Vegetarian lasagna layered with creamy ricotta, aromatic tomato and vegetable sauce and mozzarella cheese is the perfect meat free dinner recipe.
You know in FRIENDS where Monica says she could show a piece of cake a good time? I get it. I often feel that way about food. Most recently, I felt that way about this lasagna. This lasagna with its rich, cheesiness and flavors of basil, tomato and mushrooms. Yep, I could definitely show this lasagna a good time. And then there’s the fact that this is vegetarian. You would never be able to tell though! The basil pesto, creamy ricotta layer and rich tomato sauce combined with al dente pasta sheets create a really indulgent dish.
It’s also much easier to prepare than a classic lasagna. No waiting around for the meat sauce to cook. You simply combine a few tins of chopped tomatoes with some sautéed mushrooms and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes. I decided to keep it quite simple by using only mushrooms and chunks of eggplant in the sauce. But you could add spinach, zucchini, kale or peppers too.. I find that the mushrooms add a lot of meaty texture and flavor and combined with the tomato creates a lot of umami-depth which I am such a fan of. But for now, I’m going to shut up and just let you look at it for a while. Drooling yet?
What vegetables to use in vegetarian lasagna:
Can you freeze vegetarian lasagna?
Yes, this lasagna freezes very well. Assemble the lasagna fully (except for the last layer of mozzarella cheese) in a foil roasting container. Press a sheet of parchment paper onto the surface then wrap tightly with foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. To bake: Remove the sheet of parchment paper then cover with the foil and bake until a knife can easily be inserted. Top with grated mozzarella and bake until golden brown.
Do I need to cook lasagna noodles/pasta?
Most lasagna sheets don’t need cooking before layering with the sauce. I never pre-boil lasagna sheets. Unless the packaging instructs you to cook the pasta, I wouldn’t bother. Baking it for long enough will ensure the pasta will be cooked through.
Vegetarian dinner recipes:
- Creamed spinach stuffed butternut squash
- Pasta with basil cream sauce
- Eggplant involtini
- Creamy spinach baked ravioli
Vegetarian lasagna with basil pesto and ricotta
for the mushroom-tomato sauce
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 500 g mushrooms sliced
- 2 medium eggplant peeled and cubed
- 4 garlic cloves sliced
- 800 g (28oz) crushed tomatoes
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 fresh oregano/rosemary sprig
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ cup water
for the ricotta layer
- 2 cups (approx 500g) ricotta cheese
- 3 tbsp heavy/ whipping cream
- 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- 250 g (½lb) uncooked lasagna sheets
- ½ cup basil pesto
- 2 cups mozzarella grated
- To make the tomato sauce, sauté the onion until soft and translucent. Add the mushrooms and eggplant and cook until golden brown then add the garlic, tomatoes and herbs. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes then season to taste.
- In the meanwhile, combine the ricotta, cream and Parmesan in the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Season to taste.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
- To assemble, add a bit of tomato sauce to the bottom of a casserole dish then top with a few lasagna sheets. Add a layer of ricotta and dollop on 2-3 teaspoons basil pesto. Scatter over some of the mozzarella then add a layer of tomato sauce. Reserve 1 cup of mozzarella for the top. Add another layer of pasta and continue to layer. Finish with a layer of sauce then cover with foil and place in the oven.
- Place in the oven and allow to bake for 30-45 minutes until a knife can be inserted easily which indicates the pasta is fully cooked. Top with with remaining mozzarella cheese and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.