Vegatarian Lasagna

A friend of mine sent me an email a few days ago with some recipes on it including a pretty bare bones vegetarian lasagna that included zucchini and not much else so when I went to the store today, I bought a few other things to add to it but am not sure how to incorporate them into the dish as I’m a novice cook and they’re frozen, not fresh.

How would I go about including frozen spinach and broccoli florets? Do I need to let them thaw first? Cook them first and then add them to the dish? And her recipe did not mention anything about precooking the lasagna noodles. Was that an oversight or do they really not need to be cooked first?


There’s at least one variety which doesn’t need to be cooked first and will say so on the box.

If you do go with noodles you have to boil first, separate them from each other with wax paper when you take them out of the pot or else you’ll have a great big clump of pasta that won’t separate without tearing by the time you’re ready to put them in the pan for baking.

Let them thaw first, in a colander or strainer. The spinach will definitely need to strained because it holds a lot of water that will ruin your finished product.

Presuming that this is a lasagne with a standard ricotta/mozzarella cheese mixture, I’d suggest mixing the spinach into the cheese mixture and just considering it an enhancement to the cheese layer.

As for the broccoli, that’s a harder one. I’d probably chop it very fine and add it into the cheese mixture as well. Same with some halved matchsticks of carrot. But if the zucchini is to be left large – I usually see it in such recipes sliced lengthwise and layered with the noodles – know that its taste is going to dominate the taste of any other vegetable in the dish. If it’s supposed to be chopped up and layered in much as meat would in a traditional recipe, then just cut the broccoli and layer it in with the zucchini.

I would not only thaw and drain the spinach, but blot it well with paper towels, if you don’t have a salad spinner.

My mother and I used to make the best vegetarian lasanga and we never cooked the noodles first. We just wastered down the sauce and it cooked the noodles in the oven.

It comes out better, I think, because the sauce is all soaked into the noodles and I am pretty sure you can do it with any type of noodles.

As long as you water down the sauce it shouldn’t be a problem.

I’ve never cooked lasagna noodles or watered down the sauce, and I’ve always had great results. What I do is spread the ricotta on the uncooked noodles, do a layer of cheesy noodles, ladle on a layer of good thick sauce, top with a layer of thinly-sliced veggies and repeat.

I also suggest adding sliced fresh tomatoes and fresh basil. It’s the perfect time of year for it. Other lasagna veggies I like are mushrooms and eggplant. I definitely recommend using fresh vegetables whenever possible. They’re not much more trouble than frozen and the taste is so much better.

When I make lasagna it tends to be a long, drawn out process, so I also end up making enough to fill the oven twice in baking and freeze the extra pans. I make a home-made tomato sauce, most often starting with tomatoes from the garden that I’ve stewed and frozen. On the stove-top I’ll simmer the tomatoes, adding a tin of tomato paste, along with the standard lasagna spices along with onions, celery, carrots (matchstick style), mushrooms (cut in quarters or halves depending on the size), broccoli (cut into small florets), zucchini (sliced into circles and then halved or quartered), cauliflower (same treatment as for the broccoli), and then any other veggie that might strike me such as green, red or yellow bell peppers. I add the spinach, well drained to either cottage cheese or ricotta cheese.

Oh, and I do boil the pasta. I find that it won’t stick as long as after draining it is rinsed quickly and thoroughly with cold water.

Mm, lasagna.

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. It’s currently cooling off on my countertop and after a quick taste test, it seems to have turned out perfect sans a few places where it almost got scorched. The recipe said an hour at 450 but it was already getting a little too dark at forty-five minutes so I took it out. Oops.