Thursday, June 25, 2009

Veggie Lasagna with Spinach, Zucchini and Homemade Tomato Sauce

What do you do when you get a ton of spinach from the farmers market? Well, we make lasagna.

I will admit, this was our first attempt ever at making true lasagna. We've made lasagna rolls and lasagna casseroles before, but it's not the same. But I wasn't intimidated; it couldn't be that hard right? So, I based my recipe loosely on a lasagna recipe I found in the Food section of my local paper.

I've gotta admit I was ambitious, but that ambition paid off. I was envisioning a really fresh lasagna and we were lucky enough to achieve something that was close to that.

First, we started by cooking about 3 cups of spinach. While the spinach cooking, we boiled lasagna noodles in a separate pan.

Once the spinach had wilted, I removed it from the pan. I then added zucchini and red onion to the pan with olive oil and cooked until tender. We loaded our lasagna with veggies and used 3 medium zucchini and about half of a large onion.

Once the zucchini and onions are cooked, I removed them from the pan and then began to make my sauce, using about 15 Roma tomatoes. Of course, we first had to peel the tomatoes. To begin this process, we first cut shallow X's into the bottom of each tomato and then placed them in boiling water for 30 seconds. Then we removed the tomatoes, placed them in ice water and then peeled the skin off.

From there we cleaned out the seeds and then roughly diced the tomatoes. Once cleaned and diced, we put them in the pan with olive oil and cooked them down to a lovely sauce.

When the sauce is close to ready, we seasoned to taste and added fresh chopped basil.

While the sauce was cooking, we mixed up our ricotta filling, which consisted of 16 ounces of low-fat ricotta with oregano, salt and pepper to taste. We also added one scrambled egg to help the mixture set up when baked.

Once all of the prep was finished, it was time to build the lasagna. We began by adding a small amount of sauce to the bottom of a pan that was coated with cooking spray. Then we laid our first layer of noodles, which was then topped with half of the zucchini, onion and spinach mixture. Then we topped with more sauce and another layer of noodles. After the noodles we layered the ricotta mixture and from there we repeated the layers until we ran out of materials. We then topped the lasagna with mozzarella and Parmesan.

Once built, we baked the lasagna in the oven at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

The final product was pretty good, that is if you ignore the fact that I added a little too much pepper to the sauce. Whoops. There was different levels of pepper so some of the reheats came out really well, while others came out a little spicy. Some of the veggies were also a little overcooked, so it's important to be mindful of how far you cook those in the early stages if you like a crisper veggie, which I prefer.

We will definitely make this one again.

Nutrition Information

Servings: 12
Ingredients: plum tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, spinach, zucchini, red onion, ricotta, egg, oregano, lasagna noodles, mozzarella, Parmesan
Calories: 182 per serving
Fat: 6.5g per serving
Fiber: about 2.5 per serving
Price: $1.20 per serving (We received some of the vegetables for free.)

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