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Slice of baked vegetable lasagna on a white plate

Vegetable Garden Lasagna

Course Dinner
Yield 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 8 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into julienne
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into julienne
  • 1 large onion, cut in slivers
  • 12 ounces fresh cultivated mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces lasagne noodles
  • 3 cups New Basic Tomato Sauce (I used closer to 4 cups)
  • cups Béchamel Sauce
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 5 ounces chèvre (goat cheese)
  • ½ cup slivered fresh basil leaves
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

For the New Basic Tomato Sauce (Yields 6 cups)

  • 2 cans 35 ounces each plum tomatoes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onions
  • ½ cup finely chopped carrot
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup dry red wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt, to taste
  • pinch of dried red pepper flakes optional

For the Béchamel Sauce (Yields 1 3/4 cups)

  • 4 tbsp ½ stick unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
  • cups milk
  • pinch of paprika
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Salt and ground white pepper, to taste

Instructions

Make the Tomato Sauce

  1. Drain the tomatoes, reserving 1 cup of the juice. Crush the tomatoes with the back of a spoon, and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onions, carrot, and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the onions and garlic have wilted, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, reserved juice, wine, tomato paste, and remaining ingredients. Cover, and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring once.
  4. Remove the cover and simmer another 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Make the Béchamel Sauce

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook over low, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Raise heat to medium and slowly add the milk, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Continue whisking until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Add paprika, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste; stir well. Remove from the heat. To cool this sauce for later use, cover it with wax paper or pour a film of milk over it to prevent a skin from forming.

Make the Lasagna

  1. Slice the eggplant into ¼-inch-thick rounds. Sprinkle them with the coarse salt, and let drain in a colander for 1 hour. Wipe off the salt and pat dry.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the bell peppers and onion, and sauté over medium-low heat until cooked through but not browned, 10 minutes.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, remove the peppers and onion from the skillet. Add another 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sauté the mushrooms until cooked, 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the mushrooms from the skillet, and add 3 more tablespoons olive oil. Dredge the eggplant with the flour, shaking off the excess, and sauté the slices on both sides, over medium heat, until lightly browned, adding more olive oil as needed. Transfer the cooked eggplant to paper towels.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  6. Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the lasagne, and cook at a rolling boil until just tender. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again.
  7. Spread a small amount of tomato sauce on the bottom of a 13 × 9 inch baking dish. Arrange half the lasagne noodles over the sauce. Cover with the peppers, onion, mushrooms, and eggplant, in layers. Mix the béchamel and Parmesan together, and spoon half on top of the vegetables. Crumble the chèvre over the béchamel, and sprinkle with half the basil. Top with more tomato sauce, and then another layer of lasagne noodles. Spread the remaining béchamel over the lasagne, and sprinkle with the remaining basil. Top with the remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle with the mozzarella.

  8. Cover the dish with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until brown and bubbly, another 15 minutes.

Notes

Source: my dear friend, Peggy, courtesy of The New Basics Cookbook