When I told Mr. Stranded that I was going to make a vegetable lasagna as a starter for the September birthday party, he let out an audible groan. Huh? A groan? I had never made vegetable lasagna for him before, so why the groan?
As I was pulling the lasagna noodles off the grocery store shelf, Mr. Stranded told me a tale of how long ago, his mom had bought a vegetable lasagna from Costco with some creamy sauce and he thought it was disgusting. I started laughing because I knew exactly what he was talking about! My mother, who never buys prepared foods, also bought the Costco vegetable lasagna long ago and it really was gross! Perhaps it was the newness of the warehouse clubs that caused both of our mothers to give this pre-made lasagna a shot. Who knows? It's been easily at least 15-20 years, but we both remember that Costco lasagna vividly. So for all of you wondering, this roasted vegetable lasagna is nothing like the Costco lasagna and far healthier.
So now that I've quenched your fears, this is a light, ricotta-free lasagna that is perfect as a starter. This warm, inviting dish awakens the taste buds for the courses to follow.
Roasted Vegetable Lasagna Recipe
Yields: approx 15 small starter servings or 6 dinner servings
2 small eggplants, sliced vertically
8 oz spinach leaves
9 lasagna noodles, cooked (see note above)
8 Roma tomatoes, sliced
1 c basil leaves
1 c oregano leaves + a little more for garnish
1 c shaved Parmesan cheese
1 c grated mozzarella cheese
1. Place eggplant slices in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Allow to drain for 30 minutes. Using a wet paper towel, wipe the salt and moisture off eggplant slices.
2. Brush eggplant slices with olive oil. Pan fry or grill until golden on both sides, approx 15-20 minutes total. Set aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place spinach in boiling water for 10 seconds to blanch, then drain well and rinse under cold water.
4. Coat a 7x11 ceramic baker with cooking spray. Place three lasagna noodles in the baker, over-lapping slightly. Top with slices of tomato, basil, oregano, eggplant and spinach. Sprinkle with Parmesan and mozzarella. Repeat for a second layer.
5. For the final layer, place lasagna noodles on top of second layer and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with cheeses, then top with tomato slices and extra oregano. (If preparing in advance, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for one-hour prior to baking.)
6. Bake for 40 minutes or until cooked through.
Source: Donna Hay's The New Cook