Grilled Vegetable Lasagna

The veggies can be roasted on an oiled sheet tray in a 400° oven if grilling is not an option. While this meatless main dish takes some work, it makes a lot and freezes well. It’s not a lot more work to double the recipe, either.

1 lb eggplant, sliced crosswise 1/2″ thick
1 1/2 lb zucchini, sliced lengthwise 1/4″ thick
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
8 oz large crimini mushrooms
3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
3 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
4 cups freezer tomatoes, thawed, or 2 15 oz. cans
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
3 tsp minced garlic, divided
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 15 ounce containers part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 extra large eggs
12 lasagna noodles
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Line two large baking sheets with a triple layer of paper towels. Arrange eggplant and zucchini in a single layer on the baking sheets. Sprinkle lightly on both sides with 1 tsp. of the salt and set aside for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, clean the mushrooms by wiping with a damp paper towel and separate the caps and stems, reserving both. Chop the stems and set aside.
3. Stir the chopped herbs into the freezer tomatoes and set aside.
4. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers and saute until slightly softened. Stir in 2 tsp. garlic and mushroom stems and continue to cook and stir to soften the mushrooms. Season with the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. When most of the liquid has evaporated make a well in the center of the pan and add the tomato paste. Allow the paste to toast about 30 seconds then cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer while grilling the eggplant, zucchini, and mushroom caps.
5. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, and eggs. Mix well and set aside.
6. In a large pot or Dutch oven full of water that has been well salted cook the lasagna noodles until just barely al dente. Drain the noodles and return to a pot of cold water.
7. Prepare a charcoal grill for indirect grilling by piling the coals to the sides.
8. Rinse the eggplant and zucchini to remove the salt and pat dry. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 3 Tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp garlic. Brush over the eggplant, zucchini, and mushroom caps. Grill the veggies just until they are pliable, removing them to a sheet tray as done. Slice the mushroom caps 1/2″ thick.
9. Preheat the oven to 375°. Spray a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with non-stick spray.
10. If desired, puree the sauce with an immersion blender or counter top blender, taking care not to splash the hot liquid.
11. Spread a small amount of sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Layer 3 lasagna noodles over the sauce. Arrange the grilled eggplant over the pasta in an even layer and spread with 1/3rd of the ricotta mixture, then 1/4 of the remaining sauce and 1/4 of the mozzarella. Repeat the layers, substituting the mushrooms and then zucchini in place of the eggplant. Top the casserole with the last 3 noodles and sauce. Reserve the last mozzarella for later.
12. Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until bubbly. Remove the foil and sprinkle on the reserved mozzarella. Bake, uncovered for another 10 – 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and browned to your liking.
13. Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Servings: 12

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