I've been trying to work more vegetarian meals into my diet and have been experimenting with the perfect lasagna for some time. I finally found the perfect addition - potatoes! While it may be no surprise that more carbs makes something better, they also added a lovely firmness to the lasagna texture that I hadn't expected. Another interesting aspect is that this lasagna is not tomato-sauce based. Instead, I stuck white elements and topped the lasagna with slices of heirloom tomatoes and shredded parmesan. —amelinda
strips lasagna, I prefer whole wheat
zucchini, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces, then quartered
large red onion, chopped
cloves garlic, chopped
dried red pepper
dried basil leaves
very large heirloom tomato, horizontally cut into 1/2 inch slices
First, use olive oil to grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish, set aside. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Boil 4 quarts of water with a few dashes of salt, then cook lasagna noodles to al dente – for me, this was approximately 6 minutes. Set out three stainless steel bowls – you will be using them to hold the three of the layers: the cheese mixture, the potatoes, and the tomatoes. Once pasta is done cooking (I usually use this time to shred/chop the other items), drain but don’t rinse, then lay out lasagna noodles in a single layer on waxed paper, somewhere out of the way.
Using that same pot (rinsed and dried), pour a little olive oil to coat the bottom, bring the burner to medium-high heat and dump the bag of spinach in. Allow to wilt slightly, then add the zucchini, chopped onion, garlic and red pepper, plus salt and pepper to taste. Sauté for approximately 10 minutes, or until spinach is wilted and zucchini is soft. Let cool in the pot.
Meanwhile, in a stainless steel bowl, make the cheese mixture. Start with two eggs, lightly whisked, and then add the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese and nutmeg. Stir to blend.
Next comes the herb mixture – using the small glass bowl, combine the sage, oregano, basil and salt. Toss the potatoes with a bit of olive oil and approximately 2/3 of the herb mixture in a stainless steel bowl. Save the rest of the herbs for later.
So, to recap, at this point you should have a greased baking dish, several strips of cooked lasagna sitting on waxed paper, spinach mixture in a pot, a small glass bowl with some dried herb mixture, a cutting board with shredded parmesan on top, one stainless steel bowl filled with the cheese mixture, one filled with herbed potatoes, and one filled with slices of heirloom tomato. Now it’s time to assemble them all into one scrumptious lasagna.
Start by placing half of the potatoes in a single layer on the bottom of the pan. Follow by laying strips of lasagna on top, also in a single layer (I lay three lengthwise, then shorten one strip by a couple of inches, and lay that widthwise at the end). Spread half of the spinach mixture on top of the strips, as evenly as possible. Follow with half of the cheese mixture. Top that with the other half of the potatoes, then another layer of lasagna noodles, then the remaining spinach mixture, then the remaining cheese mixture, then the remaining lasagna noodles. At this point, I spread the slices of heirloom tomatoes evenly on the very top, sprinkle with the remainder of the herb mixture, and top with generous sprinkles of parmesan cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes, covered, in the 375-degree oven. Then remove cover and bake for an additional 15. Let stand for at least 5 minutes, and serve!