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Dinner

Homemade Vegetable Lasagna – Italian Comfort

45 minutes. Cook
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Introduction:
Lasagna, with its layers of pasta, rich sauces, and melted cheese, is a timeless Italian comfort food that has been delighting palates for generations. In this article, we’ll delve into the art of crafting a homemade vegetable lasagna that’s hearty, wholesome, and bursting with flavor. This dish is perfect for family gatherings, Sunday dinners, or whenever you crave a taste of Italy in your own kitchen. Let’s embark on a culinary journey to create this classic Italian dish.

Historical Context: Lasagna has a storied history that dates back to ancient Greece, where they first made a dish called Laganon. However, it was the Romans who adapted and popularized this dish, using layers of pasta and a variety of fillings. Over the centuries, lasagna has evolved into a quintessential Italian dish. Traditional lasagna recipes often feature layers of rich meat sauces and creamy béchamel, but today, we’ll be exploring a vegetarian twist that celebrates the goodness of fresh vegetables.

Preparation:

1. Prepare the Lasagna Sheets:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Cook the lasagna sheets according to package instructions or until al dente.
  • Drain and set aside.

2. Prepare the Vegetable Filling:

  • In a skillet or sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the chopped onion and garlic, sauté until fragrant and translucent.
  • Add the diced red and yellow bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and cook until they start to soften.
  • Stir in the spinach, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and black pepper. Cook until the spinach wilts.
  • Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Prepare the Ricotta Layer:

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, egg, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined. Set aside.

4. Prepare the Tomato Sauce:

  • In a separate pot, heat a bit of olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add minced garlic and cook for a minute until fragrant.
  • Pour in the crushed tomatoes and add dried basil, dried oregano, salt, and black pepper.
  • Simmer the sauce for about 10-15 minutes, allowing it to thicken. Stir occasionally.

5. Assemble the Lasagna:

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Start by spreading a thin layer of tomato sauce at the bottom of your 9×13-inch baking dish to prevent sticking.
  • Lay three lasagna sheets over the sauce.
  • Spread half of the ricotta mixture evenly over the lasagna sheets.
  • Add half of the vegetable filling on top of the ricotta layer.
  • Pour a generous amount of tomato sauce over the vegetables.
  • Sprinkle with a third of the shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • Repeat the layering process: lasagna sheets, ricotta mixture, vegetable filling, sauce, and mozzarella cheese.
  • Finish with a final layer of lasagna sheets, sauce, and the remaining mozzarella cheese.

6. Bake the Lasagna:

  • Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, making sure it doesn’t touch the cheese to prevent sticking.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

7. Serve and Garnish:

  • Let the lasagna rest for a few minutes before slicing.
  • Garnish with fresh basil leaves if desired.
  • Serve this homemade vegetable lasagna with a side of garlic bread or a crisp green salad for a complete Italian-inspired meal.

Conclusion: Homemade Vegetable Lasagna is a delightful twist on a classic Italian dish, offering a burst of flavors and a comforting experience for your taste buds. With layers of tender lasagna sheets, a rich tomato sauce, a creamy ricotta filling, and a medley of sautéed vegetables, this lasagna recipe is a crowd-pleaser that’s perfect for gatherings or a cozy family dinner. Embrace the warmth of Italian cuisine and savor the joy of preparing this delicious dish from scratch. Buon appetito!

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prep time
1 hour 15 minutes.
cooking time
45 minutes.
servings
8
total time
1 hour 15 minutes.

Equipment

  • Large pot for boiling lasagna sheets

  • Skillet or sauté pan for vegetable filling

  • Mixing bowls

  • 9x13-inch baking dish

  • Aluminum foil

  • Cooking spray

Ingredients

  • 12 lasagna sheets (oven-ready or pre-boiled)

  • Salted water for boiling

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced

  • 1 zucchini, diced

  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms

  • 1 cup spinach leaves

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 egg

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 (24-ounce) cans of crushed tomatoes

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish (optional)

Instructions

1
Prepare lasagna sheets.
2
Sauté vegetables and season.
3
Mix ricotta, Parmesan, egg.
4
Simmer tomato sauce.
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