Beauty in the Eye of the Lasagna

I made this lasagna because it was pretty.  There I said it:  I am a shallow cook.  But really, the fresh tomatoes, the crispy breaded top, the waves of golden noodles… it is truly a beautiful dish.  It actually wasn’t until I took a second look at my grocery list that I realized the recipe called for no cheese.  Well, that would have to be changed.  The idea of lasagna without cheese quite near literally breaks my heart.  I can get by without ricotta (in fact I had to train myself to get by with ricotta), but the burnt cheese on the top of the lasagna happens to be  my favorite part.

So my version includes cheese and it seems to be a hit.  After a bit of grunting and shoveling, Courtney and I looked at each other and agreed that it was only Monday, but the rest of the week’s recipes had a tough act to follow.  Side note: Monday is an excellent day to make lasagna… you can eat it all week!

Vegetable and Sweet Potato Lasagna

from My Green Diet 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz white or baby bella mushrooms, finely diced (shhhh! don’t tell Courtney!)
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • Herbs of choice (I used fresh thyme, basil, and dried oregano)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 24 oz jar of prepared tomato marinara sauce
  • 2 cups of pureed sweet potato
  • 9 whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 2-3 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 8oz shredded mozzarella

Directions:

1. Cook the sweet potatoes as desired (bake, microwave, boil).  I cut the sweet potatoes and boiled until soft.  I do not peel my sweet potatoes (heck I don’t peel anything but oranges… even kiwi!)  I’ve never understood throwing away the most nutritious part.  But peel them if you must.  Mash the potatoes with a masher or hand mixer and  set aside.

2. In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms, red bell pepper, carrot, herbs, salt, and pepper. Sauté for 8-10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and mix well. Add ½ the jar of marinara sauce or about 1 ½ cups. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and remove from heat.

3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.  To assemble, start with a layer of noodles, followed by 1/2 the vegetable mixture, spread evenly and sprinkle 1/3 shredded cheese.  Next comes another layer of noodles, followed by the rest of the vegetable mixture.  Now spread the sweet potato evenly, top with 1/2 the remaining marinara sauce, and sprinkle with 1/3 the cheese. Top with the remaining noodles and spread the remainder of the marinara sauce and the remaining cheese over top. Cover the lasagna with thinly sliced tomatoes and sprinkle the breadcrumbs.  Don’t worry too much about how you layer the lasagna.  It will work out, I promise

4. Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the tin foil and cook another 15 minutes.  If you share my affinity for slightly burnt cheese on top of your lasagna, at this point change your oven to broil and cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is browned and crispy.

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5 Comments

  1. Hi! I am so glad you made my lasagna and loved it. Thank you for sharing. I actually love your cheese idea, too- Adding a little without going overboard. xoxo- Mary at mygreendiet

    • Anything that is so good that my husband doesn’t know he’s eating mushrooms has to be an awesome dish. My mother-in-law is making it tonight, so it’s getting lots of love in our family! Thank you for the recipe!

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