Christina Clark 60 min. 20 min.

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This recipe is not your typical “Vegetarian Lasagna”. It always frustrates me when someone serves one of those veggie lasagna from the grocery store freezer section and it doesn’t even taste like lasagna! The store-bought vegetarian lasagnas I have tasted have some weird kind of sauce, and the vegetable flavor is very . . . prominent. Not like vegetables are bad, but I don’t want my lasagna to taste like someone mixed together some noodles, Alfredo sauce and a green salad.

Fortunately, this lasagna does NOT taste like that. Yes, it has lots of vegetables, but they work together to create the delicious sauce instead of fighting with it. True, there is no meat, but it is so full of savory Italian herbs that I don’t miss it! By the way, this is meatless lasagna, not vegan lasagna, so there is still plenty of delicious, gooey, melty cheese inside. In other words, it tastes like real lasagna! Just without all the saturated fat in greasy sausage. I hope you like it as much as we do!

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Meatless Lasagna

Serves 6
Prep time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hr 20 minutes

1/2 large onion
3 cloves garlic
1/2 bell pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
4 oz fresh mushrooms
1 small carrot
1 lb fresh tomatoes (1 3/4- – 2 cups chopped)
1/2 can black olives
8 oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp marjoram (optional)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
6 dried lasagna noodles
1 egg
15 oz ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
6 oz mozzarella cheese, grated

Chop the onion and bell pepper, and mince the garlic. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, pepper, and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, chop the mushrooms. Add the mushrooms to the pan and let them cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, scrub the carrot and grate finely. Chop the tomatoes and olives. Add the carrots, tomatoes, olives, tomato sauce, and seasonings (through pepper) to the pan. Stir, cover, lower the heat, and let simmer for 15 minutes.

While the sauce is cooking, boil some water in a large pot and cook the noodles for 8 minutes. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg and add the ricotta and Parmesan cheese. When the noodles are done, drain them and put them back in the pot with the lid on to prevent them from drying out. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

When the sauce is done simmering, scoop 1-1/2 cups into the blender and puree. Then add it back to the pan and stir it into the cooked vegetables. Spread about 1/2 cup over the bottom of 2-qt rectangular casserole dish or a 9×13-inch dish. Layer 3 noodles, half the ricotta mixture, half the sauce, and half the mozzarella; then repeat. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan on top if you think it needs more cheese. 🙂

Bake for 15 minutes, then increase the temperature to 425 and cook for 5 more minutes to brown the cheese. Then share the lasagna love! (Or keep it to yourself and eat it for 6 days in a row…I’m pretty sure I could do that!)

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