Lasagna is a great choice for entertaining guests. It can be prepared in advance, and simply popped in the oven, so that when company comes you can spend your time mingling instead of standing over the stove! Experiment with Vegetable Lasagna with Homemade Tomato Sauce recipe by varying the vegetables used, adding cooked lean ground beef or chicken, changing the spices – the options are endless! This also makes a great dish to bring to parties and potlucks. And, as always, this revamped recipe has just a fraction of the calories and fat of traditional lasagna. The tomato sauce recipe used in this dish is an excellent source of lycopene and antioxidants.
Vegetable Lasagna with Homemade Tomato Sauce
- 1 large saucepan
- 1 single layer on aluminum foil
- 1 large non-stick skillet
- 1 oven
- 9 lasagna noodles - about 8 ounces (again - if you are in a hurry, substitute the “no-boil” lasagna noodles)
- 1½ teaspoons olive oil
- ⅓ cup carrot, finely chopped or grated
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 2 cups fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped (if using canned, 1 large can drained and rinsed)
- 3 cups broccoli (including stems), coarsely chopped
- 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (10 ounces)
- 1 container nonfat ricotta cheese (15 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced (or 1/2 tablespoon dried)
- 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1½ cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cans whole peeled tomatoes, undrained (16 ounces each)
- 2 cans no salt added tomato paste (6 ounces each)
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- ¼ red wine
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- ½ tablespoon Italian seasoning
- Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil; Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. While sauce cooks, begin preparing lasagna.
to prepare the Lasagna:
- Cook lasagna noodles according to the package directions (but omit the salt called for). Drain noodles and rinse well under cold water. Place in a single layer on aluminum foil. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add carrot and garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 more minutes. Reduce the heat, add the broccoli, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and stir in spinach.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine ricotta, parsley, oregano, cornstarch, and black pepper in a small bowl. fold in 1 1/4 cups of the mozzarella cheese.
- Lightly spray a 13 by 9 glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread 2 tablespoons of the tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange 3 noodles over the sauce and spread with 1/2 the cheese mixture, followed by 1/2 the vegetable mixture. Pour about 1/3 of the remaining tomato sauce over vegetables.
- Repeat layers, ending with last 3 noodles on top. Pour the remainder of the tomato sauce over noodles; Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake for 10 additional minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
To ensure the best results and elevate your Vegetable Lasagna with Homemade Tomato Sauce, here are some valuable cooking tips and insights on common mistakes to avoid:
- Layering Technique: When assembling the lasagna, ensure an even distribution of sauce, vegetables, and cheese between the layers. This will create a harmonious blend of flavors throughout the dish. Make sure to end with a layer of cheese for a delightful golden crust.
- Preparing the Tomato Sauce: Take the time to simmer the homemade tomato sauce on low heat to allow the flavors to meld together. This slow cooking process will result in a rich and robust sauce. Remember to season it well with herbs like basil, oregano, and a pinch of red pepper flakes for a touch of heat.
- Proper Vegetable Preparation: When using fresh vegetables, it’s important to slice them uniformly to ensure even cooking. Additionally, consider pre-cooking or sautéing certain vegetables like eggplant or mushrooms to enhance their texture and prevent them from releasing excess moisture during baking.
- Resting Period: Once the lasagna is baked to perfection, resist the temptation to serve it immediately. Let it rest for about 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving. This allows the layers to set and helps the flavors meld together, resulting in a more cohesive and enjoyable eating experience.
- Cheese Selection: Experiment with different types of cheese to add depth and complexity to your lasagna. A combination of mozzarella, Parmesan, and ricotta cheese works wonders, but don’t be afraid to add your own twist with provolone, fontina, or goat cheese for added creaminess and flavor.
Serving Your Vegetable Lasagna with Homemade Tomato Sauce
To truly enhance the dining experience with your Vegetable Lasagna with Homemade Tomato Sauce, consider the following serving suggestions and recommendations:
- Complementary Sides and Garnishes: Serve the lasagna with a fresh green salad tossed in a light vinaigrette to provide a refreshing contrast to the rich flavors. A side of garlic bread or crusty Italian bread is also a wonderful addition to mop up any extra sauce. Garnish each serving with a sprinkle of freshly chopped basil or parsley for a burst of freshness.
- Versatile Variations: While the lasagna is a complete meal on its own, you can also pair it with other Italian-inspired dishes. Serve it alongside a classic Caprese salad, roasted vegetables, or even a creamy mushroom risotto for a more elaborate feast.
- Individual Portion Presentation: For a stylish twist, consider assembling the lasagna in individual ramekins or small baking dishes. This not only adds an elegant touch but also allows for personalized servings, making it perfect for dinner parties or special occasions.
- Buffet-Style Delight: If you’re hosting a gathering or potluck, cut the lasagna into smaller squares and place them on a platter. This way, guests can easily help themselves to bite-sized portions, and you can offer a variety of sides and accompaniments to create a delightful buffet spread.
- Leftover Reinvention: Don’t fret if you have leftovers! Simply reheat individual portions in the oven or microwave for a quick and satisfying meal. You can also repurpose the lasagna by slicing it into smaller pieces and serving it as a filling for sandwiches or wraps.
Can I prepare the Vegetable Lasagna with Homemade Tomato Sauce in advance?
Absolutely! You can assemble the Vegetable Lasagna with Homemade Tomato Sauce ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours before baking. This allows the flavors to meld together even more, resulting in a more delicious dish.
How long does the lasagna keep?
If stored properly in an airtight container in the refrigerator, your Vegetable Lasagna with Homemade Tomato Sauce will stay fresh for up to 3-4 days.
Can I freeze the lasagna?
Yes, you can freeze the unbaked lasagna for up to three months. Simply assemble it, cover tightly with foil, and place it in the freezer. When ready to enjoy, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before baking as directed.
Can I use store-bought tomato sauce instead of homemade?
Absolutely! While homemade tomato sauce adds a special touch, you can use high-quality store-bought tomato sauce as a time-saving alternative. Look for one with natural ingredients and a rich flavor profile.
Can I add meat to the lasagna?
Certainly! If you prefer a meaty version, you can incorporate cooked ground beef, sausage, or even shredded chicken between the layers. Just make sure to cook the meat thoroughly before adding it to the lasagna.
Discover the secrets to a perfect Vegetable Lasagna with Homemade Tomato Sauce in our latest blog post. From expert cooking tips to creative serving ideas, we’ve curated everything you need to create a memorable dining experience. Don’t keep this recipe to yourself – share it with others and subscribe for more culinary delights.