pasta sauce (I used a tomato-basil variety)

cheese filling:
12 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tbsp fresh basil
salt and pepper, to taste

6 oz cooked lasagna noodles (I used whole wheat)

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Boil a large pot of water and cook noodles according to package directions
Remove from pot and reserve
Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat
Add veggies, garlic and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently
Add pasta sauce: bring to a boil, then simmer about 10 minutes
Remove from heat
Combine ingredients for cheese filling in a small bowl
In an 8 x 8 inch pan, spread 1/2 cup tomato mixture in bottom
Top with 4 or 5 noodles
Top with half of ricotta mixture
Repeat, ending with noodles, and sprinkle with mozzarella
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes
Uncover, and bake for another 20 minutes
Before slicing (to either serve or freeze), let stand 15-20 minutes

Serves 6
(large portions - picture below shows two)

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