Cooking With Confidence
Good and healthy!
Economical, Main Dishes, Pasta, Stuffing Stuff, Vegetarian

Veggie Lasagna

by Nick

I’ll say this much: The Italians knew the magical formula to making amazing food. Turns out you can layer anything between layers of pasta, marinara sauce, and cheese, and it will be delicious. I love a lasagna with meat in it, but for a lighter change during these summer months, I thought I would substitute some fresh vegetables for the protein.

I really liked the vegetables as a substitute. Veggie lasagna is awesome.

In my opinion, and I’m a quarter Italian(!), there are three important steps to making a really good lasagna: 1) Use really good ingredients. 2) Don’t overcook your pasta. In fact, undercook it slightly. 3) Be mindful of the water content in your dish. The last thing you want is a watery lasagna.

It’s that third thing that causes problems when making a veggie lasagna. Vegetables are mostly water and if you just throw them into a lasagna, it is going to be a huge sloppy mess. We’ll take care of that though!

Yield
Makes 13x9 pan.
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Vegetable Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 16 ounce package of lasagna
  • 8 ounces fresh ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces mozzarella
  • 2-4 ounces Parmesan, freshly grated. Use the good stuff.
  • 1 medium squash
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Quick marinara sauce:
  • 28 ounces canned tomatoes
  • A few sprigs of fresh basil (and maybe some oregano if you have it). You could use dried, but fresh is best.
  • 1/2 onion, diced and lightly sauteed
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Helpful Equipment

Directions

1) To make the marinara, you have four choices:
a) Drain the can of tomatoes and add them to a blender with the herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper. Lightly sauté the onions and add to mixture. Then give it a buzz. If the marinara is too watery, just pour it into a saucepan for a few minutes and reduce it down.

b) The opposite way to do this works just as well – sauté all of the ingredients together and then blend them up!

c) If fact, if you wanted you don’t need to blend these up at all. You’re sauce will be a bit more rustic, but you can just cook all the ingredients together for a few minutes and then mush everything together and you’ll have a nice looking marinara.

d) Use store bought marinara.

2) Chop up mozzarella into cubes and mix it into the ricotta.

3) Wash veggies and then chop off both ends. Slice them about 1/8 of an inch thin. If you have a mandolin then this will be really easy.

4) Once all the veggies are sliced, lay them out on a sheet pan and sprinkle them with a little olive oil and salt.

5) Roast all the veggies (zucchini, squash, and eggplant) for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. The eggplant might need another five minutes. Also, you might want to flip the veggies half way through.

6) Cook the pasta according to instructions on the package.

7) Spread a few tablespoons of sauce into the bottom of the pan and lay out a few noodles lengthwise.

8) Lay down all the eggplant slices, more sauce, and then about 1/3 of the cheese mixture.

9) Add another layer of noodles, more sauce, and then artistically arrange the zucchini and squash.

10) After the veggies, add some more sauce, another layer of noodles (yes three noodle layers!), more sauce, the last 1/3 of the cheese and then finally grate some of that lovely Parmesan on top.

11) Hit the top with a good pinch of Kosher salt and pepper.

12) Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees or until it’s bubbling and the cheese is just starting to brown.

13) Make sure to let this cool for 5-10 minutes before chopping into it. It will be very hot. Serve it with some freshly chopped parsley.

Making the marinara

This marinara is pretty easy to pull together. Drain your can of tomatoes and add them to a blender with your herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper. Lightly saute your onions and add those to the party also. Then give it a buzz.

If your marinara is too watery, just pour it into a sauce pan for a few minutes and reduce it down. Mine was definitely too watery, but after literally 5 minutes in a pan, it was the perfect consistency. The opposite way to do this works just as well – saute all of your ingredients together and then blend them up!

If fact, if you wanted you don’t need to blend these up at all. You’re sauce will be a bit more rustic, but you can just cook all your ingredients together for a few minutes and then mush everything together and you’ll have a nice looking marinara.

Marinara sauce

I make the lasagna. It’s takes… not all day.

Preparing the cheese mixture

This is pretty easy, but I like to chop up my mozzarella into cubes and mix it into the ricotta. That makes it easy to drop onto the lasagna later.

The veggies

These guys are really the star of the show though.

Vegetables.

See the layers?

Wash them and then chop off both ends. Slice them about 1/8 of an inch thin. If you have a mandolin then this will be really easy. If you don’t (like me) just be careful not to slice your finger off please. It’s really okay if the slices are not perfectly even. Once all the veggies are sliced, lay them out on a sheet pan and sprinkle them with a little olive oil and salt.

Roast all the veggies (zucchini, squash, and eggplant) for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. The eggplant might need another five minutes. Also, you might want to flip your veggies half way through. Why roast these guys? Well, it pulls out some of the moisture which will help your lasagna not become too watery later.

Roasting veggies

Roast these up.

Cooking your pasta

Basically, just cook your pasta according to instructions on the package. It’s better to under-cook the pasta by a minute than over-cook by a minute. It will continue to cook a bit in the oven when it’s everything.

Making the lasagna!

Finally, the moment of truth! As an aside, it may seem like a lot of different parts, but each really only takes a few minutes. My Italian grandmother will tell you that taking the time to make sure each part of this dish is made properly really makes the final version shine.

If you wanted to take one shortcut, you could use canned marinara instead of making your own. But don’t tell my Grandmother!

