April 27, 2010

Vegetable lasagne

I have just come from the kitchen and thought I'd better get this down now while it is still fresh in my mind.  I haven't had vegetarian lasagne in a long, long time. I think I have been put off it for two main reasons-
1) It takes hours to prepare
2) The boys will hate it

If I get one out of two then that is OK. I am as surprised as you are when I tell you that I was 100% correct- the boys hated it!
 Actually that is not really a fair statement because Max didn't even taste it. I picked him up from a late birthday party at a rock climbing centre and on the way home he asked what was for dinner "lasagne" I said. I got the face wiggle and the air pump, all good!

We get up stairs, I start cooking and about half way into the prep Max and his brother are sitting in the loungeroom playing when my little foodista asks "does the lasagne have any meat? (long pause and crashing of pots), mum.....mum DOES IT HAVE ANY MEAT????"
To this I simply lift my head and shake 'no' hoping not to attract Alex's attention, but thanks to Max's dispeasure he adds...

"Oh that is it, I am NOT having any dinner" (yeah, well I also know that you just polished off four slices of pizza and a massive piece of chocolate cake so thank your lucky stars my boy!).

In a way I was happy not to see him sit at the table with his usual dark cloud over his head whenever I serve a vego meal. So Max sat on the couch (with a full belly) and read the adventures of Astrix while Alex graced us with his presence. Don't worry my bubble soon burst when Alex found the eggpalnt under his beloved mozzeralla cheese.
Nic and I managed to polish off two delicious pieces of lasagna while master Alex picked out all the pasta coated in pesto and crunchy cheese, ate those and then told me it really isn't a good idea to make that ever again.
Sorry boys but I am hear to tell you I will be making it again, for two reasons-
1) It was so yummy
2) It was really quick and easy to make
 Of course it isn't as quick as a pasta cabonnara but from start to scratch we were were sitting down eating dinner in just over an hour and that is pretty good for a lasagne (cooking time included).

I was suppose to bring home some parmesan cheese from work (I've been saying that for about a month now much to Nic's disgust), so I had to make the pesto without cheese and I have to tell you it was totally fine.
To spice up the dish a little I popped in a teaspoon of leftover Ethiopian chicken spice mix we had in the cupboard and it was a fantastic idea. The cinnamon and chilli flavours complimented the vegetables really well and blended beautifully with the pesto (minus the cheese). I highly recommend you make the Chicken dish- get the leftover spice mix and then make the lasagne- two meals for the week!

(On a side note the Ethiopian chicken is another Saveur recipe we revisit often).

Vegetable lasagne
Pesto sauce
2 garlic cloves
2 cups basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
good pinch salt and pepper

Place garlic cloves into a food processor and turn on until chopped.
Turn off, place in basil leaves and process again until leaves are roughly chopped.
While motor is running slowly add oil followed by pine nuts and seasoning.
Once all blended and combined remove to a small bowl and place to one side.

Tomato sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon spices (if you want to try this mix one part paprika, 1 part cumin, 1/2 part cinnamon & 1part chilli powder for a quick alternative)
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup tomato puree (or tomato passata)
1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
salt and pepper

Heat a medium sauce pan on medium high and add oil.
Once oil is warm add spices and onion, saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring.
Add tomato paste and cook out for another 3-4 minutes, stirring.
Add tomato puree, cherry tomatoes and seasoning, bring to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and place to on side until needed.

Other ingredients needed
1 eggplant, sliced and chargrilled
2 zucchini's, sliced and chargrilled
2 capsicums oven roasted and peeled
1 pkt lasagne noodles
4-6 mozzerella balls, sliced
(I chargrilled my vegetables while the sauce was simmering to cut down on time)

Putting it all together
Preheat oven to 200.
Grease a 8x8 inch pyrex dish with butter or cooking spray.
Place a small amount of tomato sauce on the bottom of dish then lay down two sheets of lasagne, covering the bottom of the dish.
Cover with slices of cooked eggplant and then smooth 1/2 the pesto sauce over eggplant.
Add two more lasagne sheets, side by side.
Layer on grilled zucchini slices, cover with more tomato sauce then another two sheets of lasagne.
Cover with strips of roasted capsicums, add the rest of the pesto and smooth over peppers.
Place the last two lasagne sheets side by side, add extra eggplant slices and remaining tomato sauce.
Once tomato sauce covers lasagna sheets and eggplant, place on a layer of sliced, fresh mozzarella cheese.
Pop dish on your middle rack of your oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven, let rest for 5-10 minutes then slice and serve.

This will always taste better the day after but we loved it on the night.


Mal Streeter said...

I have just ordered a cow for the boys to eat at Christmas time! They are making me nervous!! I guess I could always make them pizza and chocolate cake!

Camilla Baker said...

Ha,haa Max will never leave!
A cow is a good idea ;)

Sophie said...

MMMMMM,..your lasagne looks so tasty & appetizing too!

Yummmm,..georgous & lovely food!

Many sunny greets from Brussels, Belgium!

TKW said...

Sweetie, I was laughing hysterically through this post! My girls behave just as terribly at the dinner table. Thank God I'm not alone!

Nancy said...

This looks delicious; I'll take veggie lasagna any day over the meat variety. Really great spice mix for the tomato sauce, too. I'll bet your boys will come around next time - just need some time to warm up to it!

Camilla Baker said...

Hi Sophie, thanks for stopping by!

TKW- I knew we had a few things in common, glad I made you laugh ;)

Nancy- I have to agree, this sits much better in my stomach and is by far healthier for you, thanks for stopping by

Bryan said...

Laughing too! Ms Lu has had similar reactions to my food. This looks so yummy Camilla, everything sounds perfect.

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Veggie Mama said...


I need this desperately, right now.

And hooray to you for not forgetting the vegetables, like I did last time :)

Anonymous said...

mmm, Camilla, I've never had veggie lasagna. It looks fabulous. I would love to give it a try.