I have a thing against pre-boiling lasagna noodles. Most prep work I don’t mind doing, especially if it will make the final product that much better. But I’ve never really felt found a difference in lasagna texture and the cook time doesn’t change – so why bother? It doesn’t help that the only time I actually boiled my noodles in advance, I poured boiling hot water all over my hands trying to get the noodles out. I actually finished making the lasagna before I went to a redi-med, but needless to say, that lasagna really just wasn’t worth it.
This lasagna? Amazing. Still not worth burning your hand over, but definitely worth the effort of oven roasting the veggies and waiting patiently while it bakes in the oven and fills your house with tasty lasagna smells. Oven roasting the veggies makes them so tender and adds a little smokiness. I kicked up the smokiness even more by throwing some Gouda in there, but you could use provolone or any other smokey cheese.
Roasting the garlic beforehand? Mandatory. Promise me if you skimp on any details, it’s not that. I’d never even heard of roasting garlic until I was making a tasty dip I saw over on The Beeroness for a Super Bowl party this year. I ended up throwing out my back (yeahhhh, I’m a 20-something that throws out her back) and (oh no!) had to eat the dip all by my lonesome. In that moment, fell in love with roasted garlic. It needs to be in pretty much everything. Mix it right into the cheese mixture and get a little roasty, garlicky goodness in every bite. Feel free to swap out the cottage cheese for ricotta – my dad hates ricotta so I’ve never actually made a lasagna with it!
2 – 3 large carrots (I actually used a handful or two of baby carrots)
½ red onion
1 whole head of garlic
8 oz baby bella mushrooms
14 oz can sliced, stewed tomatoes
24 oz spaghetti sauce
½ c water
½ c freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
15 oz fat free cottage cheese
pepper, to taste
6 slices (or ~4 ounces shredded) smoked Gouda, chopped into small pieces
9 – 12 UNCOOKED lasagna noodles (depending on the size of your pan, I used whole wheat)
Preheat the oven to 375°.
Cut the zucchini and carrots into ~ ½” sticks. Slice onion into half circles. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and lightly spritzed with nonstick spray. Spritz the top of the veggies and generously sprinkle with Italian seasonings. Cut the end off of the head of garlic, spritz with nonstick spray, and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake the veggies and garlic for 20 minutes.
Slice the mushrooms and throw on top of the veggies in the oven. Bake an additional 10 minutes. And allow the veggies to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, mix the spaghetti sauce, tomatoes and water together. In a separate dish, combine the parm, cottage cheese, and pepper.
Squeeze the garlic into the cheese mixture – it should come out pretty easily. Avoid getting of the papery bits in the cheese! Mix well.
Spray a lasagna pan/large casserole dish/baking pan with nonstick spray. Spread some of the sauce in the bottom. Layer noodles (breaking if necessary to fill all the spaces), veggies, cheese mixture, chopped Gouda, and sauce for two layers. Make a final layer of noodles, any veggies or cheese you have left, and pour the the rest of the sauce on top. This will be a pretty saucy lasagna, it will help cook the noodles.
Cover and bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 – 15 minutes until cheese on top is melty.
Let set for 15 minutes before cutting – this will help soak up extra liquid and avoid making a mess pile when you cut it.
Play around with the veggies and roasting time to get your perfect texture and favor combo. If you’re using GF or other nonstandard noodles, I can’t vouch that this will perfectly cook your noodles.