Wow, I made this on May 20th, almost a month ago! And while it is a little weird to be making a hearty dish like lasagna in May, those of you in New England know that this spring has been incredibly cold and wet. This lasagna wasn’t made for the weather though, it was made for a friend who’s father is in the hospital (he was way back in May and he still is today) because, let’s face it, hospital food just isn’t that good and if I can in some small way help someone through a difficult time with a home-cooked meal, I will. But because I am also frugal, I made two – the second one fed us quite a bit way back in May.
The person I made this for is a bit picky and I was told “nothing fancy!” so I headed online to see what I could find. Many of the recipes that I post are “family favorites,” things I’ve made before and that have passed Gist’s muster – this was new to all of us. I have to admit it was much better than I thought it would be, see what happens when you try new things?
It starts, as any good dish that has the word “vegetable” in the name, with lots of veggies…
Which are added to a sauce – the recipe calls for jarred but I had homemade in the freezer, so I used that…
Then ricotta is mixed with the “secret” ingredient – pesto…
I call it “secret” because I think it’s what really sent this lasagna over the top. I also used some fresh basil from my herb garden. Then some cheesy, noodly layering takes place…
And into the oven it goes. Until it’s all bubbly, brown and delicious…
It can then be eaten, or cooled and packed off with love.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
- 3/4 cup chopped zucchini
- 1/2 cup sliced carrot
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 handful of frozen chopped spinach
- 1 (26-ounce) bottle fat-free tomato basil pasta sauce – or homemade
- 2 tablespoons commerical pesto – again, or homemade
- 1 (15-ounce) carton part-skim ricotta cheese
- Cooking spray
- 6 hot cooked lasagna noodles (about 6 ounces uncooked), cut in half
- 3/4 cup (3 ounce) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375º.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and the next 5 ingredients (mushrooms through spinach); cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add pasta sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.
Combine pesto and ricotta in a small bowl. Spread 1/2 cup tomato mixture in the bottom of a 8-inch square baking dish or pan coated with cooking spray. Arrange 4 noodle halves over tomato mixture. Top noodles with half of ricotta mixture and 1 cup tomato mixture. Repeat layers, ending with noodles. Spread remaining tomato mixture over noodles; sprinkle with mozzarella.
Cover and bake at 375º for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes.
Note: To make ahead, assemble as directed; stop before baking. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature; bake as directed. I baked the one that I gave away – H didn’t want to fuss with the oven so I prepared everything in a microwave-safe dish.