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Grilled Vegetable Lasagna

a picture of splendour  This my friends is Grilled Vegetable Lasagna. It was submitted in 2005 to Cooking Light Magazine by Earthbound Farm. Here is where you can find the recipe in full.

In the spirit of contributing recipes that use several products at once and create meals that can feed several people, lasagna is a natural choice. The lack of meat makes it useful to vegetarians, health nuts, and Moms and Dads who need to get rid of wilting veggies immediately. As a huge fan of meat, I was pleasantly surprised by this addition to the menu. The sauce is light but has body, and the grilled veggies add a complexity that can only be achieved by fire. I wouldn't hesitate to sing the praises of sauteing, but nothing beats woodsmoke. 

If you are a planner of meals, good for you, because then you can easily fit most of these ingredients in one go at your farmers' market. And those who are lucky enough to reside in Philly must be able to stop by the Italian market, or as I call it, Meat, Cheese, and Pasta Wonderland for their pasta layers. 

Ingredients: 

  • eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices (about 3 pounds)
  • zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch slices (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • Cooking spray $
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided $
  • red bell peppers, quartered and seeded $
  • (15-ounce) container fat-free ricotta cheese $
  • large egg $
  • 3/4 cup grated Asiago cheese, divided $
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • lasagna noodles, divided
  • (26-ounce) jar tomato-basil spaghetti sauce (such as Muir Glen), divided $
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided $
  • 1/4 cup commercial pesto (such as Alessi)
Preparation:
  1. Preheat grill.
  2. Coat eggplants and zucchini with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Grill eggplant and zucchini 1 1/2 minutes on each side or just until tender. Cool; combine in a large bowl.
  3. Place bell peppers on grill, skin-side down; grill 3 minutes or until tender. Cut into (1-inch-wide) strips. Add bell peppers to eggplant mixture.
  4. Combine ricotta cheese, egg, 1/2 cup Asiago cheese, basil, parsley, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
  5. Cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions, omitting the salt and the fat.
  6. Preheat oven to 375°.
  7. Spread 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 noodles over tomato sauce. Top with half of eggplant mixture. Spread half of ricotta cheese mixture over eggplant mixture; sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.
  8. Arrange 3 noodles and 1 cup of spaghetti sauce over cheese; cover with the remaining eggplant mixture. Top with remaining ricotta mixture. Spread pesto over ricotta; sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Cover with remaining 3 noodles.
  9. Spoon 1 cup spaghetti sauce over noodles. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Asiago cheese and remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.
  10. Bake at 375° for 1 hour. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

 

Now, since I have met a fair number of our customers at market and know their talent for making their own sauces, I suggest you skip the bottled sauce and make your own with our heirloom tomatoes and basil from a garden. For a robust flavor choose either (or a combination of): beefsteak, cherokee purple, or Roma. For a lighter, summery flavor, mix: Pineapple, German Green, variety of cherry tomatoes, and Brandywines. I don't like super fine sauces like pizza sauce, preferring the chunky style that can be achieved by a whir or two of a processor. 

If you aren't a fan of zucchini, you can switch it out with other versions of summer squash...same consistency. slightly different flavor-perhaps nuttier. I don't like zucchinis because they taste like wet pillows...I assume.

 

Enjoy your cooking and I hope you are getting as excited for the 2013 growing season as me!

 

Cheers,

Alana

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