When I first decided to food blog my recipes I was vegetarian. Currently, at this time in my life, I cannot imagine being vegetarian but I cherish the memories and recipes I created while I was. You see being vegetarian brought out a certain creativity within me when it came to cooking. We can all get comfortable with a dozen recipes repeating them over and over but I rarely like to cook the same meal twice. So when I eliminated meat from my diet I naturally forced myself to explore with flavors and ideas.
One of the meals I cooked shortly before I started my food blog was a noodle-less lasagna. It was my contribution to a supposedly nontraditional Thanksgiving feast. Of course I was the only one in the end who made a nontraditional dish. And I can honestly say my dish was the best part of the meal. The hosts girlfriend at the time was in charge and she was rather rude to both me and Josh. We had never met her before but she definitely did not take to us. Josh and I proceeded to enjoy a handful of beers and true to Christine form I made sure to ask everyone at the dinner table how my lasagna was. This of course led to numerous compliments on the dish, I said it was the best part of the meal, but not without the most intense glare from the stick up her ass girlfriend. It’s the small victories in life that count, and as I said I have fond memories of the being a vegetarian.
This Thanksgiving celebration took part in 2008 and I started my food blog at the beginning of 2009. That lasagna was one of the reasons I created my blog. It was a labor of love and deserved to be shared. It’s been 4 1/2 years since I made a lasagna reminiscent of that recipe. Just enough time for me to try again and not feel like I am making the same meal twice. And I was not lying when I said this lasagna is a labor of love!
Zucchini Lasagna (noodle-less)
- 6 medium zucchinis
- large onion, chopped
- 1.5 lb jar of your favorite tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons capers
- 16 oz cottage cheese
- 1 cup grated pecorino romano
- 1 egg
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup artichoke hearts, sliced
- 1 14 oz can beluga black lentils, drained and rinsed
- garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons flour
- shredded mozzarella cheese
- First prepare your zucchini noodles. Preheat oven to 375°. Using a mandoline slice zucchini into about 1/4″ slices lengthwise. Lay ‘noodles’ in single layer on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes. Just enough to draw some of the moisture out.
- Prepare sauce. Sauté onion in a tablespoon of olive oil until soft. Add jar of sauce, tomato paste, and capers. Simmer on lowest setting. You want the sauce to be thick.
- In a bowl mix the cottage cheese, pecorino romano, and egg. Set aside.
- In a skillet sauté the mushrooms and artichoke hearts over medium high heat until mushrooms are soft. Stir in the lentils and season with garlic powder and s&p. Turn off heat and mix in the flour.
- Assemble.. Place a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Make a flat layer with 1/3 of the zucchini noodles lightly overlapping each piece. Top with half of the cottage cheese mixture followed by half of the mushroom mixture. Spread a thin layer of sauce. Make another flat layer of zucchini noodles. Top with the other half of the cottage cheese mixture followed by the other half of the mushroom mixture. Next use the last 1/3 of the zucchini noodles. Top with a solid layer of sauce. You most likely will have extra sauce.
- Bake for 35 minutes uncovered until heated through and bubbling.
- Top with shredded mozzarella and bake for another 5 minutes until melted.
- Allow lasagna to cool for 30 minutes before serving. This allows it to set so it doesn’t fall apart when cutting.