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A Vegetable Lasagna Recipe with the Sunshine of the Mediterranean

This easy vegetable lasagna recipe is really the best vegetarian lasagna I’ve ever tasted. The vegetables are roasted in the oven to bring out rich, smoky flavors. In fact, the dish is so full of flavor and has such a wide appeal; it is a great choice for even the most meat-loving of dinner guests.

Ingredients

Extra virgin olive oil
lasagna sheets (no-precook)
1 eggplant or aubergine
2 zucchini or courgettes
500g/1 pound of fresh tomatoes (I like to use whole cherry tomatoes- directly imported from Holland by Al Jazira- They are sweet and look really pretty. If you use larger tomatoes, chop them roughly)
1 red pepper
1 white or red onion
2-4 cloves of crushed garlic
Small bunch of fresh basil
About 2 tablespoons of roughly chopped black olives
2/3 cup/ 75g/3oz grated mozzarella
1/3 cup/50g grated parmesan
3 cups/600g of cottage cheese or ricotta

Method:

1. For this vegetable lasagna recipe, you need to start by roasting the vegetables.
Toss the courgette (zucchini) and aubergine (eggplant) into a roasting tin with the cherry tomatoes, onion, pepper and garlic. Add about 3 tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and stir well.

2. Place in a hot oven – 200c/400F – for 45 minutes to an hour until the vegetables are very soft and starting to brown.

3. When the vegetables are cooked remove from the oven, stir in the olives and basil.

4. Now you are ready to start layering the vegetarian lasagna. Put one third of the vegetable mixture at the base of a heatproof baking dish. Cover with one third of the mozzarella and follow with a layer of lasagna sheets. Add a layer of cottage cheese using one third of the total.

5. Repeat these layers, finishing with a layer of cottage cheese and sprinkle with parmesan.

6. Bake for about 30-40 minutes until golden.
And enjoy.

If you are unsure about using cottage cheese in this vegetable lasagna recipe, just try it once.  You might just be surprised - most people are. It is a deliciously light and low fat option - a great excuse to add a green salad, a chunk of Italian bread and a big glass of red wine!


Though bland, tofu blots up the flavor of sauces, dressing and soups.  It's packed with protein, so a great alternative when meat is not on the menu.

There are two forms of tofu: firm tofu comes vacuum-packed in blocks or fresh. It's used in cooked dishes, for stir-frying, braising and poaching. Smoking firm tofu adds flavor. It can also be bought in blocks, tanned to a russet brown.

The softer silken tofu comes in cartons, or fresh, and is good for using in soups. It's made from thicker soya milk and the excess liquid isn't drained.

TIPS

Tofu may be kept in the fridge for up to five days, as long as the water is changed daily.

If tofu is stored in water, you'll need to get rid of all the moisture before frying. Press the cakes of tofu for about an hour.

Place between two boards, or wrap first, then weight down with something heavy.

USES

1. Adds small cubes of tofu to miso soup or a Thai curry

2. Lightly sear slices or cubes of firm tofu in a non-stick pan. Or coat thick slices of firm or pressed tofu with cornflour just before frying, then deep-fry in hot sunflower or peanut oil until crisp and golden. Drain and serve immediately.  
Either way, top with shreds of ginger and spring onion and sprinkle with soy sauce and sesame oil. 
If you like, add a dash of Chinese black vinegar and a little chili oil. Or serve with a dipping sauce: 3/4 cup dashi broth, 3 T soya sauce and 3 T mirin, brought to a simmer, then cooled.

3. Add tofu to vegetable stir-fries. Blanch a 500g mix of cut vegetables in salted boiling water for a few minutes. Drain well. Deep-fry cubes of firm or pressed tofu in hot peanut oil, remove and drain.
Pour off the oil, leaving about 1 T of chopped garlic and 2 - 3 T chopped spring onions. Stir-fry briefly. Add vegetables, 1 T of dry sherry, 3 T water or stock. Cover and reduce the heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes, and then add the fried tofu. Heat through, sprinkle with sesame oil and season to taste.

4. Make tofu mayonnaise: blend 200g tofu with 1/4 cup peanut oil, 2 T sesame oil, 1 t soy sauce, 1 crushed clove garlic, 1 chunk peeled and grated ginger, and salt to taste.