By Emily Woodbury
Ok, I’m cheating a little bit here. This isn’t one of your recipes. This is one of my favorite recipes, written by one of my favorite vegetarian bloggers, Cookie & Kate. I’m only cheating because I felt like sneaking in a meat-free recipe loaded with vegetables was probably what we needed after a long winter full of lots of meat and maybe fewer vegetables. Am I right?
The theory goes that as humans, our primitive instincts tell us to eat more substantial foods (meat, dairy, carbs) in the winter to stockpile the calories for the dark and cold days ahead. I could include surveys and studies done to prove this, but without doing that, it seems right, doesn’t it? I don’t want steak and potatoes on July 27th when it’s a balmy 82 degrees out. I want grilled fish with pineapple salsa and a side salad (and not just because it’s not as steamy hot.) I mean…I wouldn’t say no to steak and potatoes…but you get the point.
This is a great, light (though I’d still consider it “comfort food”) meal and I highly recommend it if you’re trying to impress someone who thinks lasagna can only be prepared with meat sauce. News flash: it doesn’t.
Also, while this recipe can be followed exactly as it’s written, each time I’ve made it it’s been a little different. I always add more cheese, and I usually make a few more layers for a larger portion. It’s a little more complicated than the recipes we’ve featured in the past, so get creative and enjoy, RV chefs!
Total Time: 1 hour
Author: Cookie & Kate
- 4 Tbsp olive oil (you be the judge)
- 3 large carrots, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 5-6oz spinach
- 1 large can (28oz) diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped basil (fresh) + additional for garnish
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
- Approx. 9 no-boil lasagna noodles
- 8oz mozzarella cheese (I probably added closer to about 16oz…whoops)
- salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Once shimmering, add the carrots, bell pepper, zucchini, onion, and salt. Cook, stirring every couple of minutes, until the veggies are golden on the edges, about 8 to 12 minutes.
- Add a few large handfuls of spinach. Cook, stirring frequently until the spinach has wilted. Repeat with remaining spinach and cook until all of the spinach has wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, to prepare the tomato sauce: Pour the tomatoes into a mesh sieve or fine colander and drain off the excess juice for a minute. Then, transfer the drained tomatoes to the bowl of a food processor. Add the basil, olive oil, garlic, and salt.
- Pulse the mixture about 10 times, until the tomatoes have broken down to an easily spreadable consistency. Pour the mixture into a bowl for later (you should have a little over 2 cups sauce). Rinse out the food processor and return it to the machine.
- Pour half of the cottage cheese (1 cup) into the processor and blend it until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to large mixing bowl. No need to rinse out the bowl of the food processor this time; just put it back on the machine because you’ll need it later.
- Transfer the cooked veggies and spinach mixture to the bowl of the food processor. Pulse until they are more finely chopped (but not puréed!), about 5 to 7 times, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of whipped cottage cheese. Top with the remaining cottage cheese, then add ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt (to taste) and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stir to combine. Now it’s lasagna assembly time!
- Spread ½ cup tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of a 9” by 9” baking dish. Layer 3 lasagna noodles on top (snap off their ends to fit, and/or overlap their edges as necessary). Spread half of the cottage cheese mixture evenly over the noodles. Top with ¾ cup tomato sauce, then sprinkle ½ cup shredded cheese on top.
- Top with 3 more noodles, followed by the remaining cottage cheese mixture (we’re skipping the tomato sauce in this layer.) Sprinkle ½ cup shredded cheese on top.
- Top with 3 more noodles, then spread ¾ cup tomato sauce over the top (you may have a little sauce leftover) to evenly cover the noodles. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup shredded cheese.
- Wrap a sheet of parchment paper around the top of the lasagna (or cover the lasagna with aluminum foil, but don’t let the foil touch the cheese). Bake, covered, for 18 minutes, then remove the cover, rotate the pan by 180° and continue cooking for about 10 to 12 more minutes, until the top is turning spotty brown.
- Remove from oven and let the lasagna cool for 15 to 20 minutes, so it has time to set and cool down to a reasonable temperature. Sprinkle additional basil over the top, then slice and serve.