If you want people to like you, make them lasagna.
Seriously. Works every time. Who doesn’t love lasagna? It’s cheese, sauce, noodles, and anything else your heart desires. Guaranteed crowd pleaser.
It’s a great go-to dish for having company over. And even a better drop-at-a-friends-house-and-run meal. But if you’re gonna go that route, be smart. Make two, and keep one for yourself or you’ll be pissed. I promise.
For all you meat lovers out there, don’t fret. This hearty veggie bombshell will keep you fully satisfied. And for all you creative cooks out there, let the juices flow. Get crazy and add whatever veggies you want.
Me? I like to keep it simple.
Zucchini, squash, and red pepper. Boom, bam, yum.
Oh, and cheese. But that’s not a veggie, right? It really should be.
If cheese were considered a veggie, man I would eat a lot of veggies. Why do I keep saying veggies?
Now it’s starting to sound weird.
You know when you say a word over and over again and it starts to not even sound like a word anymore? Like the word Google. I mean what is that? How is the word Google a real word? And now it’s used as a verb? “Just google it.”
That word didn’t even exist until the late 90’s, which is also super weird. Like we don’t already have enough words. Let’s add another word and make it one of the most popular words EVER.
Back to veggies.
This sauce simmers slowly while you go ahead and boil those fancy lasagna noodles.
Free facial anyone? Stop pretending like you don’t intentionally stick your face in the pasta steam and act like you’re getting a deluxe package at the spa.
I know, it’s the simple pleasures.
While there may be several steps to making this dish, it’s all fairly simple and totally doable. If I can make this meal with a two year old sprinting around my house, and coloring on the kitchen floor (yes, literally coloring on the tiles) then you can too. The real question is, how do I get crayon off my kitchen tile?
- 12-14 lasagna noodles
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion chopped
- 2 medium zucchinis small dice
- 2 medium yellow squash small dice
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3 garlic gloves minced
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- Large handful fresh basil leaves chopped
- One 15-oz. container whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Large handful of spinach roughly chopped
- 8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish.
2) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil then cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles then lay flat on a sheet of aluminum foil. (This step can be done while water is boiling and pasta is cooking.)
3) Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add zucchini, squash, bell pepper, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook until just softened and starting to brown, about 5-8 minutes.
4) Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes, stir then bring to a low simmer. Simmer until liquid has thickened and reduced by half, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add basil then season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Turn off heat and set aside.
5) Prepare the cheese mixture in a medium bowl. Add ricotta, eggs, half of the parmesan cheese, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Mix until well combined. Add the chopped spinach into cheese mixture. Set aside.
6) Spoon just enough of the veggie sauce into the baking dish to lightly cover bottom. Arrange noodles lengthwise and side by side to cover the bottom. If the noodles are too short to fill the pan, you may need to break off smaller pieces to fill in the spaces. That’s ok! Spread about half of the cheese mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and a third of the mozzarella cheese. Then, top with about a third of the veggie sauce. Add another layer of noodles then repeat with remaining cheese and sauce. Finish with a final layer of parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
7) Cover lasagna loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover then bake 15 more minutes until cheese is crusty around the edges. To make cheese golden brown on top, slide under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes. This dish is equally delicious the next day!
Adapted from Inspired Taste