So remember when I mentioned that I’m way behind on my posting?
Err…yeah so here’s a perfect example. I’m totally posting this recipe, which I was originally going to call Summer Vegetable Lasagna at the end of September…oops. Hence the name change to ‘Bechemel Sauced Vegetable Lasagna’ hah!
But it’s still tasty, promise! And besides, you could easily sub in whatever produce was in season. For instance, check out my produce guide here. While it’s been customized for Ohio specifically, it will mostly apply to the US in general. So see – carrots, chard, bell peppers and zucchini are all still totally in season.
Here’s the deal though, I’m going to give it to you straight. This recipe? It’s pretty quick and streamlined but I mean, it’s a lasagna. It does take a bit of effort and there are a few dishes involved (you’re making the fillings and sauce from scratch).
If you’re one of those super organized people I highly recommend making a double batch of this on a weekend when you have a little more free time and freezing the other one for an ‘I don’t feel like cooking night’ or if you’re like me, ‘It’s 9 pm and I still have to make dinner night”.
Alas though, we’ve got a tiny apartment freezer without a shelf (insert sad face), that’s basically a jigsaw puzzle that my husband has carefully constructed and that leaves me afraid to add or pull anything out less it all come tumbling down…which is definitely has before.
But I digress. The little bit of extra effort involved since it is a lasagna? Totally becomes worth it once you sit down to dinner.
- ½ Tbsp olive oil
- 1 bunch of swiss chard, torn
- ½ lb zucchini, diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- ½ cup shredded carrot
- ¼ cup fresh minced basil
- ¾ Tbsp butter
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 ½ Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 cup skim milk
- 1 oz (about ¼ cup) shredded Parmesan cheese
- ¾ cup reduced fat ricotta cheese
- ½ cup + 2 Tbsp fat free cottage cheese – make sure to drain any excess liquid
- ¾ cup freshly shredded Fontina (could also use Emmental, a young Manchego or Gruyere)
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp each: oregano, garlic powder and thyme
- ¼ - ½ tsp crushed red pepper
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Dash of nutmeg
- 6 no-boil lasagna noodles
- Salt, to taste
- Fresh minced parsley (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- In a small bowl, combine Italian seasoning, oregano, garlic powder, thyme and crushed red pepper.
- Heat ½ Tbsp olive oil in a deep skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add vegetables (swiss chard through carrot), a bit of salt and half of seasoning mix from small bowl; sauté 10 minutes or until tender and most of liquid has evaporated (from vegetables). Stir in fresh minced basil and set aside.
- While vegetables are cooking, combine ricotta, cottage cheese, ¼ cup of Fontina, and remaining spice mixture.
- In another small bowl, whisk together milk and cornstarch until well combined. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Give milk/cornstarch mix another stir then gradually add milk, continuously whisking until combined. Cook for another 4 – 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in the Parmesan until the Parmesan has melted and combined. Whisk in a dash of nutmeg, season to taste with salt and pepper then set aside.
- Spread 2 tablespoons white sauce in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 2 noodles over milk mixture; top with half of ricotta mixture, half of vegetable mixture, and 1/2 cup milk mixture. Repeat layers, ending with noodles. Spread remaining milk mixture over noodles. Sprinkle with remaining half cup of cheese and additional Parmesan (if desired but will push nutritional info up). Bake at 375°, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
- If desired, sprinkle with fresh minced parsley before serving.