When I ventured off to college, I often found myself longing my mother’s classic lasagna. And whenever I went home on breaks, that was always the first meal I requested. It contains the perfect homemade sauce coupled with a blend of classic italian seasonings that causes it to burst with flavor. I never thought the day would come when I would be able to change it and create this delicious vegetarian lasagna!
When I decided that I needed to finally start cooking like an appropriate adult, that classic lasagna was the recipe I made my priority to master. It’s the perfect dish to cook for dinner, then pack and reheat for lunch the following afternoon. This comes especially handy when you know you’re going to have a hectic, busy week.
For years to come, that classic lasagna became a staple dish in my home. However, I started to realize that a meal heavy in cheese, carbs and meat is not something I should be eating frequently. I then decided that I needed to increase the amount of vegetables in my diet (You can get all the protein you need from plants and other foods) and start to steer away from the my favorite carb overloading cuisine.
I attempted to replace my mother’s meat based lasagna with various vegetarian lasagna recipes in the hopes that I could incorporate a healthier diet within my favorite meals. To my disappointment, many of the recipes I discovered were underwhelming and lacked that homemade zest (who uses store bought spaghetti sauce?!) that I became so accustomed with.
Feeling creative and confident, I decided to stop looking for the perfect recipe and instead fix the problem myself. I adapted the classic lasagna recipe I knew so well, and improved it to make it delicious and healthier! I found a variety of recipes and extracted the parts that I liked, while keeping the signature pieces of that classic lasagna I grew up loving. Packed with vegetables and completely meat-free, this dish I created has less fat, less carbs, more fiber and is still exploding with those classic Italian flavors that we all love.
Grab a glass of wine. Preheat the oven. And get ready to begin creating this healthy and delicious vegetarian lasagna!
Serving Size: 8-10 people
- 1/2 cup grated carrots
- 16oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
- 1 large, thinly sliced zucchini
- 16oz. sliced mushrooms
- 1 medium-size chopped yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tablespoon minced basil
- 6 cooked lasagna noodles
- 12oz. tomato paste
- 4oz. water
- 16oz. tomato sauce
- 3cups cottage cheese (substitute for ricotta cheese, which is very high in fat)
- 2 beaten eggs
- 4cups mozzarella cheese (opt for 2 cups if you want to further reduce the fat content)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Cook noodles according to package. Drain and set aside.
- Mix onion, carrots, and garlic in skillet. Cook on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until onions are carmelized.
- Once onions are cooked, add tomato sauce, paste, water, 1/2tsp. salt, and basil to skillet. Let simmer on low heat for 15-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In a large mixing bowl, add spinach, cottage cheese, eggs, parsley, ½ tsp. salt, and parmesan cheese together. Mix thoroughly.
- In 9×13 glass pan, spread ½ cup (or thin layer) of cooked tomato sauce on bottom
- Then layer in this order:
- 3 noodles
- ½ cottage cheese mixture
- ½ tomato sauce
- ½ sliced mushrooms
- ½ sliced zucchinis
- ½ mozzarella cheese (1 cup or 2 cups depending on your preference)
- Repeat this sequence one more time and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.
- Bake in 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
- Let it stand for about 10 minutes before serving.
- Be sure to follow my tips on how to get the most nutrition from the vegetables in your dish!
- Want to save time? Create the cottage cheese mixture and refrigerate it in a air sealed container up to two nights before you bake the dish! I personally don’t like to do this simply because I find it relaxing baking the entire dish at once with a good glass of my favorite red wine.
What are your favorite dishes that you grew up enjoying, and still make to this day?