Recipe for homemade vegetable lasagna

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

Hello ladies,

I’ve been enjoying my time in Luxembourg City where the Man and I have been helping a friend with her move. After a few hectic days I’ve finally had some time to cook. The apartment where we’re staying is completely blue – I guess the Italian couple that owns the place is keen on supporting la Forza Azzura in new and interesting ways.

Veg lasagna - main photo

I’ve been a little obsessed with vegetarian lasagna since my friend Reta made me one when I went to visit her. I thought it would be complicated but it turns out I was wrong – it’s a little time consuming but super easy to make. Since Reta didn’t sent me her delicious recipe (shame on you Reta!) I had to improvise. Mine is a little different, I only use tomato sauce whereas Reta also added a creamy roux. This recipe is a second, and I think better, version of the vegetable lasagna I made when Thomas was in Paris a month ago.

The recipe should make enough for about 6 – 8 servings. I used an oval oven-proof dish that was about 35 cm x 24 cm (about 14″ x 9.5″) but use a rectangular dish if you have one – much easier come assembly time.

Ingredients

For tomato sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 400gr/14oz canned tomatoes (1 medium sized can)
  • 200gr/7oz strained crushed tomatoes (passata)
  • 70gr/2.5oz tomato concentrate (1 small can)
  • 2-3 tsp dried basil
  • 2-3 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

For lasagna

  • A little olive oil to coat the dish
  • 1 box lasagna sheets (I used pasta that didn’t require pre-cooking and it worked fine, but – if you’re a sucker for punishment like mom – the pre-cook kind are fine too)
  • 3 medium eggplants
  • 2 large zucchini/courgettes
  • 250gr/9oz ricotta
  • 250gr/9oz mozzarella (2 medium balls if using fresh)

Instructions

Start by making the tomato sauce. You can do it ahead of time if you want to be an A+ student.

Veg lasagna - tomato sauce in pot

Gently start warming a tbsp of olive oil in a medium pot.

Peel the garlic cloves and chop finely. Chop the onions, cry your eyes out and beg the closest available person for help.

Add the onions (hopefully you’ve stopped crying by now) and sauté until they are sweaty and soft. Then add the garlic and cook until fragrant – only about a minute or so.

Add the canned tomatoes, passata and tomato concentrate. Stir well. Add the basil, oregano, salt and pepper and let simmer gently covered for an hour. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 200°C/390°F.

Slice the eggplant and zucchini lengthwise into slices about 1 cm thick (a little more than a 3rd of an inch). Use a mandolin if you have one – but watch your fingers!

Tip: if slicing by hand, cut one lengthwise slice from the vegetable and flip it onto its newly “flat” side. Then slice start slicing lengthwise again. The eggplant/zucchini will be more stable and easier to cut!

Veg lasagna - sliced zucchini

Set the zucchini aside and take out a large non-stick pan for the eggplant. Fry each slice of eggplant until it becomes soft and a little golden. Set eggplant aside. Zucchini cooks faster so it doesn’t need any pre-cooking.

Veg lasagna - fried eggplant

Get your dish out and lightly grease with a little olive oil. Get the ricotta, mozzarella & lasagna pasta sheets – it’s time to assemble this bad boy. (Note: if you are using pre-cook pasta you should have it cooked and ready to go before starting)

I haven’t fully mastered the art of layering and I don’t know if there is a “best” way. I say just start layering and see what work for you. However, make sure you:

  • Have 2 layers of ricotta
  • Have 3 layers of tomato sauce
  • Have 3 layers of pasta
  • End with a layer tomato sauce that you cover with mozzarella (shredded or sliced – your call)

Here are some pics of the Man expertly putting together the lasagna:

Veg lasagna - ricotta layer

Tip: the ricotta is easiest to spread on an eggplant layer.

Veg lasagna - tomato sauce layer

Tip: If you’re in a rush you can use store-bought sauce. I’ve done it before but honestly I think homemade is better if you have time.

Veg lasagna - zucchini layer

Tip: cut the zucchini slices in half if they are long – it will make them easier to position.

Veg lasagna - splitting lasagna pasta

Veg lasagna - pasta layer

Tip: Split the lasagna sheets to fit better in the dish.

Veg lasagna - tomato sauce on pasta

Tip: Really cover the pasta well at the end. I missed some spots and these tended to blacken (read: burn) when cooked.

Place the lasagna in the oven and cook for 30 – 40 minutes. If you can, avoid having the grill on as it can overcook/burn the mozzarella. Keep an eye on it and cover with aluminium foil if it cooks too fast. You’ll know the lasagna is cooked when a knife can go through without any major resistance. I like my courgette a little firm but if you prefer yours soft then cook a little longer or until the knife goes in sans problème.

Bon appétit!!!!

Veg lasagna - closeup finished

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8 thoughts on “Recipe for homemade vegetable lasagna

  1. Hanin June 6, 2014 at 1:00 pm Reply

    Hola Beth!! This one looks particularly delicious. I am a fan of lasagnas in general and I like this veg option. It sounds really amazing. Plus, I noticed you are not using bechamel sauce, a big plus for my diet!!

    • Beth June 7, 2014 at 11:14 am Reply

      Emi hates bechamel (see her comment below!) and its true that it can make the recipe a bit heavier. I don’t mind it though to be honest 😉

  2. Emily June 6, 2014 at 5:42 pm Reply

    Yummy!!!!!!! Paleo/gluten-free peeps……just take the pasta out and use the eggplant as the pasta layers…. Omit the cheese (saaaaaad!) or if you can tolerate cheese use raw milk cheese- not pasteurized. I don’t know why- but I’ve noticed a difference. I can have some raw milk goat or sheep’s milk no problem. But pasteurized…..not so keen 🙂

    • Beth June 7, 2014 at 11:15 am Reply

      Thanks for the tip!

  3. Emily June 6, 2014 at 5:42 pm Reply

    Bechamel is NNNNNAAAAAAASSSSSTTTTTTYYYYYYYYYYY!

  4. Jan June 11, 2014 at 10:08 am Reply

    You really use those cardboard lasagne noodles? I feel like such a failure. The rest sounds great and I’m sure that with ‘real’ pasta it will be delicious. For sure something we should make in Milos!!!!

  5. Frederick June 18, 2014 at 12:25 pm Reply

    This looks yummy, hope it is delicious with taste too. 😉

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