To start, spread a few tablespoons of sauce into the bottom of your pan and lay out a few noodles lengthwise. If you have a few broken ones, that’s okay. you can piece them back together. The lasagna police will not bust in your door.

Layering lasagna

Layer 1. Sauce and noodles.

After your noodles, lay down all your eggplant slices, more sauce, and then about 1/3 of your cheese mixture. If your eggplant doesn’t all fit… MAKE IT FIT!

Cheese and eggplant

Layer 2. Eggplant. Sauce. Cheese.

Then another layer of noodles, more sauce, and then artistically arrange your zucchini and squash. Ok. You don’t have to do it artistically, but just get them all in there.

More veggies.

Layer 3. Noodles. Sauce. Veggies.

After your veggies, add some more sauce, another layer of noodles (yes three noodle layers!), more sauce, the last 1/3 of your cheese and then finally grate some of that lovely Parmesan on top.

Hit the top with a good pinch of Kosher salt and pepper!

More cheese.

Layer 4! Noodles. Sauce. And more cheese of course.

Thirty minutes. 400 degrees. Or until it’s bubbling and the cheese is just starting to brown.

Vegetable lasagna baked.

Whoa.

Make sure to let this cool for 5-10 minutes before chopping into it. It will be very hot. I like to serve it with some freshly chopped parsley, but that’s kind of unnecessary.

Vegetable lasagna

I never thought I would say this, but who needs meat?

This is definitely one of those dishes that pays dividends to the single guy (my girlfriend is in Atlanta for the summer). I was able to eat it for many meals and it is great for either lunch or dinner. Also, it tastes just as good, if not better, reheated than it did on day one.

Give it a shot the next time you are in the mood for lasagna!

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17 comments on “Veggie Lasagna

  1. You made a great point about the water content of the veggies. I wouldn’t have thought of that until AFTER I had a soppy mess! Nice job on the photography too!

  2. I’ve been making something very much like this without noodles for the past month and it is fantastic for summer. Also great for keeping carbs down if that is a concern. Even my wife, who doesn’t like lasagna, asked for seconds and took leftovers for lunch the next day. As far as the water content of the veggies, I have been slicing them and letting them sit with heavy salt for about an hour than rinsing. Might try the roasting for next time. I just found your blog and am digging it.

  3. @Andrea I really like Newman's brand marinara. It's great.

    You don't have to blend it though if you make your own. Just cook everything down and add about 1/2 cup of water (or wine) and it will simmer down to a rustic sauce ;)

  4. A friend of mine adds crumbled tofu to the cheese mixture in her lasagna. I was a little skeptical about adding the tofu until I tried her lasagna….it was great! You can’t even tell that the Tofu is in there b/c it takes on the same consistancy as cooked Ricotta.
    This is a good way to sneak Tofu into meals for people that don’t necessarily like it (like my husband & kids)

  5. Thanks for the recipe! I was about to look for one online. Looks delicious! Is there a canned marinara you’d recommend if we don’t have a blender to make our own/are too lazy? :)

  6. I'm vegetarian and I have trouble thinking up awesome things to eat with lots of veggies… I usually add spinach to lasagna but I will try squash next time as it's my favorite summertime veggie :)

  7. Hey Nick, Thanks for the info! I made the lasagna last night for my mom and a group of friends and it was a smashing success. It was probably the best lasagna I've made. I didn't even use the most expensive ingredients because I'm a poor college kid. Highly recommend to everyone!

  8. That’s an awesome recipe, Nick. I’m looking forward to trying it.
    Do you (or does anyone else) have any suggestions for “fake meat” ingredients for lasagna? I’ve found that veggie chorizo is a great pizza topping, but I dont’ think it will work as well in lasagna. I’ve tried veggie italian sausage, but it pales in comparison once you’ve spent 30 years eating real italian sausage. If nothing else, I might try adding chopped walnuts.
    Also, how would you introduce spinach to this recipe???

    1. I haven’t eaten real sausage for years but for lasagna I make a “sausage” from mushrooms – finely chopped and mixed with some crushed red pepper, fennel seed, salt and pepper. I recently posted a recipe using this – one of the young dinner guests loved the “sausage lasagna”! If you want to put spinach in I would mix it in with the cheese.

      Having said all this, the veggies in this lasagna look beautiful and I love the photos. Great post!

  9. Thanks for sharing this great recipe! I'm a vegetarian and trying to find new cooking ideas because I am tired of eating the same meals over and over again. This lasagna was delicious! I ended up adding champignons to it, just because I love mushroom in almost any dish. The recipe was easy to follow and I was very pleased with the end result!

  10. I have made a veggie lasagna like this but without the noodles to make it even more healthy. I also added ground turkey to my sauce and crumbled goatcheese to the ricotta. I always have a sloppy mess, but it still taste so good! I will try to roast the veggies next time. Oh ya, I also add shredded carrots and sliced mushrooms. Throw the whole garden in there!

    Super healthy and delicious.

  11. im new to your blog and am doing what i do whenever i find a new amazing blog…reading through every post!! the stuff you cook looks so delicious and i love the emphasis on fresh and vegetable heavy foods as well as the variety of posts — your cook book reviews are wonderful!!

    keep up the great work! i’ve already book marked 10+ of your recipes and i am sure they will be as delicious as they look!!

  12. Hey Nick! I’m throwing a dinner party and plan to serve this. How many servings do you think this recipe makes?

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