I must admit that I have looked skeptically upon meat-less lasagna. Could it even be lasagna without the integral meaty flavor that permeates the dish? Would Whole-Wheat Vegetable Lasagna even be close to as delicious as its meaty cousin?
What I found when I stripped away the meat was a subtly fragrant vegetable flavor that allowed the cheese and herbs to shine! I found this hearty vegetable lasagna to be even more filling that my more classic version! And just as delicious!
The zucchini was perfectly cooked, so that it had just a little crunch and zero of the sogginess that I hate; the portabella mushrooms added a meaty texture; my hearty, homemade tomato sauce was the perfect consistency and balance of flavor; and the fresh herbs that I mixed into a generous portion of ricotta accentuated the vegetables. Perfection!
Even my husband couldn’t resist the beautiful layers of zucchini, squash, portabella mushrooms and cheese. Irresistible!
While I won’t be throwing out my classic lasagna recipe any time soon, I plan on making this healthy, vegetable version as an exciting option for years to come!
A few technical notes about the construction of this dish:
I really like the flat lasagna noodle because they allow me to layer in more vegetables in the same amount of space. If you cannot find flat noodles, then you will probably only be able to fit two full layers of vegetables. I also prefer to use fresh whole-wheat noodles because I like their texture, but if you choose to use dried, make sure to cook them until they are al dente prior to assembling your lasagna.
I thickened my sauce by using an additional can of diced tomatoes and cooking the sauce until it had the consistency of a thick stew. A thicker sauce will make the lasagna more cohesive because the vegetables have a higher water content than a traditional meat sauce. No one wants runny lasagna!
The use of a mandoline help tremendously by quickly and uniformly slicing the zucchini and yellow squash. If you do not have a mandoline be sure to plan a little extra time to either slice with a knife or with a vegetable peeler.