Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Eggless Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Lasagna indeed is becoming a family favorite dinner as a one pot baked meal. This time I roasted the vegetables, and made the sauce using sun dried tomatoes, and bit of Indian spices, along with regular Italian herbs. Verdict-My little ones and S ate it happily.  I shared this lasagna with a friend of mine, and she asked for the recipe. Friend's request motivated me to post this roasted vegetable lasagna recipe sooner than later! I modified the recipe to make less quantity  per my baking dish size. It makes 6-7 servings. The recipe may seem elaborate if making lasagna for first time. It does take an hour to assemble the dish together. However, after making the lasagna twice now, I think I have learnt the technique, and can try different variations.

Lasagna is a layered dish: 
1. Prepare a sauce using tomatoes and vegetables of choice or bechamel sauce
2.  Mix the Ricotta and Parmesan cheese with herbs, and salt (or eggs if using) 
3.  Make the layers: Spread the tomato or bechamel sauce as first layer, add layer of noodles, choice of vegetables layer (if using), Cheese layer: Ricotta cheese mixture, sprinkle Mozzarella cheese, and then ending with chosen sauce. Sprinkle on the last layer grated Mozzarella cheese.  
Repeat the layers, add 2 or 3 noodles per your choice. 

I made this lasagna egg less without adding any substitute for egg, and it binded really well. Red Tomato Sauce is the main base for this lasagna recipe. This sauce is versatile and can be used for pasta and pizza base as well. I have started using sun dried tomatoes ( inspired from Lisa Kitchen) in chutneys, and red sauce.  The sun dried tomatoes do enhance the flavor of the sauce.  I have also used sun dried tomatoes to make masala crackers and those are also a hit among family, and friends.
Ingredients  Adapted from here Lisa's Kitchen
1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces and halved
1 medium yellow squash, sliced into 1/2-inch piece and halved
10 mushrooms
1/2 cup spinach (thawed, and sauteed separately-Optional, Used as had to finish up)
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Red Pepper flakes-per taste
Salt Per taste
Cumin Powder- 1 teaspoon

5-6 cups tomato sauce 
6 no boil lasagna noodles

1 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated 
1 2/3 cups Ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups  Mozzarella cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Prepare a baking tray with foil, Place the cut vegetables, mushrooms separated on the baking tray. Drizzle olive oil, black pepper, cumin powder, salt, red chili flakes. Roast the vegetables for 30 to 35 minutes until tender and golden brown, stirring them once part way through the cooking time. Reduce the oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl,  stir in the Ricotta with thawed Spinach, Parmesan cheese, and some fresh cracked black pepper, chilli flakes, salt to taste until well blended.  Spread a ladle-full of tomato sauce over baking dish used for preparing the lasagna. Top with 2 lasagna noodles. Evenly spread 1/3 of the vegetables over top, then 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, and then 1/3 of the Mozzarella cheese. Repeat beginning with the lasagna noodles, two more times. Finish with the remaining lasagna noodles and the remaining sauce. Sprinkle over the mozzarella  cheese and cover loosely with foil. Bake in the 350° oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil at this point and bake for another 30 minutes or until the lasagna is bubbling and the cheese is golden brown. Remove from heat and let the lasagna sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. 

Tomato Sauce Recipe Adapted from here Lisa's Kitchen (If running short on time, with little planning sauce can be prepared ahead, refrigerated, and can be used next 3-4 days to make Lasagna)

1 tablespoon olive oil
5 to 6 large tomatoes, diced
10 to 12 sun-dried tomatoes
1 large onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 small green pepper, or any other color (not in original recipe source)
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 to 3 fresh green chilies or jalapeños (optional but highly recommended)
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
A pinch of coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder

Salt to taste

Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in warm water to cover for 15 to 30 minutes. Drain and chop, reserving the soaking liquid. Heat the olive oil in a medium-large saucepan. Add the onions, garlic and carrot, green bell pepper and stir for 5 minutes. Add the red chili flakes and chilies or jalapeños if using, and sauté for a minute or two. Add the dried and fresh tomatoes as well. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Continue to simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until the liquid is reduced and the sauce thickens. Add some of the reserved liquid used for soaking the sun-dried tomatoes if required, especially if not using the wine. Remove from the heat and add salt to taste. Transfer the sauce to a blender, or using an electric hand blender, and process until smooth but chunky.

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