Two things have surfaced in this blog of late:
- The bride’s awareness of the medicinal/health value of herbs
- My own creativity in loading more and more life-saving produce into my cooking.
Both came into play for dinner last night with vegetarian lasagna.
The whole idea is something of an abberation for me. Lasagna is really my first recipe. I didn’t make Nonie’s. I crafted my own and let it evolve. For more than two decades it has been the go-to-meal for company when I want to impress without the in-the-moment fuss. Plus, I’ve seen the reaction of maybe 100 people who have tried it. Unless some were great actors, I can say 100 out of 100 love it. It’s became a not-so-secret pride. A lot of people tout their lasagna. I smirk. I secretly wish things like a Lasagna cook-off at the county fair existed knowing I’d take the blue ribbon every time.
If our kids have a “family” meal, they’d likely all say lasagna.
So I don’t like to mess with it.
But in the spirit of the aforementioned two areas of focus and the prompting of the bride to mix it up for her class, I relented. I changed my lasagna to a vegetarian lasagna for a one-night, impromptu test kitchen.
I was flying without net, and it didn’t suck.
Who doesn’t love the sight of a big pile of coarse-chopped basil?
If you’re trying to work more produce in your meals, use this recipe. If you want the medicinal value of excellent herbs like garlic and basil, then you get a double bonus with this one.
If you simply want to eat some great food with not too much hassle, well, it’s a grand slam. Enjoy.
Roasted Vegetarian Lasagna
- 16 oz. Ricotta cheese
- 1 Eggplant, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
- 1 red pepper sliced long
- 1 green pepper sliced long
- about 6 cloves of garlic, roasted
- About half a bundle of basil – coarse chop
- 10-12 sage leaves – fine chop
- chopped Italian parsley – coarse chop
- half a block of cream cheese – softened
- 1/2 a cup of bread crumbs
- 1 cup of grated asiago cheese
- grated Parmesan cheese
- Effin Artist marinara sauce (or recipe of your choice)
- Coat all the vegetables with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and chili powder (optional).
- Grill the eggplants and peppers until slightly blackened and roasted (or roast on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes). Onions optional (I love them, the Bride doesn’t, hence no onions).
- Remove and dice the peppers.
- Mix the ricotta and the cream cheese with the sage leaves, diced roasted garlic and the bread crumbs — smoosh with your hands until combined.
- In an 8×8 pan coat the bottom with sauce. Layer eggplants as the base. Spread the cheese mixture on top of the eggplant. Sprinkle the peppers. Add a layer of the coarse basil and parsley.
- Repeat the above if your pan isn’t close to full, but one layer is usually enough.
- Cover with sauce, top thickly with asiago and sprinkle over that with parm. *(tip: I’d dust in some more bread crumbs to soak up the moisture from the ricotta and vegetables).
- Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes and serve with Effin Artist Garlic Bread and hot-pan, quick sauteed green beans.