With a kindergartener now (seriously though, where has the time gone?!) and a slew of after school activities, I'm finding myself in the "what the fuck can I pull out of my ass" level of panic for week night dinners. I need something filling but not fatty. Something healthy and still delicious that the kids won't give me trouble eating. The solution?
It's actually way healthier than a casserole, especially if you stick to a tomato based sauce which is like no calories. All of the fat comes from the cheese, which using part skim and low fat ricotta helps to mitigate. Added bonus -- it totally sneaks in all the veggies in the world and they love it, and I love giving it to them. I add a side salad to make it a full meal, or sometimes some baked meatballs on the side (future post). But for a week night meal, this is perfect. And helps you use up any leftover veggies as well!
Here I use the usual suspects of the summer vegetable spectrum: grilled zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, red bell pepper, and asparagus and layer them with no-boil lasagna sheets (hello easy!), a quick mixture of ricotta cheese, egg, roasted garlic and salt and pepper, a basic store-bought marinara sauce and some cheese on top. I'll compose the lasagna the day before my busy day, then simply bake it off when I get home from our chaotic afternoon and it's ready in less than 25 minutes. Add the salad or some fresh fruit and voila! Dinner is served. You can use an vegetable combination you like, but you won't go wrong with this recipe. And no time to grill them? Simply toss them in olive oil and roast them in the oven.
Grilled Summer Vegetable Lasagna
1 small Italian eggplant, ends cut off and sliced 1/4" thick
2 zucchini, ends cut off and sliced lengthwise 1/4" thick
2 large summer squash, ends cut off and sliced slengthwise 1/4" thick
1 large red bell pepper, ends trimmed and seeded then cut into quarters
1/2 bunch asparagus, tough ends trimmed
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp roasted garlic (or 2 cloves fresh), minced
1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
no boil lasagna pasta sheets
1 jar marinara sauce
1 bag shredded mozzarella cheese
Take the vegetables and drizzle liberally with olive oil, then season them with salt and pepper. Grill until tender, or roast in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until tender. Take the bell pepper and slice it. Set vegetables aside.
Combine the ricotta cheese, garlic, basil, and some salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Set aside.
Take your lasagna dish you plan to use and spoon out some of the sauce so it covers one even layer on the bottom. Layer out your lasagna sheets to fit. Add 1/2 of the ricotta mixture in one even layer, then 1/2 of the vegetables right on top. Spoon some of the marinara sauce over, then add a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese. Add another layer of lasagna sheets, then the rest of the ricotta mixture on top, then the rest of the vegetables, some sauce and cheese, and finish with a top layer of lasagna. Pour the rest of the marinara sauce right over covering the entire top; it's ok if it drips on the sides. Add a generous layer of mozzarella cheese right on top.
Cover and refrigerate or place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and cheese is beginning to turn golden brown. Let stand 3-4 minutes before slicing, then serve.