Red and White Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

This isn’t your normal lasagna. No sir. This lasagna will blow all of your other lasagnas out of the water. “But I like my lasagnas with meat because I’m a carnivore” you say. Trust me. This lasagna is freaking delicious, and meat is overrated and unnecessary when you have a plethora of juicy vegetables swimming in 2 delicious sauces and a mountain of cheese.

I also made Red Lobster cheesy biscuits to go along with, which isn’t traditionally a lasagna side dish but still super tasty. Along with an avocado semifreddo for dessert (yes, avocado in a dessert. Mind blowing). Basically the best meal ever.

Anywho this lasagna was pretty easy to make, just roast some veggies, make some sauce, shred some cheese and bam! Assemble into deliciousness. I made the sauces from scratch because a) I don’t know if i can find premade sauce here in Peru and b) making things from scratch is more bad ass and fun. Although I do hate peeling tomatoes. However, I do love a day of working hard in the kitchen while rocking out to my favourite playlist.

veggie lasagna (18)First is the preparation of the vegetables and the sauce. Chop up all the veggies, toss them with some oil and garlic, and roast them in the oven until they start to brown- the egg plant and mushrooms will take less time than the pepper and zucchini. This is a picture of post-rosted veggies- don’t they look delicious?! And the great thing about roasted vegetables is that you can use them in tons of things- pastas, lasagnas, noodle bakes, just eat them as a side. So versatile.

veggie lasagna (22)

Then start on the sauces- for the tomato sauce, boil a big pot of water and then throw your tomatoes in. The tomatoes, when ready to peel, should look like the above picture, like the skin is splitting a bit. That is when you know to take them out. Throw them in a blender and toss in the rest of the sauce ingredients and simmer for a while. For the white sauce, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Then add the milk and stir constantly over medium heat until thickened.

veggie lasagna (1)

I wanted to keep the two sauces distinct, so I decided to mix the white sauce with the vegetables, keep them nice and moist and it will make a nice layer in the lasagna. Mmm. Also soak the lasagna noodles if necessary, mine needed to be soaked.

veggie lasagna (3)

Now to assemble the lasagna. First off, grease the pan. Then, put a nice layer of your freshly made tomato sauce down as the base. If you put noodles first they will stick, and no one wants that! Look at the steam coming off, that is some fresh sauce right there.

veggie lasagna (4)

Next put a layer of noodles over the sauce. Then put half the vegetable sauce mix on top of the noodles, 1/2 of the basil, 1/3 of the cheese, 1/4 of the red sauce on top of that, and then 4 more noodles on top. Then repeat- vegetables, basil, cheese, sauce, noodle. For the end, put the rest of the red sauce on top of the noodles, and the rest of the cheese on top. If you don’t have enough sauce, red or white, to do all the layers, omit one or two in the middle. As long as everything is in the pan, it’s all good.

veggie lasagna (6)

Finished lasagna, ready to go in the oven! My pan was super full, and halfway through baking I smelled some burn- it had overflowed a bit into the oven, so I took a larger pan to put underneath and catch the drips. Just beware if your lasagna is really full.

   veggie lasagna (7)

After baking for a while, it’s finally done!!! Smelled so good, couldn’t wait to dig in. Have you ever seen such beauty.

veggie lasagna (11)

Tell me you don’t want to eat that. Go ahead. I’m waiting. That’s right, no one could resist! Except maybe lactose intolerant people. Or people allergic to tomatoes. Other than that…

veggie lasagna (12)Barely any left in the pan! It was an instant hit at the house. And lasagna is one of those foods that tastes super good as leftovers!

Red and White Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

adapted from http://www.yummly.com/recipe/external/Roasted-Vegetable-Lasagna-TasteOfHome

Ingredients:

Tomato Sauce:

  • 15 tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste

White Sauce:

  • 3 cups milk
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 6 Tablespoons flour

Assembly:

  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into slices
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, cut into slices
  • 3 small zucchini, cut into slices
  • 2 red peppers, cut lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Mozzarella cheese
  • 2-3 cups another kind of cheese (you can go for ricotta, I got some mozzarella type thing with herbs. Just basically, get lots of cheese)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 jar meatless spaghetti sauce or the sauce made above
  • 12 ready to bake lasagna noodles
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh basil

Yield: 1 awesome lasagna.

Directions:

First off, vegetables! Chop the vegetables and put the zucchini and red pepper in one bowl and the eggplant and mushroom in another. Combine the 3 T oil and 2 cloves garlic and split between the two bowls, coating the vegetables with the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake the pepper and zucchini at 400 F for 10 minutes, then add the mushrooms and eggplant until tender and edges are browned.

While the vegetables are cooking, start on the sauce. For the red sauce, boil a large pot of water and once boiling put in the tomatoes. When the skin starts to split, take them out and submerge in cold/icy water. Peel and chop the tomatoes, the skin should come off easily, and purée in a blender. Then saute the onion, bell pepper, and garlic in the oil and butter until the onion softens. Pour in the pureed tomatoes, and add the 1/4 cup basil, 1 T oregano, 1/4 cup red wine, and 3 T tomato paste. Bring to a boil and simmer for a while, until you’re ready to assemble the lasagna, at least a half hour.

