What a way to get your veggie fix!! Layers of roasted vegetables, spinach and ricotta, and a homemade tomato lasagna sauce, this Vegetarian Lasagna is one of those foods that is fantastic made fresh and reheats extremely well. It’s Meat Free for Carnivores!
It is hard to top an epic, meat lasagna made with layers of slow cooker ragu, topped with béchamel sauce and oodles of cheese. But if there’s anything that can give it a run for its money, it’s this Vegetarian Lasagna.
This from a self confessed meat lover – that’s a big statement!!
But this is so much more than just the usual vegetable lasagna. It’s the roasted vegetables – hands down, roasting brings out better flavour in vegetables than any other method of cooking (except maybe char grilling). It’s that spinach and ricotta layer. I’m a sucker for spinach and ricotta anything, but woah when you have with those roasted veggies, that homemade lasagna sauce and layers of lasagna sheets…
It’s so good. SO GOOD. There are no words. (And regular readers know what a carnivore I am!)
VEGETABLES FOR VEGETARIAN LASAGNA
I used pumpkin, zucchini and onion as my roasted veggies, but feel free to use whatever you have / want. Anything roastable is fine, just chop it so it cooks in the same time. I cut mine pretty chunky because otherwise they cook too quickly in the oven – I like to roast veggies for at least 20 minutes minimum to get the maximum benefit of caramelisation.
Also, my “special ingredient” – Roasted Red Peppers! Basically, it’s capsicum / bell peppers that have been fire roasted so they have that gorgeous smokey flavour. It’s sweet, soft and slippery and it adds an awesome extra dimension to this lasagna. Yep, I take the easy route and buy it in a jar but if you’re a keen bean, make your own!
Vegetarian lasagna is made for serving fresh out of the oven, but it’s also one of those dishes that are terrific the next day. The flavour of those roasted veggies and that spinach ricotta layer develop overnight, and just a quick reheat in the microwave is all that’s required to bring it back to the original molten state.
So, fellow Carnivores. Have I convinced you to give this a go??? 😜 – Nagi x
Layered with roasted vegetables, spinach and ricotta, a homemade sauce and as much cheese as you see fit, this big batch vegetarian lasagna reheats brilliantly. Epic meat-free food for carnivores! Recipe VIDEO below.
- 500 g / 1 lb pumpkin , 2cm / 4/5" cubes
- 2 large zucchinis , cut into 2cm / 4/5" chunks
- 2 onions (any type) , cut into wedges
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- Salt and pepper
- 250 g / 8 oz frozen chopped spinach , thawed
- 500 g / 1 lb ricotta (Note 2)
- 1/2 cup / 50 g grated parmesan (or 3/4 cup shredded cheese)
- 1 egg
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 1/8 tsp grated nutmeg, optional (fresh or powder)
- 1/2 tsp each Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 small onion , finely chopped (any, I use brown)
- 700 g / 24 oz tomato passata (Note 3)
- 400 g / 14 oz crushed tomato
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml water
- 3/4 tsp each dried thyme and oregano (or basil, parsley)
- 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (can omit / adjust to taste)
- Salt and pepper
- 330g / 11 oz jar roasted red pepper strips, drained (Note 4)
- 375 g / 13 oz fresh lasagne sheets (Note 5)
- 300 g / 3 cups shredded mozzarella (or MORE!)
Preheat oven to 200C/390F.
Place vegetables on the tray, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with garlic, salt and pepper. Toss.
Roast for 25 minutes, turning at 15 minutes, until tender and browned.
Remove from oven, loosen from tray with spatula while warm (can stick when cools).
Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion, cook for 3 minutes until golden.
Add passata, crushed tomato, water, dried herbs, chilli, salt and pepper. Stir. Simmer on medium low heat for 20 minutes. Adjust salt at the end. *Add a teeny touch of sugar if it's a bit sour, depends on quality of tomatoes used.*
Remove from stove and let cool for 5 minutes before using.
Place ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined.
Preheat oven to 160C/320F.
Spread a ladle of tomato sauce on the base of a large baking dish (Note 5).
Cover with lasagna sheets, tearing as required to fit.
Top with roasted vegetables, scatter over red peppers. Spoon over 2 1/2 cups of Sauce, then sprinkle with half the cheese.
Cover with lasagna sheets. Spread over Ricotta mixture.
Cover with lasagna sheets. Pour over remaining sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until the cheese is golden. If using dried lasagna sheets, stick a knife in the middle to ensure it's cooked - if it needs longer, cover and stick it back in the oven.
Rest for 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Store leftovers per notes - brilliant reheated!
1. Veggies - feel free to use any vegetables you want, just cut them so they roast in around 20 to 25 minutes. Cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, squash are some I've used in the past.
Pumpkin: 600g/1.2lb unpeeled weight.
2. It's best to get ricotta over the counter at the deli, even at supermarkets, rather than buying in tubs unless it's a brand you know is good like Paesanella. Harris Farms brand ricotta is also good. I find ricotta in tubs at supermarkets is typically grainy and kind of powdery - even the "big" brands (like Perfect Italiano).
3. Tomato passata (called Tomato Puree in America) is pureed tomato, just plain tomato with no flavourings. It is so good for making sauces like this because it's smooth ie no tomato lumps. It comes in tall bottles and is the same price as canned tomato (by weight). Found in the pasta aisle of supermarkets in Australia - it's becoming increasingly popular. I like to use a combination of passata and crushed tomato for for texture and flavour.
If you can't find passata, use the same weight of crushed tomato.
AMERICA: A reader has told me that Tomato Puree is sold in the canned tomato section. What you call Tomato Sauce is a good substitute if you can't find passata. But remember to taste your sauce before adding salt into the sauce as Tomato Sauce already has a touch of seasoning.
4. I really love using roasted red peppers in this for sweetness and extra flavour dimension - the smokey flavour is so good! I use Always Fresh. You could just add chopped capsicum / bell peppers to the roasted vegetables.
5. LASAGNA SHEETS: I like using fresh lasagne sheets sold in the fridge section. If you can only get dried, prepare per packet directions. In Australia, some dried lasagna sheets do not need pre cooking before layering in the lasagna ("Instant Lasagna" or "No Cook").
Difference between fresh and dried lasagna sheets - I prefer fresh (or dried lasagna required to be cooked before layering) because it doesn't absorb liquid while cooking so the lasagna stays really nice and saucy. If using dried instant lasagne, add an extra 1/4 cup of water into your sauce (because the lasagne sheets absorb liquid while cooking). Also I find that lasagna made with dried instant lasagna sheets usually end up with a buckled surface, but doesn't affect flavour.
SUB: Believe it or not, tortillas make an excellent substitute for lasagna sheets!
6. My baking pan is 33 x 22 x 7 cm / 13 x 9 x 2.5".
7. STORAGE: This keeps so well in both the fridge and freezer. Cool before covering, then refrigerate or freeze. Defrost before warming. I just reheat in the microwave, but you can also reheat in the oven.
If making ahead to eat later, I would recommend not topping with cheese. Cover and bake for 25 minutes to bring the flavours together. Cool, then top with cheese, cover and refrigerate or freeze. Defrost if frozen, then cover and reheat in the oven for about 30 minutes at 160C/320F, then remove cover just to brown the cheese (it takes longer to reheat than cooking fresh because it's so dense, whereas making it fresh, the ingredients are warm / hot).
8. Nutrition per serving, assuming 10 servings.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
LIFE OF DOZER
“So, have you packed for Japan yet?”, my friend asked earlier this week.
“Nope,” I responded. “I never pack until the night before.” Because the sight of a suitcase reduces Dozer to this: