On my latest Talk of the Town Appearance, I shared an easy, healthy AND kid-friendly veggie lasagna recipe….oh, and did I mention it’s pasta-free?!
So even if you’re not gluten-free, you might want to give this a try. It’s also just as easy to make a full pan for dinner (or to freeze for later) as it is to make individual portions in ramekins that the kids will love.
It’s important to note that the exact recipe isn’t as important as the technique: feel free to add meat to the sauce, add or subtract veggies or even make it with pasta if you like.
Product note: This recipe will be much easier with a mandolin. You don’t have to get an expensive one (a friend found me the one below at Goodwill for 99 cents), but you can also find them at most grocery stores for under $5. It will help you create even slices that otherwise would be hard to re-create with a knife.
Bonus tip: Instead of traditional linguine or spaghetti, we also like to stack the zucchini slices after we use the mandolin and cut them in thin slices lengthwise to create ‘noodles’ that are great to eat with meatballs or simply sauté with garlic & olive oil.
Once you get your zucchini or eggplant slices, you’re going to layer them in the 9 x 13 pan. Or, if you prefer to make individual portions for the kids, you can layer them in a ramekin like so:
When adding the vegetables to the sauce, make sure to season them well. This is also the stage where you could add additional vegetables or even ground beef or tofu if you prefer:
While the sauce is cooking, prepare the cheese mixture. After you’ve combined the egg, shredded cheese, ricotta, salt & pepper, you can start creating your layers.
Start by adding water to the jar to loosen the leftover sauce and then pour over the bottom of the pan just enough to coat. Start with layering the zucchini or squash slices. Next, add a thin layer of the vegetable sauce. Then, smooth a layer of the cheese mixture. Repeat until all ingredients are gone.
Finish by covering the dish with the remaining shredded cheeses.
Cover loosely with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove foil and then broil to brown the cheese for about 5 minutes.
Let sit for 10 minutes to allow layers and flavors to set properly, then slice:
You can check out the exact ingredient list and full recipe here:
Pasta-Free Veggie Lasagna Recipe
- 1 Eggplant
- 2 Medium Zucchini
- 1 jar Marinara sauce (with garlic, onion & peppers if possible, or some combination of)
- 1 package frozen spinach (thawed)
- 1 package frozen bell pepper & onion blend
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 4 oz shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 container (16 oz) ricotta cheese
- 1 Egg
- 1 T Italian Seasoning
- 1 T salt
- (Day before preferably): thaw and drain spinach
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Using a mandolin (or sharp knife), evenly slice thin strips of the eggplant or zucchini (whichever vegetable you prefer to use for your \'noodles\'). Set aside.
- In a large pan on medium, heat olive oil then add chopped garlic as well as peppers & onions. Sautee for 5-7 minutes until soft. Add jar of sauce and combine with veggies. Once incorporated, add thawed spinach, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Bring to a simmer than cover and let sit over med-low heat for ten minutes.
- In a medium bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, egg, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and 1 cup of the parmesan cheese, along with salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.
- In a 9 x13 baking dish, ladle in your sauce until bottom is covered. Then add a layer of veggie \'noodles\'. After that, spread a layer of the cheese mixture and then cover that layer with more sauce. Continue to repeat each layer until you reach the top of the dish.
- On the very top, cover the last layer of sauce with the remaining shredded cheese. Lightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until heated through thoroughly. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes of baking to brown the cheese. Let rest for a little while after pulling out of the oven so that the cheese doesn\'t run everywhere when it\'s cut!
One of the things that makes this recipe so easy is taking advantage of all the help you can, especially when it comes to pre-chopped frozen vegetables like the ones I used courtesy of Whole Foods Market Green Hills (Nashville). Their 365 Everyday Value brand makes it easy for anyone to get great quality vegetables, including organic, at an amazing price (under $2 a bag).
The Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value brand goes beyond vegetables and includes everything from Spices and Syrup to Olive Oil. Check out my video series if you’re looking for more everyday ways to save at Whole Foods!
I created this recipe because our nutritionist thought it would be beneficial for our family to try following a more Paleo style diet for a little while. If you want some help with meal planning, I’m a fan of eMeals. Not only do they have every type of meal plan you can think of (choose based on the stores you shop at or based on the way you eat), but it is SO affordable and easy. You’ll find the majority of my Meal Plans are based around eMeals dinners (although they now offer breakfast & lunch plans too!). Plus, save an extra 15% off right now with the code NEWYEAR.
I hope this recipe has inspired you to try something new with your family in the New Year!