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Sunday, June 01, 2014

All Veggie Lasagna - the Pictoral!

Utterly Delicious!
Last week, after making homemade cottage cheese (which you can find HERE), I mentioned one of my very favorite recipes that uses my luscious cheese.  It's an all-veggie lasagna (no meat OR pasta!).  A friend picked up on it and wanted the recipe, which I posted.

But, in doing that, I got a bit of a hankering for it and decided to make it for our family.  I thought you might like to see some pictures of it to get an idea of what I'm talking about!  Here's the recipe again:

Ingredients:

  • 2 Large Eggplants, sliced lengthways 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 Large Onion, diced
  • 4-6 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 4 Cups Shredded or Finely Diced Veggies of your choice (zucchini, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, sweet potato, kale, red/yellow/orange bell peppers, etc.--whatever you like) 
  • 2 Cups Fresh Spinach, cut into 1/4 ribbons
  • 2 Large Tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • Either 1 Jar Prepared Spaghetti Sauce PLUS 1 Large Can Crushed Italian Tomatoes
  • OR 2 Large Cans Crushed Italian Tomatoes, plus 1 Small Can Tomato Paste AND 1-2 Teaspoons Italian Seasoning (to taste)
  • 2 Cups Ricotta or Cottage Cheese (homemade is almost a cross between the two, so is PERFECT!)
  • 2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Parmesan
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • Salt to Taste
  • Non-stick Cooking Spray (I use a 100% Olive Oil or 100% Coconut Oil spray)

Method:

Minced Garlic infusing Olive Oil!
  • Mince your garlic first and then put in a cup with olive oil.  Stir well and set aside to infuse.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine jarred sauce and crushed tomatoes or the 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and Italian Seasoning to taste
  • Heat to a low simmer and leave while preparing other ingredients
  • Slice your eggplant into 1/8 inch strips, lengthways (these will be your 'pasta')
  • Lightly brush each side of your strips with garlic oil
  • Grill, broil, or BBQ until slightly charred, but not mushy
  • Remove to a plate to cool
  • Dice or shred your preferred veggies (I shred things like zucchini, carrot and sweet potato and dice things like broccoli, mushrooms and peppers) and set aside
  • Thinly slice your tomato and set aside
  • Mix your ricotta/cottage cheese with your Parmesan and a pinch of salt, set aside
  • Place whatever garlic oil you have left in a pan and saute your onions until translucent and starting to brown lightly
  • Add your shredded spinach and saute until just wilted, but not disintegrated
  • Grate your mozzarella and set aside
  • Spray a large baking pan with cooking spray
  • Ladle sauce into the bottom just to cover
  • Begin with a layer of eggplant strips - use 1/3 of what you have
  • Spoon half of your luscious spinach mixture over your eggplant and spread evenly
  • Then add two cups of your shredded/diced veggies, either mixed or in layers, spread evenly
  • Dot 1 Cup of the ricotta/cottage cheese mixture around the layer
  • Top with 1/3 of the sauce mixture
  • Sprinkle 1/2 cup of mozzarella on
  • Repeat with the next layer
  • Finish with another layer of eggplant
  • Top with remaining sauce
  • Sprinkle last cup of mozzarella on top
  • Bake at 375 degrees until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly, about 40 minutes
You can vary this all you like, too. . .sometimes I add meat (Italian sausage, ground beef or turkey, etc.), but it works just fine without!

Saute Onions and Garlic in your remaining Olive Oil

Then add your spinach until just barely wilted

Layer all your veggies and cheese

Use any kind of veggies you like.  End with eggplant, sauce, and cheese

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