For the white sauce, melt the 6 T butter in a pot, and when melted add the 6 T flour. Stir well, and add the 3 cups milk. Stir until the sauce thickens then remove from heat.

When the vegetables are done, mix them with the white sauce- this will keep them nice and juicy! Mix all the cheeses together with the  eggs. My lasagna noodles said to be soaked in water first, so if yours are the same put them in some water to soak.

Now time for assembly! Best part. Layer 1/4 of the sauce on the bottom of a greased 13 x 9 pan. Then put 4 noodles, and try not to let them touch the edge. Then put half the vegetable sauce mix on top of the noodles, 1/2 of the basil, 1/3 of the cheese, 1/4 of the red sauce on top of that, and then 4 more noodles on top. Then repeat- vegetables, basil, cheese, sauce, noodle. For the end, put the rest of the red sauce on top of the noodles, and the rest of the cheese on top. If you don’t have enough sauce to do all the layers, omit one or two in the middle. As long as everything is in the pan, it’s all good. Most important is that the last few layers are noodles, red sauce, and cheese. The middle doesn’t matter.

Baking time! Cover and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes longer. Then eat it! Delicious lasagna time 🙂 You won’t be able to keep from having seconds. Or maybe 3rds. Veggies are healthy!

Advertisements

Delicious Chocolate Banana Brownies with Caramel Sauce

Well, still in Peru, and Victoria and I decided to make brownies. While we were baking, I got the amazing idea to add bananas and top with caramel sauce. It was delicious, best decision ever. Well, except for the sauce… we to make a caramel sauce, but as you’ll see in the pictures, it didn’t quite work out. I think I over cooked it; it became all grainy and hard. The recipe (found here http://thelevelheadedchef.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/caramel-sauce-without-heavy-cream/) said to just boil sugar with milk and butter, but I think next time I’d rather do the kind of sauce where you cook the sugar separately to make the caramel first, and then add the cream and butter.  But anywho. Super delicious and fudgey brownies.

This recipe adapted from http://www.annies-eats.com/2009/08/05/chewy-fudgy-triple-chocolate-brownies/

banana brownies (31)First off, melt the chocolate in a double boiler with some butter. We took a large pot, simmered some water, and then set a smaller pot inside. You can also just melt it on low heat on the stove, or even the microwave if you microwave on low and stir often.

banana brownies (22)Banana time! Mask the banana up well. We had fairly yellow bananas, so it’s not too mushy. You can totally use old bananas, like you would for banana bread.

banana brownies (30)Then mix the banana with the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt.

banana brownies (1)Add the chocolate and stir until incorporated. Then stir in the flour until well combined. Pour it into a pan and bake for 35-40 min at 350 F.

banana brownies (11)Mmmm yummy brownies! They look tasty! But wait, there’s more!

Below is my failed attempt at caramel sauce. Take this as an example of what not to do.

banana brownies (3)For this recipe, you put 1/4 c milk, 4 T butter, and 1/2 cup sugar in a pot. Then boil it vigorously for 3-4 minutes.

banana brownies (9)Look it’s boiling!

banana brownies (14)This is where it started to get weird. I thought it didn’t look dark enough, so I kept boiling it. Then it got kind of watery, and too thick.

banana brownies (15)Aaaaand when it cooled this happened. Caramel chunks. Not burned, but definitely now what was supposed to happen.

banana brownies (20)We still decided to try to use the caramel sauce anyway, so we heated it back up and added some milk. It just got hard again on top of the brownie, but didn’t taste entirely bad. maybe could have made caramel chips to put inside the brownie? Not sure. Below is a different caramel recipe that I would recommend using; I’ve used it before for a Banana Cream Pie and it worked splendidly. Or you can try this recipe that I botched. Maybe you will fare better.

Ingredients:

  • 11 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 8 tbsp. butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup flour

Caramel sauce

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp corn syrup
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease an 8 inch baking pan and set aside.

Using a double boiler, or a smaller pan set in a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, mashed bananas, and salt; whisk until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk in the warm chocolate mixture until incorporated. Then stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, and spread evenly with a spatula. bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick in the centre comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs on it (everyone loves  gooey brownie!). Should be about 35-40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for a bit.

Sauce:

While the brownies are cooking, time to prepare the caramel sauce! First stir the sugar, corn syrup, and water together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil without stirring, and cook, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down the sides with a wet pastry brush until sugar is deep amber in colour, 6-8 minutes. Remove caramel from heat, whisk in heavy cream, butter, and salt (it’ll bubble, that’s normal). Let cool for 5 minutes, then whisk in vanilla. Let it cool. This can be made a bit ahead of time and reheated to put on the brownies.

Voila! Hopefully your caramel sauce turns out better than mine! You’ll never make brownies without bananas again.

Other variations to try:

Peanut butter swirl brownies: After the batter is all prepared and ready to go in the pan, take some peanut butter and place a few globs on top of the batter. Then take a butter knife and swirl the peanut butter through the brownies.

Chunky brownies: Add a cup of your favourite candy chips, whether butterscotch, chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, whatever. Be creative. You can throw some nuts in too if you desire.