Thursday, April 2, 2009

Grilled Vegetable Lasagna

The very first thing I have to do is apologize for the photo above. What I have found is that it is really hard to photograph lasagna, especially when I kept comparing my photo to the one in my old issue of Cooking Light. Theirs is beautiful. Mine is not. I wanted a photo that would show all the beautiful layers of eggplant and roasted red peppers. A picture that would adequately show the melty combination of cheese and herbs and sauce. Unfortunately, you get this picture. However, because I have a husband who has spaghetti sauce running through his veins and because this is the best lasagna ever, I make this frequently and will have many more times to try my hand at snapping an acceptable picture. So, until then, I will think of the one above merely as a placeholder until something better comes along.

Enough about that already, though! Let's talk lasagna! March 20th was the first day of Spring, did you notice? It's time to celebrate with a dish that's full of fresh vegetables and herbs yet is still hearty enough to fill you up. I think this recipe will do you just fine.

I love eggplants, and cook with them as often as I can, but although there is a good amount of eggplant in this lasagna the real taste that shines through is of the red peppers. There is something about grilling/roasting red bell peppers that really brings out a sweetness that I can't get enough of. It goes perfectly in lasagna.

I  confess that although the recipe name says "grilled" vegetable lasagna, I don't own a grill, which is a tragedy. To improvise, I put the eggplant, zucchini, and peppers under the broiler until tender and a little browned. It doesn't take too long. For all of you lucky enough to own grills, I've written the recipe as it originally appears in Cooking Light below.
Grilled Vegetable Lasagna
Adapted from Cooking Light

3 eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices (I think that one or two large eggplants are usually enough)
3 zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch slices
1 tsp salt, divided
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 red bell peppers, quartered (or cut into 1-inch wide strips if you aren't grilling them) and seeded
1 15-oz container fat-free ricotta cheese
1 large egg
3/4 cup grated Asiago cheese, divided
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
9 lasagna noodles
1 26-oz jar tomato-basil spaghetti sauce
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup pesto sauce

1.) Preheat grill
2.) Coat eggplants and zucchini with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Grill eggplant and zucchini 1-1/2 minutes on each side or just until tender. Cool; combine in a large bowl.
3.) Place bell peppers on grill, skin side down. Grill 3 minutes or just until tender. Cut into 1-inch wide strips. Add to eggplant mixture.
4.) Combine ricotta cheese, egg, 1/2 cup Asiago cheese, basil, parsley, remaining 1/2 tsp salt and remaining 1/2 tsp black pepper.
5.) Cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions, omitting the salt and the fat (or, use no-boil noodles and skip this step entirely!)
6.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees
7.) Spread 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13" baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 noodles over tomato sauce. Top with half of the eggplant mixture. Spread half of the ricotta cheese mixture over the eggplant; sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.
8.) Arrange 3 noodles and 1 cup of spaghetti sauce over cheese; cover with remaining eggplant mixture. Top with remaining ricotta cheese mixture. Spread pesto over ricotta; sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Cover with remaining 3 noodles.
9.) Spoon 1 cup spaghetti sauce over noodles. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Asiago cheese and remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.
10.) Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

*Oh, one last comment on my lasagna photo - I overcooked it and the top turned a little too crusty. Don't do that.


  1. Seriously people. I have dreams about this lasagna. SO so delish!

  2. Haha, I was coming here to actually post that the lasagna looks great-I love how crispy it looks! Your lasagna may not show all the veggie layers like the magazine did but it still looks drool-worthy! I'd eat it!

  3. Thanks for the compliments, guys! I will cook crispy lasagna for you anytime :-)