One of our favourite family dishes is my Roasted Vegetable Lasagna, but unless you have roasted vegetables on hand, it can take a little bit of time to prepare. The last couple of times I made the recipe I decided to play around with it to speed things up. Instead of using roasted vegetables, I stir fried them, cutting down the cooking time by about 20 minutes. The thinner you chop the vegetables the quicker they cook. I also added some cannellini beans to the recipe for some extra protein. As my family are a bit unsure about beans from time to time, I squished some of them up a bit with a fork to blend them into the sauce. If your family are really unsure about them, you could actually mash the beans before adding them to the sauce, adding flavour, texture and nutrition without giving away the secret ingredient! I still make my original recipe when I have roasted veggies on hand, but this makes a great change on busier days.
To serve 4 to 6 people you need:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, mild olive oil if possible
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise, and then in half moons
3 to 4 red, green, yellow or orange peppers, de-seeded and sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms, optional
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon celery salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
2 to 3 generous tablespoons pesto OR 1 teaspoon dried basil
2 – 14 ounce cans passata (sieved tomatoes) or 3 cups plain tomato sauce
½ cup water
1 – 14 ounce (400 gram) can cannellini beans, drained
(you can crush them if you like)
1 large package ready to use (no pre-cooking required) lasagna sheets
3 cups of your favorite grated cheeses – our favourite combo is equal parts of cheddar and mozzarella
(If you want to keep this recipe really vegetarian, be sure to use cheeses that have been made without animal rennet.)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (about 175ºC).
Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan with a lid over medium heat. Add the onion, zucchini and peppers and stir fry until they begin to soften (about 5 minutes). Stir in the mushrooms, if using and continue to cook.
Add the oregano, dried basil (if using) celery salt, and pepper.
Stir in the passata or tomato sauce. I like to rinse each can with a quarter cup of water, adding it to the sauce, as it makes sure I use all the sauce, and I also find it makes the sauce a better texture for lasagna.
Add the cannellini beans and pesto (if using). Stir through, pop the lid on and simmer over medium heat for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
Put a layer of lasagna noodles in a 13 x 9 inch pan. Add a layer of sauce followed by one of cheese. Repeat two more times, finishing with the cheese.
Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is beginning to turn a nice shade of golden brown. Serve with salad and/ or garlic bread. This time I tried my Mom’s Frugal Garlic Bread recipe using leftover bagels. I’m really glad I did!