This post was originally published here on April 28, 2014. I’ve since updated the text and photographs. I hope you give this easy, vegetarian stovetop lasagna a try!
Lasagna. The mac daddy of Winter comfort food.
But heck, we’re not even close to Winter right now. In fact, it’s still technically Summer. So what on Earth am I doing waxing poetic about lasagna? An especially good question if you consider how vocal I’ve been about my desires to remain in the present. And my borderline obsessive urging for us all to just take a breath and enjoy one season at a time (back the f*ck up, pumpkin!).
Well, the good news is I haven’t changed my mind. Or gotten off my soapbox. It’s still Summer, damn it! So today, I’m bringing you a Summer-friendly Vegetable Skillet Lasagna.
Bet you didn’t see that one coming?!?!
This Vegetable Skillet Lasagna has a lot of traditional components that make a lasagna a “proper lasagna”. Pasta noodles, mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese and tomato sauce all make an appearance here. But this dish is also fully loaded with late Summer vegetables. Ribbons of carrots and zucchini make up a big chunk of the layers, cutting the overall noodle load in half. The sauce is made from fresh tomatoes and basil. And a couple generous handfuls of spinach give it extra plant-power.
Oh and did I mention you don’t even need to turn your oven on? Everything is assembled and cooked in a skillet on your stovetop. Which means a little less sweat-factor for the chef. We still had temperatures in the 90’s here last week. I certainly wasn’t about to bake a whole lasagna in that oppressive heat!
Some quick notes on the recipe. If you can, try not to skip out on making the homemade tomato sauce. It really does make a noticeable difference in the overall taste of the lasagna. And it only takes about 15 minutes. The sauce might be a little thinner than what you typically see from a jar. But that’s OK. I find that recipes with no-bake/oven ready lasagna noodles actually need a little bit more liquid because the absorption factor of the pasta is higher. After you’ve finished assembling all the layers, your skillet will be FULL FULL FULL (especially if you use a 10-inch skillet)! You can gently push down on the ingredients to help flatten them some. But everything WILL shrink as it cooks. Have faith! And lastly, this lasagna isn’t particularly slice-able. It’s more of a scoop-it-out-onto-your-plate kind of a situation. So the end result may not be the prettiest, but it will be delicious!
For the Tomato Sauce
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 lbs tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
For the Lasagna
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- About 9 sheets no-bake/oven ready lasagna noodles
- 1 medium carrot, trimmed and peeled
- 1 medium zucchini, trimmed
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, thinly sliced
- Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, basil, salt and black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes. The tomatoes should be softened and starting to break down. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow everything to cool slightly. Then carefully transfer the tomato mixture to your blender or food processor with the blade attachment and process until mostly smooth. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and black pepper. Set aside.
- Using your vegetable peeler, peel the carrot and zucchini into thin ribbons. Set aside.
- Set a 10- to 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup of the tomato sauce to the skillet. Then lay 2-3 lasagna noodles over the sauce, breaking them to fit. Top with half of the zucchini ribbons, carrot ribbons and spinach. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Spoon half of the ricotta mixture over top (just drop it in tablespoons) along with 1/3 of the sliced mozzarella cheese. Then pour 3/4 cups of the tomato sauce over top.
- Repeat these layers a second time.
- Finish building the lasagna by topping it with 2-3 lasagna noodles, 1 cup of the tomato sauce and the remaining mozzarella cheese. Your skillet will be full, but the lasagna will shrink as the vegetables cook down. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and cook over low-medium heat for 20-25 minutes. The sauce should be simmering around the edges.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and allow the lasagna to rest for 10 minutes. Top with the sliced basil and serve.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Recipe barely adapted from the Food Network Magazine
All images and text ©