This is a great recipe because you can change it up in as many ways as you want. If you don’t like some or all of the veggies that I have included here, you can substitute for whatever you do like (I’ll even give some tips on how at the end).
Experimenting with cooking makes it so much more fun –and I always recommend getting your kids/partner/friends involved too!
(unless you want to get really crazy..)
– 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
– 1 package lasagna noodles (I use no-boil but I’ve heard it doesn’t matter)
– 42 oz (2 standard jars) Tomato Sauce – Any “flavor” you like
– 1 egg
– 16 oz Ricotta Cheese
– 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
– 10 oz fresh Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced (1 cup of the shredded stuff from a bag is OK if you can’t find it fresh)
(see below for tips on substitutions)
– 2 lbs zucchini, thinly sliced into 1/4 inch ribbons
– 10 oz frozen spinach (thaw and really smush the moisture out)
– 5 oz frozen corn
– 1 medium onion, diced
– 1 Bell Pepper, diced (color of your choice)
– Preheat oven to 375
– Put a large pot of salted water on high to boil
– Thaw and drain frozen spinach (really press the moisture out as much as you can)
– Wash, slice, and dice vegetables and cheeses
– Once the water is boiling, add zucchini strips and blanch (fancy word for ‘boil real quick’) 3 or 4 minutes, stirring gently, until slightly softened and nearing translucence. Carefully remove from water and lay the strips out to dry on paper towels.
– Saute onion and pepper with 1 Tbsp Olive Oil until just barely softened, about 5-7 minutes on medium-high heat. (Feel free to cook longer, I like a little crunch left in mine..)
– In a medium bowl, beat the egg slightly and then stir in ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan, drained spinach, corn, peppers and onions, and add some salt and pepper
– In a 9 x 13 inch pan, pour and spread 1 cup of your tomato sauce.
– Cover the sauce with a layer of noodles followed by a layer of 1/4 of your ricotta mixture and then 1/4 of your zucchini strips.
– Repeat this 3 more times: layering 1 cup sauce, noodles, 1/4 ricotta mixture, and 1/4 zucchini.
– Add a final layer of noodles and all the remaining sauce and cover with mozzarella cheese
– Cover with parchment paper and then foil (this keeps your cheese from sticking to the roof!)
– Bake for 30 minutes covered.
– Remove from oven and uncover, sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and return to oven for 20 more minutes uncovered.
– Let cool about 10 or 15 minutes before digging in (sorry!)
Tips on Substitutions:
– Get creative! You can use whatever veggie you want, all you need to do is make sure its going to cook all the way through once its in the oven and isn’t going to release TONS of water and make your lasagna too soggy — don’t worry, its not too complicated.
– Canned and frozen vegetables are great because they often come pre-cooked, all you’ll need to do is drain them well and make sure they are cut in small-enough pieces. (The smaller the pieces, the more you can jam in there!!)
– Fresh veggies can easily be sauteed in a pan or roasted in the oven briefly with a little dab of olive oil, just to soften them up a bit and release some water – you might also squeeze out some extra moisture after you cook them just to be safe. If you have questions about how to prepare specific veggies for this, just ask me! I’m happy to help you figure out what needs to be done!
– I want to be able to tell you how many cups of vegetables you should have overall, but I’m really not sure. My guesstimate would be somewhere between 3-5 cups but as I continue to experiment I will promise to update this recipe. My policy is to always have too much rather than too little because you can always save extra materials for some other future meal.
– Black Olives
– Yellow Squash
– Artichoke hearts
– Green Beans
– Winter Squash (acorn, butternut, spaghetti)
Any other suggestions?
Have you tried it? I want to hear about your creations!
As I said, please feel free to ask me questions about this – its really hard to write down everything about a recipe that can be played with in so many different ways..
I have to give credit to Martha Stewart because so much of the inspiration for this recipe I’m posting comes from her resources.