Make Ahead

Vegetarian Lasagna

April 13, 2014
4 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

My most daring feat as a cook so far was to subscribe to a CSA box back in 2011. Each Tuesday for 22 weeks, I faced an epic encounter with massive amounts of sustainably-grown veggies -- and I was pregnant for the third time. That summer I must have made truckloads of vegetarian lasagnas like this one, with grilled zucchini and Italian eggplants. Even if the recipe looks long, it doesn’t take much time, and you can do your preparation ahead of time. —Feed Me Dearly

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Feed Me Dearly’s favorite cooking technique is grilling, which makes this recipe particularly appropriate. (FYI: Her least favorite is poaching.)
WHAT: Lasagna gets suited for summertime with the help of the market's bounty.
HOW: Grill zucchini and eggplant until striped and charred. Layer the vegetables with homemade tomato sauce, noodles, and three types of cheese, then bake in the oven until hot and bubbling.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We love summer vegetables, but there are only so many times per week that we can eat them straight off the grill with only salt and pepper. This vegetarian lasagna adds new substance to the omnipresent zucchini and eggplant, transforming them into a dinner hearty enough to satisfy a crowd, yet fresh enough to eat with summer watermelon. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 28 ounces canned whole tomatoes
  • 28 ounces canned tomato purée
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • For the lasagna
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 to 4 medium zucchini, sliced 1/3 inch thick (they’ll shrink when cooked)
  • 2 Italian eggplants, sliced 1/3 inch thick
  • 1 egg
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 9 ounces no-boil or oven-ready lasagna noodles
  • 4 ounces goat cheese (I love the Vermont Creamery brand)
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced (you should have enough slices to cover the whole top of the lasagna)
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  1. To make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven on medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add onions and carrots. Sautée for 2 to 3 minutes, until the vegetables are beginning to soften.
  2. Add the white wine and deglaze the pan. Stir the liquid and wait for it to reduce by half. Next, add the tomatoes, the tomato purée, and the thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover partially, and cook while you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. After about 20 minutes, the vegetables should be soft enough to puree with a handheld immersion blender. If you don’t have one, break up the whole tomatoes using a wooden spoon. Taste again for seasoning -- it should taste a little on the salty side, but this will work to flavor the noodles.
  4. To make the vegetables: Preheat your grill (or grill pan) to medium-high heat. Rub olive oil into the sliced vegetables, and season with salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables for a few minutes on each side, until the grill lines are pronounced. Transfer the vegetables to a plate, and turn off the grill (or grill pan).
  5. To assemble the lasagna: Preheat the oven to 350º F. In a medium bowl, crack the egg into the ricotta, season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and mix well. Set aside. Then, set up your lasagna assembly station. You should have at the ready: tomato sauce, noodles, vegetables, and goat cheese.
  6. In a large casserole dish, start your layering. Start with the tomato sauce, spreading enough to cover the bottom of the dish (about 1/2 cup). Next, layer your noodles, overlapping them slightly. (My pan usually fits 4 noodles across.) Spread 1/3 of your ricotta mixture over the noodles.
  7. Top with a layer of zucchini (you’re aiming for 2 total layers of zucchini). Crumble half the goat cheese on top of the zucchini. Add more sauce to cover the vegetables and cheese.
  8. Repeat with the noodles and ricotta, and then layer your eggplant (you only need one layer of eggplant, so feel free to use it all). Cover the eggplant with sauce, and repeat the next layer: noodles, ricotta, zucchini. Crumble the remaining half of the goat cheese on top of your zucchini. Add more sauce to cover the vegetables and cheese, then top with a final layer of noodles, and cover with the remaining sauce.
  9. Add the mozzarella slices and sprinkle the Parmesan. If you’d like, drizzle a little olive oil over the whole lasagna, and season once more with salt and pepper.
  10. Cover with foil, and bake in the oven, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes. If the mozzarella isn’t fully melted at this point, turn on the broiler. Watch the lasgna carefully so that it doesn’t burn.
  11. Most importantly, rest your lasagna for 5 minutes before slicing so that the pieces stay intact. Serve and enjoy!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Bob Quinn
    Bob Quinn
  • Dee Greeley
    Dee Greeley
  • AJD8129
  • dymnyno
  • EmilyC

13 Reviews

Laura January 7, 2023
Hi 28 ounces of puree sounds a lot - I guess not paste but the smooth sauce that comes in large bottles. I'm British - sometimes American words are not the same in English.
So puree here means a loose smooth tomato sauce??

Alyssa November 29, 2019
Subbed mushrooms for eggplant and also added spinach. I ended up needing less than half the mozzarella. Was great! Everyone loved it.
Bob Q. August 25, 2018
Making this today, instead of another recipie I found here...sans the eggplant. Using fresh harvested mushrooms (lemon and grey oysters, lions mane and some shatakies) tomatoes, and summer squash. Just the things ready in the garden. Can't wait to get my vegitarian guests "feed"back!
Toral P. July 3, 2017
Cant wait to try this one. Can you recommend a Veg soup to go with this? I would like to serve this with a chickpea salad, garlic bread and soup. Thanks
Hallie L. April 28, 2017
Made this for friends and it got RAVE reviews! So, so good! Unfortunately I don't have a grill or grill pan - so I roasted the veggies in the oven which worked just fine, although I imagine grilled is even better. I'd love to try making a meat version - is it as easy as just substituting ground beef for the veggies, or any other suggestions? Can't wait to make this again - thank you!
Dee G. February 24, 2016
So good! This was wonderful with the four different cheeses layered in it. I used lightly smoked mozzarella which added a different dimension but didn't take away from the other flavors. Did a little pesto sauce on one layer. Definitely making this our standard veggie lasagna recipe. Thank you!
AJD8129 September 11, 2014
Yum! Made this tonight and it was great! The goat cheese was a really nice addition. I was a little worried that the final product would be too salty because there was so much salt in the ricotta mixture (even though I used only 1 tsp instead of the recommended 1.5 tsp). In the end it was fine but I might take it down to 1/2 or 3/4 tsp next time. I added red pepper to the vegetables to eggplant and zucchini since I had it on hand and also added some fresh basil to the top layer. Would probably add even more next time or maybe some pesto in between the layers. Great, flexible recipe!
Kristen August 6, 2014
Just made this tonight and it was so, SO good. We used 2 zuccs and 2 yellow squashes from our over flowing garden along with some Asian eggplant (and .5 lbs leftover ground pork to simmer in the sauce). The flavors were fantastic and we loved all the roasted veggies. Thanks for such an awesome recipe. Will be saving this one again for the future!
Feed M. August 7, 2014
Fabulous, I'm glad you liked it!
dymnyno July 4, 2014
I am always looking for new vegetarian lasagne recipes and this one sounds perfect. I am always hesitant about using sautéed zucchini because they become mushy; grilling first sort of firms up the zucchini and gives them a lot more smokey flavor. Congratulations on being a finalist.
Feed M. July 6, 2014
Thanks so much :)
EmilyC July 4, 2014
Congrats! It's such a good idea to grill vegetables for lasagna. Looking forward to making this for my family!
Feed M. July 6, 2014
Thanks, I hope you like it!