Vegetable Lasagna with Lentil Bolognese

Riddle me this batman, are there (or are there not) already enough lasagna recipes/cooking methods floating around the world as it is? Is there any reason whatsoever that you can think of for someone thinking they need to share their lasagna recipe when in all honesty, it’s already been done? I promise. And I’m sorry, but there is nothing unique or even slightly interesting about the way you (or anyone else) makes lasagna. It’s a “been there, done that” kind of thing. Am I right?

You’ve tasted one lasagna, you’ve tasted them all.

OK sure, some people add in some cottage cheese or an egg to their ricotta, or more basil than others … different tomatoes … sauce from scratch, sauce from a jar … Parmesan, Romano … blah, blah, blah. And sure, some are considerably more flavorful than others, but, as for needing yet another recipe to tell me how to layer pasta with sauce and cheese, ummmmm, no thank you. No ma’am.

BUT. This recipe … OMG. It’s out of this world different, like alien-different. And it’s almost vegan, gluten free and LOADED with goodness. No pasta in this lasagna, thank you very much. BUT. It’s also incredibly time consuming and isn’t what I would call a beginner’s recipe. All the same, it is down right rich, divine and delicious. Give it a try. Just make sure you plan ahead and or do some of the prep work the day before. Note, I Googled lentil Bolognese sauce and picked out what I liked the best and worked from there. I encourage you to do the same. Meaning add more or less of this or that and make it yours. Because that’s what lasagna is supposed to be. Am I right? Not some token “back of the pasta box” recipe. It should be your invention. And then you can tell people about it. We good? OK. Here you go … oh, and Happy National Lasagna Day : )

Almost Vegan Lasagna with Lentil Bolognese Sauce

PREP TIME: 1 hour plus | COOK TIME: 1 hour

  • Olive oil for cooking
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms of your choice, sliced
  • 4-5 TBS garlic, minced
  • 2-3 cups spinach, kale, chard or any combination
  • ½ tsp ground cumin (YES YOU NEED THIS!)
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ⅓ cup Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, sliced
  • 1 beet*, sliced
  • 2 large carrots*, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 16oz can Italian tomatoes, whole–but use scissors to roughly cut them
  • 6-8 slices fresh mozzarella, sliced thin

To make the lasagna:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle a few teaspoons of olive oil in a pan and saute onion, mushrooms and garlic over medium heat for about 5-6 minutes. Add the cumin and Italian seasoning and cook the greens until wilted then set aside. In another bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan (or Romano) with basil and egg and set aside. Place a small amount of oil in the bottom of your pan and add a layer of butternut squash. Next, add ⅓ of the mushrooms and greens, then a VERY thin layer of the ricotta followed with a VERY thin layer of the Italian tomatoes. Then continue layering the vegetables alternating as you wish, making sure you get two more thin layers of both the ricotta mixture and the tomatoes. When finished, lay the sliced mozzarella on top. Bake for 30 minutes. I suggest broiling for the last 2-3 minutes to brown the mozzarella cause I like it that way : )

*NOTE the first time I did this there was so much juice from the beets that it didn’t work out exactly as I’d planned. The next time, I roasted the beets and the carrots the day before and that worked much better. Just an option. Like I said, it’s time consuming.

For the lentil bolognese sauce:

  • Olive oil for cooking
  • 3-4 TBS garlic, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 8oz can Italian tomatoes, or 16 depending again on how think you want it
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1-2 cups wine, red or white depending on how hearty you want the sauce
  • 2 bay leafs
  • 2 TBS Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup cooked lentils

Saute garlic, celery, shallot, and carrot in olive oil for about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cut them with kitchen scissors while they are cooked. Add broth, half of the wine, bay leaves and seasoning. Simmer on low for 10 minutes before adding the lentils and the rest of the wine. Let simmer and reduce for about 20 minutes.

When ready to serve, ladle the sauce over the lasagna or serve on the side. Honestly, it’s so good on it’s own you’ll want extra for another night served over pasta, rice or even simply with a hunk of crusty bread. So delicious! Hope you enjoy this as much as we did : )

On Being a Flexitarian

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