Monday, August 1, 2011

Roasted Veggie Lasagna (meatless and gluten-free)

Oh my. This dish had us fighting over leftovers- even my 9, 6, 3 and 1 year old munchkins were clamoring over my plate for the last bite!
I got an eggplant in my produce basket and a zucchini from my neighbor this week. I do pretty well with either- never at a shortage for zucchini love, but eggplant can be tricky to get kids to eat more than a bite of. It was a rainy evening and this mama needed some comfort food, but as there isn't much pasta to be found in my house these days, and ricotta is almost never in my fridge, so a traditional lasagna was out of the question.
Here is what I came up with. It's time-consuming and a little complicated, but so worth it! You could probably very deliciously substitute extra zucchini if you lack an eggplant. I'm all for wingin' it!

Roasted Veggie Lasagna

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 large carrot or 5-6 baby carrots, diced or grated
1/2 red pepper, seeded and diced
2-3 large white mushrooms, diced
3-4 large cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
Sea salt and black pepper according to preference
1 4 oz can tomato paste
1 cup water
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
2 tbsp neufchatel cheese (or cream cheese)

Heat oil over medium heat in medium large pot. Add onion, celery, carrots, red pepper, mushrooms and garlic. Saute over medium heat until onions start to soften. Turn heat to low, add herbs and salt and pepper. Cover and let simmer until carrots and celery are soft (about 10-15 minutes). Add tomato paste, water, tomato sauce and cream cheese. Combine well, allow to simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes. Add salt and pepper according to taste. (You could add a big handful or fresh chopped spinach to this- I meant to and forgot, but it would be delicious.)

While your sauce ingredients soften and simmer, you can get to work on your "noodles".

1 large eggplant
1 large or 2 med/small zucchini
Olive oil cooking spray
Sea salt and pepper

Wash zucchini and eggplant well and slice lengthwise in 1/4 inch slices. I used a hot cast iron pan for this "roasting" part, but a grill or grill pan would work well too.
Spray pan lightly with olive oil and heat to medium high heat. Salt and pepper your eggplant and zucchini and lay them out in a flat layer on the pan and cook until browned on either side and softened (as many as will fit- you'll have to rotate them through as they finish cooking until you get them all done). Set aside on a plate as you get them finished.

Creamy part:
No lasagna is complete without the creamy part. I didn't have ricotta or cottage cheese on hand- you could use these if you do happen to have them.
1-1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp sea salt
black pepper
Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Time to bring it together:
You'll need about 3 cups of shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese to glue this baby together. Oh- and a little extra Parmesan too.

Preheat oven to *400˚F. Spray a 9x13 casserole dish lightly with cooking spray. Spread a few spoonfuls of sauce on the bottom of the pan and lay out a layer of eggplant. Cover with creamy mixture, then red sauce (be generous), then mozzarella. Follow this up with zucchini- lay it out so that the 'noodles' touch and cover the entire surface. Then add creamy stuff, sauce, cheese and more eggplant. Creamy stuff, sauce, cheese, etc. alternating zucchini and eggplant layers until you run out of components or pan space. be sure to finish the top with sauce and cheese. Sprinkle top generously with some extra Parmesan. Bake at 400˚ for 30-35 minutes- until cheese is browned, lasagna is set and sauce is bubbly. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Meatless yet filling, gluten-free yet comforting.

Love on a plate.

*I started this for about 20 minutes at 375 and then bumped it up to 400. But I think 400 the entire time would work great.

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