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Vegetarian Lasagna with Eggplant Ragu – Guest Post from Flavor the Moments

December 12, 2014


If I haven’t mentioned it enough, I’m on vacation. Today I’m hanging around Diagon Alley with my boy Harry Potter and tomorrow I get on a cruise to the Bahamas. I’ll be sure to send some sunshine your way and drink an extra mojito for you.

Today I have Marcie from Flavor the moments here guest posting. Are you following Marcie yet? She has a strong passion for food and just finished a program at a cooking school, which makes me all around pretty jealous. We share a love of cheese and her blog is loaded with tasty recipes. Plus, apparently she knows that lasagna is a food weakness of mine! Be sure to follow her blog (links under her post).

 

Hi, I’m Marcie from Flavor the Moments!  I was honored when Kelly asked me to guest post here because I’ve been following her for a long time – in a blogging sort of way, of course. 🙂  While I’m not vegetarian, I make vegetarian meals often, and I’m a complete geek about fresh produce.  You can find me oooh-ing and ahhh-ing over it all at farmer’s markets everywhere. 🙂

I toiled a bit about what to make for Kelly.  All she asked was that I make a vegetarian dish, which was easy, but guest posting is kind of like wondering what to make when someone comes over for dinner.  You want to make something they’ll really like.  I know she loves cookies.  I know she loves bread.  I know she loves cheese.  Well, I latched onto the cheese thing and thought lasagna would be perfect…a nice, hearty vegetarian lasagna.

vegetarian lasagna with eggplant ragu2 | flavorthemoments.com

This time of year we’re bombarded with holiday foods, which is nice, but when Thanksgiving is over, I need a reprieve for a while.  My mind immediately goes to nice, rustic pasta dishes.  There’s nothing like a hearty sauce layered with pasta and cheese is there?  I hope you’re with me. 🙂

The word ragu often means a meat sauce, but this eggplant ragu is completely vegetarian.  Why the word ragu, then?  It also means “to stimulate the appetite” in Italian or French, and that definition suits this eggplant ragu perfectly, because it certainly stimulated my appetite.

vegetarian lasagna with eggplant ragu3 | flavorthemoments.com

This sauce has plenty of eggplant, roasted red and yellow peppers, tomatoes, and herbs.  The eggplant is so tender, it melts in your mouth like buttah, and the roasted peppers add a nice depth of flavor.  The clincher is some balsamic vinegar added at the end, which works some major magic.   This sauce is rustic, chunky, and absolutely bursting at the seams with flavor. 🙂

Lasagna is not complete without cheese, of course, so I spread a thin layer of ricotta over the lasagna noodles, then topped the sauce with thin slices of smoked mozzarella.  I’ve had an eggplant-smoked mozzarella thing lately.  Actually, it’s more than a thing, it’s a full blown thang.  There’s a difference, you know. 😉

vegetarian lasagna with eggplant ragu4 | flavorthemoments.com

This is the kind of meal you need to escape the holiday fare and get a big dose of comfort food and veggies at the same time.  And cheese!  Let’s not forget that.  Next time you want a healthy, veggie packed meal, look no further.  Your veggie-full, cheesy lasagna awaits! 🙂

And thank you for having me, Kelly!

Vegetarian Lasagna with Eggplant Ragu – Guest Post from Flavor the Moments

Author: 
 

Ingredients
For the ragu:
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided*
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small eggplant (about 1 lb.), stemmed and chopped into ½” chunks
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 28 ounces whole tomatoes in their juice
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
For the lasagna:
  • (1) batch eggplant ragu
  • Half a package of lasagna noodles (6.5 ounces), cooked according to package instructions
  • ½ c ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces smokes mozzarella, thinly sliced or grated

Instructions
Prepare the ragu:
  1. Preheat the broiler. Cut the peppers around the core vertically and remove the white membrane, if any. Place the peppers cut side down on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil until the skins are blackened, about 5 – 10 minutes. Place in a bowl and cover with the foil to steam. Once cooled, remove the skins and roughly chop. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Spray an 8×8” square baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion and sauté until softened and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add another tablespoon of olive oil, the garlic, eggplant, basil, and oregano and sauté for about 30 seconds. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant has oftened, about 10 – 15 minutes, adding 1 – 2 more tablespoons of olive oil if the pan becomes dry. Add the bell peppers and tomatoes in their juice, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Simmer covered, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is very tender and the sauce is thick, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper, to taste.
Assemble the lasagna:
  1. Place just enough sauce on the bottom of the prepared baking dish to cover. Place a layer of lasagna noodles over the sauce, and spread half of the ricotta cheese over the noodles. Cover the noodles with ⅓ of the remaining sauce and top with ⅓ of the smoked mozzarella cheese. Repeat with the second layer. For the final layer, top the noodles with the sauce, and remaining smoked mozzarella. Bake on the middle rack covered with foil until heated through, about 40 – 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake an additional 10 – 15 minutes until bubbly. Remove from heat and let stand about 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

 

Thanks so much Marcie for the guest post! I think all those veggies are the perfect excuse to eat a nice big pile of smoky cheese and noodles right when I get home 🙂

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4 Comments
    marcie Dec 12, 2014

    It was such a pleasure guest posting for you, Kelly, and I hope you have an amazing vacation! 🙂

    Reply

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