This vegetarian lasagna is cheesy (of course) and loaded with veggies, spinach, and a simple tomato sauce.

If you have any meatless meal doubts in your life, this lasagna will change your mind. I’m sure and certain.

INGREDIENTS

Vegetables and spinach

  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 140 – 170 grams of baby spinach

Tomato sauce (or substitute 2 cups of prepared marinara sauce)

  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil + extra for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Remaining ingredients

  • 2 cups low-fat cottage cheese, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 9 lasagna noodles without boiling
  • 2 cups freshly grated partially skimmed mozzarella

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. To prepare the vegetables: In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Once sparkling, add the carrots, bell pepper, zucchini, yellow onion and salt. Cook, stirring every two minutes, until the vegetables are golden around the edges, about 8 to 12 minutes.
  3. Add a few large handfuls of spinach. Cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach is wilted. Repeat with the remaining spinach and cook until all the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan and keep aside.
  4. Meanwhile, to prepare the tomato sauce: Pour the tomatoes through a sieve or fine strainer and drain the excess juice for a minute. Then move the drained tomatoes to the bowl of a food processor. Add the basil, garlic, olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes.
  5. Beat the mixture about 10 times, until the tomatoes have broken down to an easily spreadable consistency. Transfer the mixture into a bowl for later (you should have a little over 2 cups of the sauce). Rinse the food processor and return it to the machine.
  6. Pour half the cottage cheese (1 cup) into the food processor and mix until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. No need to wash the food processor bowl this time; just put it back on the machine as you will need it later.
  7. Transfer the cooked vegetables and spinach mixture to the bowl of the food processor. Pulse until finely chopped (but not mashed!), About 5 to 7 times, stopping to scrape the sides if necessary. Transfer the mixture to the whipped cottage cheese bowl. Top with the remaining cottage cheese, then add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt (to taste) and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Stir to combine. Now is the time to assemble lasagna!
  8. Spread ½ cup tomato sauce evenly over bottom of 9 ”x 9” baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on top (remove their ends to fit and / or overlap their edges if necessary). Spread half of the cottage cheese mixture gently over the noodles. Top with ¾ cup of tomato sauce, then sprinkle with ½ cup of grated cheese.
  9. Top with 3 more noodles, followed by the remaining cottage cheese mixture (we are skipping the tomato sauce in this layer.) Sprinkle ½ cup of grated cheese on top.
  10. Top with 3 more noodles, then spread ¾ cup tomato sauce on top (some sauce may remain) to evenly cover the noodles. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of grated cheese.
  11. Wrap a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil around the top of the lasagna (do not let it come in contact with the cheese). Bake, covered, for 18 minutes, then remove the lid, rotate the pan 180° and continue cooking for about 10 to 12 minutes more, until the top becomes speckled.
  12. Remove from the oven and let the lasagna cool for 15 to 20 minutes, so that they have time to set and cool to a reasonable temperature. Sprinkle additional basil on top, then slice and serve.

Cacio e Pepe Lasagnas

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