My love affair with a vegetable lasagna...

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In my quest to eat less meat, I decided to try my friend Kristen's favorite recipe for veggie lasagna. She would always rave about it and I finally gave in. Now when I tell you that this is literally one of the best meals I have ever eaten (made by me), I kid you not!!! Both my husband and my dad were seconds away from licking their plates. My dad totally did, but he's a "live to eat" kind of guy, so not totally out of character for him! Have I done enough to make you want to try it yet? I hate when you're on a recipe post but the blogger goes on and on about stuff that legit has nothing to do with the meal...

Ok so the original recipe comes from : The Healthy Kitchen By Andrew Weil, M.D & Rose Daley
But of course I had to tweak it a bit! Feel free to stick to the book 100% but I made a few substitutions to make things a little less time consuming. Ok yes, I cheated, but OMG it is still so freaking delicious!

Here is my interpretation of their recipe:
Marinara Sauce- For a larger pan of lasagna I used 2 jars of Newman's Own fire roasted tomato & garlic pasta sauce. *They have a great step by step on making your own marinara in the original recipe, but who has time for that??

Eggplant- 1 Medium to large eggplant sliced length-wise 1/2 inch thick, salt to taste, cayenne pepper, 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Spinach- 2 bunches (about 1 pound) washed with the stems removed, 5oz. of goat cheese ( I totally didn't measure the goat cheese...just a cut a chunk in whatever size that makes you happy) * Or you can use ricotta cheese, but if we are doing this my way, goat cheese 100% (you won't regret it)
1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 2 sliced cloves of garlic, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper and 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil (you can totally use dried basil if you don't have fresh)

Disclaimer* I totally skipped the white sauce that is a part of the original recipe. In my defense Kristen told me she didn't do this part either and I'm a wee bit lazy.

Lasagna- lasagna noodles, water, shredded mozzarella, here I decided to nix the olives that are a part of the actual recipe because as much as I enjoy olives, I just felt like it would totally throw the flavor off, but thats just me!

So here comes the boring part, a step by step of what to do:
- Preheat the broiler. Broil the eggplant:
dust both sides of the eggplant with olive oil, salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Lay it on a baking tray and broil it for 3 inures until it turns brown. Remove the eggplant from the oven and let it cool.

- Boil your lasagna noodles 12-14 minutes until they are cooked al dente. The recipe called for 12 sheets of noodles, but I'm not going to judge you for using more and making a huge pan of this.

- Prepare the spinach: Steam the spinach for one minute in a pot filled with 1/2 cup of purified water. Remove from the heat and let cool. Squeeze the spinach, using clean hands, to remove excess water.
- put the softened goat cheese (or ricotta..but preferably goat) in a medium bowl. Add the spinach and mix together thoroughly with a fork.
- Put the olive oil, onions and sliced garlic in a small sauté pan over low heat. Sauté for 2 minutes until the onions turn light golden brown. Remove from the heat and let cool. Add this onion and garlic mixture to the spinach and goat cheese and mix it all together. Add the pepper and fresh (or dried) basil and mix again until everything is well blended.

Now for the fun part of assembling the lasagna!
- The book has one way of layering the lasagna but since this is my version, here's what I did:
1. Pour enough marinara to coat the bottom of your lasagna pan
2. Add a layer of noodles
3. Layer half the spinach mixture
4. Another layer of marinara
5. Add a layer of noodles
6. add your eggplant
7. use the rest of the spinach and goat cheese mixture
8. pour more sauce
9. Add your final layer of noodles
10. sprinkle your mozzarella on top ( use a heavy hand because more cheese is always better!)

Cover the pan with foil, but not too tight because you don't want the gooey deliciousness to get stuck to the foil when its done. Bake for an hour and a half on 350 degrees and VOILA!

Try not to eat the whole pan yourself!
Give this recipe a try and let me know how it goes! I'm keen to know what you come up with!




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