I grew up making a more traditional, meat-laden lasagna, but after my mom became a vegetarian and I became close to a long line of vegetarian friends, I had to start amending my recipe on occasion. Now I don’t really miss the meaty version, because this recipe for vegetable lasagna, which I’ve developed through trial and error over the years, is so damned satisfying.
2 boxes dry lasagna noodles
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped shallots
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 eggplant, thinly sliced
2 large cans of diced tomatoes
1 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. basil
½ tsp. thyme
2 bay leaves
1 lb. mozzarella
1 cup grated parmesan
1 ½ cups ricotta cheese
Let the sliced eggplant ‘weep’ their bitter juices out by arranging slices in a single layer, salting on both sides, and letting sit for 10-15 minutes. Then rinse slices and pat dry.
Heat olive oil in a saucepan and add shallots, then garlic. Let cook for 3-5 minutes, until shallots start to become translucent, then add the rest of the vegetables.
Let the vegetables cook until they begin to soften (5-8 minutes), then add canned tomatoes, oregano, basil, thyme, and bay leaves. Let simmer for at least 15 minutes.
Heat up a spaghetti pot of water with a pinch of salt, and boil pasta about halfway (4-5 minutes). While it’s boiling, mix the ricotta with the egg, half of the parmesan, and a sprinkle each of salt, pepper, and basil. Refrigerate the ricotta mixture until ready to use. Shred the mozzarella cheese and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large baking dish, start building the lasagna with a layer of sauce and vegetable mix. Top with a layer of noodles, then a layer of the ricotta cheese mixture, then a sprinkling of mozzarella. Repeat until you run out of noodles or reach the top of your baking dish, then top the final layer of noodles with sauce and the rest of your mozzarella. Sprinkle the remaining half cup of parmesan over the top.
Bake the lasagna until bubbly and starting to brown on the top, about 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.
Don’t forget to slice leftovers into single portions for easy freezing!