Cheesy Veggie Lasagna

Cheese. Cheese. And more cheese.

All of us have memories of family dinners and it’s not uncommon that lasagna or some other casserole was present at the table. Lasagna, salad and garlic bread are the perfect combo and satisfy that home-cooked meal craving.

One thing I love about lasagna is that it’s entirely When it adaptable to your preferences. Don’t love squash or zucchini? Add spinach or peppers or whatever vegetables you like!

The main thing you want to avoid with vegetables is adding too much liquid and ending up with a soupy mess when the lasagna bakes. To avoid this, cook your vegetables beforehand and drain off any liquid. Another secret to this dish… PESTO.

Add it to the ricotta mixture and we are talking MAJOR flavor.

This lasagna pairs well with steamed green beans, asparagus or a side salad. Even though there are veggies inside, it never hurts to add a little extra on the side!

Ingredients

  • 2 jars pasta sauce
  • 16 oz. low fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup pesto (optional)
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup parmesan
  • 2 zucchini, diced and cooked
  • 2 summer squash, diced and cooked
  • 1 cup chopped onions, cooked
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2/3 box whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 1 lb. 90/10 ground beef, cooked (optional)
  • 9 x 13 cake pan OR large casserole dish
  • Aluminum foil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Take out a large casserole dish or 9×13 cake pan
  2. In a large pot, boil water. When water reaches a boil, add lasagna noodles one at a time (after they are in the water for a minute or so they soften up and can be fully submerged in the case that your pot is not wide enough for them to fit right away).
  3. Chop summer squash, zucchini, onion and garlic cloves. Make sure that the vegetables are small enough to be put in a layer of lasagna (about 1/4″ cubes)
  4. While the lasagna noodles cook, prepare the vegetables. In a large skillet, heat olive oil. When warm, add vegetables and cook until softened (this step is important in order to remove water from the vegetables and prevent soupy lasagna.)
  5. After the vegetables are cooked, remove from the pan and add the ground beef. This is an optional step if you want to add meat to the pasta sauce. Otherwise, you can omit the ground beef and make the lasagna entirely vegetarian.
  6. After the beef is cooked, add it to the pasta sauce in a medium sized bowl.
  7. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, egg, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. You can also add some pesto at this step to the ricotta mixture if you want as this will add a lot of flavor)
  8. When all the components are prepared, start the layering process – pasta sauce, lasagna sheets, ricotta cheese, vegetables, cheese. Repeat. You will be making ~3-4 layers so try to divide the ingredients into thirds or quarters.
  9. The last layer will finish with pasta sheets and be covered with pasta sauce and then cheese.
  10. Bake for 40 minutes covered with aluminum foil. Then bake for an additional 10 minutes uncovered to brown the top and melt the cheese. ENJOY!

Quick Tips –

  • Adding a little oil to the boiling water can keep the noodles from sticking. When they are done cooking, remove them and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Spray each of the noodles with cooking spray to keep them from sticking together while you prepare other parts of the lasagna