One of the best things about living in this state is the access we have to all the wonderful fruits and vegetables in season right now. I didn’t hate vegetables as a kid, but I had no idea how much I would absolutely love them as an adult. It may seem like an exaggeration to say this, but I feel like a kid in a candy store whenever I shop for or cook with a bunch of vegetables. The more I can fit into a recipe, the more excited I get. I’m very grateful that I can pick and choose from nearby farms and still help support them even through this time.
But I’ll be honest, I’ve had my fair share of days where I overbuy vegetables that then go bad before I can use them. If this has ever happened to you, then please know I commiserate with you. I physically wince when I have to toss out an uneaten vegetable. And while, thankfully, those days are few and far in between, they do happen.
When I feel that this is about to happen, I pull out a couple of recipes that use as many vegetables as possible. Usually it’s a soup, but in the thick of summer, I don’t want to eat a hot soup, and a gazpacho can only fill me up so much. That’s when I make this roasted vegetable lasagna.
The reason I like this recipe so much is that it’s truly versatile. You can add in any combination you’d like, add in extra cheese (or none), you can even change up the flavor profile with the addition of a few different ingredients and spices.
For this recipe, I usually end up using seven or eight different vegetables depending on what I have on hand. Feel free to add or omit whatever you’d like in order to personalize this for yourself. Then I roast the majority of the vegetables with a little olive oil and seasonings.
The reason you don’t want to skip this step is twofold: 1) It helps release some of the water in the vegetables so your lasagna doesn’t get soggy, and 2) Roasting them first really brings out the flavors as opposed to using them plain.
Lastly, if you wanna be a real pro, serve this with a salad and you’ll fit in an entire week’s worth of vegetable servings in one go.
Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
Fresh tomato sauce
- 8 Roma tomatoes
- 4-6 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- handful of fresh basil, chopped
- salt to taste
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 small zucchini, chopped
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup broccoli, chopped
- 1 cup cauliflower, chopped
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 1 pound whole milk ricotta
- 1/2 pound mozzarella, freshly shredded
- 12-15 sheets of no-cook lasagna
- 1 cup parmesan, freshly grated
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 4 tsp. dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil as needed
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss tomatoes and garlic in olive oil and a little salt and bake on a baking sheet for 25 minutes.
Cool the tomatoes and garlic a bit, then add to a food processor or blender along with the butter. Blend until smooth, then add in the chopped basil and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, add in the ricotta, half the mozzarella, half the parmesan and 2 tsp. oregano and mix together. Set aside.
Place all your vegetables (except spinach) in a large bowl and toss with some olive oil, the thyme, rosemary and remaining oregano and a little salt and pepper to taste. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, being sure to toss a few times while roasting.
When the vegetables are done roasting, add in the spinach and quickly toss with the still-hot vegetables. The heat from them will be sufficient to help cook/wilt the spinach.
Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees and grease a lasagna pan with a little olive oil.
To assemble the lasagna, start with a little of the roasted tomato sauce, add the pasta sheets next, top with a bit of the roasted vegetables, the cheese mixture, a little more tomato sauce and then repeat until you have 3-4 layers. Top the lasagna with a little remaining sauce and the remaining cheeses.
Cover the pan with foil and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and melted through. Check to see if the pasta is tender. If not, continue cooking for another few minutes.
Allow to cool, then garnish with more fresh basil and parmesan and enjoy!
From Z to A with Zara Abbasi
Zara Abbasi is the pastry chef and recipe developer for Zara Made It. Follow her food adventures on Instagram at @zaramadeit.