Thursday, February 7, 2013

Garden-Style Lasagna

It is quite a labor of love to make this veggie lasagna. It is so involved in fact, that I usually prep parts of it the night before and assemble, bake, and serve the second night. It is so labor intensive (as most lasagnas are) that I only make it once or twice a year. Even though it's a lot of work it is totally worth it. It's the best lasagna I've ever made!

I adapted the recipe from Cooking Light, which calls for the veggies to be sauteed. Instead, I roasted them, played around with the type and amount of veggies, and bumped pumped bumped and pumped up the flavor by using a multitude of fresh herbs.  I also a little extra cheese to the spinach sauce by accident (oops...) but it turned out well so I included my "mistake" in the recipe below.

Garden-Style Lasagna
Adapted from Cooking Light
Servings: 10+
Difficulty: Medium


  • Cooking spray
  • 2 c. onion, sliced 
  • 3 c. zucchini, yellow squash, or combination of both, sliced into half-moons
  • 3 c. green bell pepper, red bell pepper, or combination of both, halved and sliced
  • 1 c. carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 c. broccoli, chopped
  • Assorted herbs, chopped (up to 5 Tbsp fresh, 4 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3-1/2 c. 1% low-fat milk
  • 1-1/4 c. grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1-1/2 c. 1% low-fat cottage cheese
  • 2 c. (8 oz.) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 12 precooked lasagna noodles, divided

  1. Preparation

  1. Evening before serving

  1. Veggies

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Prep all veggies. Toss each veggie with approximately 1 Tbsp of any fresh herb of your choice and cooking spray. Roast in batches until vegetables soften and begin to brown.

  • Squash/oregano - 15 min
  • Onion/parsley - 20 min
  • Peppers/thyme - 20 min
  • Broccoli/basil - 15 min
  • Carrots/rosemary - 15 min
  1. **Note: Cooking times are approximate. This is how I roasted, you can do it however you'd like with whatever veggie/herb combo. You probably don't even have to add the herbs at this point. It might be better to just add them to the spinach sauce. But all those herbs do make your kitchen smell wonderful as the veggies are roasting!
  1. While veggies are roasting, saute garlic in olive oil for 30 seconds. As the veggies finish roasting, combine them with garlic in a large mixing bowl. Season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cool and store in the fridge in an airtight container overnight.

Spinach Sauce

Place 3 c milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. In a bowl, whisk together remaining 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 c flour. Gradually pour flour mixture into pan, stirring until blended. Stir constantly for a few minutes, until the milk begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Add 1 c Parmesan, remaining 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and nutmeg; stir until smooth. Stir in spinach. Cool and store in the fridge in an airtight container overnight.

Cheese Mixture

Blend cottage cheese in a food processor until smooth. Combine cottage cheese and 1-1/2 c. mozzarella; stir well. Store in the fridge in an airtight container overnight.

Night of serving (i.e. the pay-off!)

  1. Cook and drain lasagna noodles according to package directions (I always cook a few extra because a few are inevitably damaged during cooking/draining). While noodles are cooking, rough chop the roasted vegetables into bite-size pieces.
Coat a 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 c. of spinach sauce over bottom of baking dish. Arrange 4 noodles over spinach sauce. Top with 1/2 of cottage cheese mixture, 1/2 of roasted veggies, and 1 c. spinach sauce. Top with 4 noodles, remaining cottage cheese mixture, remaining roasted veggies, and 1 c. spinach sauce. Top with the last 4 noodles. Spread remaining spinach sauce over the noodles. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 c mozzarella and 1/4 c Parmesan.
**I always find it hard to follow layering instructions in recipes. I usually sketch it out. I guess I'm a visual learner?? I'm curious if anyone else ever thinks of layered dishes this way... 
 Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Info for 1 serving:
Calories 342
Carbs 39 g
Fat 10 g
Protein 25 g