A small flame

A small flame

the lasagna experiment {part 3}

I made a yummy lasagna today. It was meatless, super healthy, and easily translated into a gluten & grain-free lasagna for me. Also exciting, since I don't like to use my oven much in the summer, I made this one in my crock pot. Win, win, win ;o)






Veggie Lasagna

CARROT LAYER:

  • 16 ounces (2 1/2c) sliced carrots
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

SPINACH LAYER:
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper


ZUCCHINI LAYER:
  • 2-3 zucchini, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 2-1/2 cups marinara sauce
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 4 cups (16 ounces) part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 cups grated Parmesan cheese

  • Break lasagna noodles in half; boil for about 5 to 8 minutes, until just a little flexible. Drain and rinse with cold water for easier handling.

  • Cook carrots; drain and cool. In skillet, saute onion in butter until tender. In a food processor, puree the carrots, onion, ricotta, salt and pepper. In same skillet, saute shallots in oil until tender. In a food processor, puree the shallots, spinach, ricotta, egg, salt and pepper.

  • In a large skillet, cook eggplant and garlic in oil over medium heat in batches for 7-10 minutes or until tender; drain. Sprinkle with salt.

  • Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce in a greased crock pot. Layer with 4 noodles, then create layers with one of the veg mixtures, 1/2c sauce, 1 T basil, 1c mozzarella and 3/4c Parmesan. Repeat for each of the veggie layers.

  • Top with remaining sauce, basil, mozzarella and Parmesan.

Cover and cook on low for @ 4 1/2 hours.



GLUTEN/GRAIN-FREE option::

To make a portion of this lasagna for myself, I used a trick I've used often in the past. Zucchini, cut length-wise into lasagna 'noodles'. For this meal, I cooked the zucchini with garlic as the recipe directions said to, then layered them with the carrots, spinach, marinara sauce & cheese to make a small, fully-cooked lasagna. I warmed it up in the microwave right before we sat down for lunch and it was so yummy.

Other times when I've substituted zucchini for lasagna noodles, I have laid the raw strips out in a single layer and salted them. If you let them sit for a few minutes, the salt makes them sweat and you can gently squeeze them between a couple of paper towels. This makes the zucchini less watery. Then, just layer up the lasagna and bake as you would a regular lasagna. With all the flavors going on in lasagna, I hardly even notice the zucchini.




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