earlier this week, i had some of my girlfriends and their kids over for dinner. i wanted to make something simple and that would be pleasing to both the children and the adults. the obvious choice was lasagna! who doesn't like lasagna? plus, you can make it ahead of time and then just throw it in an hour before you want to eat. easy peasy. i decided to make two lasagnas. since i am vegetarian, and i have never in my life cooked anything with meat, i went with a regular veggie lasagna (i used this recipe and then tweaked it a bit to my liking. i was told it was delicious.) and since i am trying to cut flour out of my diet (not totally, but just ease up on it a bit!), i decided to attempt a noddle-free lasagna, as well. it turned out pretty yummy, so i thought i would share! i made mine veggie, but you could easily tweak this recipe and add any kind of meat (or other veggies!) that you like!
2 large zucchini (cut lengthwise, into lasagna noodle sized strips)
one medium sized eggplant (cut the same width as the zucchini)
1 package morningstar grillers crumbles
1 jar of marinara sauce (you could make your own tomato sauce, but i was lazy)
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bag baby spinach (frozen would work, as well)
salt and pepper
16 oz ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese)
1/2 cup grated parmesan
a few sliced of mozzarella (i used quite a few) (i'm cutting back on flour, not cheese!)
first, i cut and salted my zucchini and eggplant. they are filled with water, so you want to sweat them first, for about 30 minutes, to remove a lot of the water (or the lasagna will be very runny!) after letting them sweat, i dabbed them with a paper towel and put them in a 425 degree oven for about 10 minutes, just to make sure they were dried out enough!
once that is done, set the zucchini and eggplant aside and lower the oven's heat to 375.
for the sauce, start by sauteing the onion and garlic in oil (i used grapeseed oil) until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant. add the veggie crumbles and cook for about 5 minutes, until cooked through. add your spinach (or whatever veggies you like) and let it wilt a bit. i used almost an entire bag of spinach. it cooks down quite a bit, so i like to add a lot to get all that extra nutrition! once the spinach has cooked down, add the entire jar of sauce and stir to incorporate. that's it! the sauce part is done.
for the ricotta layer, mix together one container of ricotta, two eggs, the parmesan, and some salt and pepper.
and now we are ready to layer! start with the sauce, then the zucchini or eggplant, then the ricotta mixture, the mozzarella slices, more sauce, and so on. i ended up doing only two layers because i had used my bigger pan for the noodle-y lasagna (note to self: buy another big lasagna pan). but you can layer to your heart's content! my top layer was sauce and then a sprinkling of parmesan!
i covered it with foil and let it sit and rest for a couple of hours. you don't need to wait that long, but i had assembled mine super early! i would for sure let it rest for about 30 minutes. then bake, covered, at 375 for about 40 minutes. after 40 minutes, remove the foil, and cook for another 10 minutes or so, until the cheese is nice and golden and bubbly. wait about 15 minutes before cutting and serving!
and there you have it! a super healthy, guilt free lasagna! i didn't miss the noodles at all!
do you like lasagna? what's your go-to dish when cooking for a group?
xoxo, nora bird