This Vegetarian Lasagna is the most delicious classic lasagna minus the meat. It has many layers of delicious flavor, with roasted vegetables and a rich tomato sauce and shaved broccoli to give it a thick, “meaty” texture.
You’ll need a deep dish 9″x13″ casserole or something comparable in volume
1 1-pound box of lasagna noodles (I use noodles that need to be boiled but no-boil noodles will work well too)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
For The Roasted Veggies:
1 pound of carrots peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
2 red bell peppers, seeds and ribs removed, cut into 1-inch dice
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
For The Tomato Sauce:
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons minced garlic (2 large cloves)
1 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 28-ounce cans good quality Italian plum tomatoes (I recommend San Marzano or Organic)
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1½ teaspoons dried basil
3–4 cups of shaved broccoli (from 1 or two broccoli crowns) sliced very thinly so the florets are shaved into very small bits
For Assembling The Lasagne:
1 pound of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 pound of ricotta cheese (reduced fat is fine)
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese – about ⅔ cup – plus more for sprinkling on top (I recommend Parmigiana Reggiano)
Optional Garnish: Lots of chopped fresh basil leaves (adds great flavor!)
Roast the Vegetables: Preheat oven to 425ºF. In a large bowl, toss vegetables with 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the center of the oven for 30 minutes. Toss and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes longer, or until onions are starting to brown.
Make the Sauce: While the veggies are roasting, heat 3 tablespoons oil with garlic and red pepper flakes, in a large cooking pot or dutch oven over medium heat. When the garlic starts to sizzle, let it cook, stirring constantly, for 30-45 seconds (don’t let it brown). Pour in the tomatoes, tomato paste, water, basil and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to simmer and cook, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Puree the sauce with an immersion blender or in a food processor or blender, in batches. Stir in shaved broccoli and roasted veggies.
Cook the Noodles: While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt to the water. Lower the lasagna noodles into the pot one at a time so they’re less likely to stick together. Cook until al dente, per package instructions, stirring often with a wooden spoon to separate noodles. Drain noodles, run some cool water over them, and lay them out on a sheet pan. Cover with a damp dish towel.
Assemble The Lasagna: Preheat the oven to 375ºF and set the oven rack in the center position. Spread a little sauce over the bottom of the casserole dish. Arrange a layer of 4-5 noodles on top. Cover with ⅓ of the sauce. Sprinkle on ⅓ of the mozzarella. Spoon ½ of the ricotta around evenly, in little blobs. Sprinkle on ⅓ of the parmigiana cheese. Repeat with a second layer of noodles, half the remaining sauce, half the remaining mozzarella, the rest of the ricotta, half of the remaining parmigiana. Add the final layer of noodles, the rest of the sauce, the rest of the mozzarella and parmigiana.
Cover the casserole tightly with a double layer of foil but tent it a bit so the foil doesn’t touch the top layer of cheese. Cook for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for 10-15 minutes more, until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted. Let the lasagna rest for 15-20 minutes. Slice and serve. Sprinkle with fresh basil, if you like.