When you’re craving the comfort of lasagna, try this meat-free version, loaded with colorful roasted vegetables and savory cheese.
I was a personal chef for years. Some of my clients were long-term regulars, and each time I cooked for them I’d take care to change their menus. Not only to ground my cooking to the seasons, but to keep meals interesting for them. I wanted to offer families variety, but it turns out they would often ask for the same favorite dishes over and over again instead.
When I was looking through my files recently, I found some of my most requested recipes from those years.
You know what’s interesting? Many of them were so tailored to specific clients’ tastes — whether vegetarian, gluten-free, fish-free and sometimes vegetable-free — they weren’t necessarily dishes I’d made at home for my own family. We were missing out!
Vegetable lasagna is a nice twist on a family-favorite dinner — minus the meat but delicious all the same.
This roasted vegetable lasagna was a recipe I made on repeat for one of my vegetarian clients, and now I can say that I know why she liked it so much — it’s beautifully loaded with colorful vegetables, satisfying and comforting all at once.
- I like to make a fresh sauce from cherry tomatoes to keep the bright vegetable flavors in sync, but feel free to use your favorite sauce instead. You’ll need one quart of sauce.
- Change the variety of vegetables in the filling according to what you like and have on hand, just be sure you have about four cups vegetables, roasted/cooked until tender and bite-sized.
- Try: wild mushrooms with leeks or butternut squash and kale.
ROASTED VEGETABLE LASAGNA
Yield 6 - 8 servings
The vegetables can be roasted the day before making the lasagna to save time. Or assemble the whole lasagna, cover and refrigerate up to a day ahead before baking.
You can use your favorite tomato sauce instead of making the roasted cherry tomato sauce. You'll need 4 cups sauce (1 quart).
Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce:
- 2 pounds cherry tomatoes
- 2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium eggplant (peeled if desired), diced
- 2 bell peppers red, orange or yellow; diced
- 2 small zucchini (less than 6-inches long), diced
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 pound whole milk ricotta
- 1/2 pound fontina cheese, coarsely grated
- 12 sheets no-boil lasagna noodles
- 1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
To make the sauce:
- Heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss the tomatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet with the garlic, oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Roast until the tomatoes are very soft and slightly browned, about 25 minutes.
- Cool the tomatoes 10 minutes then scrape into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
To make the lasagna:
- Put the eggplant, bell peppers, zucchini, and red onion in a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, ground pepper to taste and 1/4 cup olive oil and toss to coat. Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet and roast until the vegetables are soft and slightly browned, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately add the spinach. Toss with tongs to mix together and wilt the greens.
- Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees.
- Lightly coat an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with olive oil. Ladle 1/4-cup tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of the pan.
- Make three layers in the pan as follows: 3 pasta sheets, slightly overlapping, topped evenly with 1/3 of the vegetables, ricotta, fontina and 1/4 cup sauce. Finish the final top layer with the remaining sauce and the Parmesan cheese.
- Cover the pan with foil and bake 35 minutes. Take a peek under the foil - if the sauce is bubbling, the cheese melted and the noodles tender, it's done. If not, cover and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for about an hour before serving. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.