So many of you have reached out to me recently asking for healthy, quick and easy dinner recipes. Lots of you are eating “clean” in the new year, so many of you are cutting back on your carbs and lots of you have your fingers crossed for sunshine and beach days in the not-so-distant future.
So, I got to thinking and remembered one of my favorite recipes from the book I published with Rodale Press years ago called, “Get a Real Food Life.” My lasagna recipe in that book was the biggest crowd pleaser, readers just literally ate up that recipe. Ha! So, I was inspired! I once again tweaked my original recipe to check all the boxes you have all asked for and wow….my now “Noodle-less Lasagna” could be one of my very favorite recipes ever. It’s full of flavor, so very simple to make, it’s light while being very filling and it helps get in all your veggies for the day and then some!
I think what really made this recipe work so well was the roasting of all the vegetables. Not only did it give the lasagna a deeper, smokier flavor, it also reduced the “wateriness” of the lasagna which tends to be the real problem with lasagna loaded with vegetables.
Because my lasagna is sans noodles, I worried that it would be too watery and fall apart when plating it. I find that super frustrating and really can’t stand when my food doesn’t look as good as it tastes. Call me crazy but it’s all in the experience, right? Never mind the fact that there would be no way my boys would eat this if it looked like slop!
I was pleasantly surprised to find that by roasting the vegetables and reducing the tomato sauce (which is cooked separately) my lasagna held together perfectly so not only did it taste amazing, it looked amazing too!
When you take a look at the ingredient list, you’ll notice that it does include a load of vegetables. Don’t be overwhelmed! They really reduce and cook down in the oven and become much smaller after roasting. Also, don’t be afraid to swap in other veggies – most will work well, it’s really just the roasting that gives this lasagna tons of flavor. Use whatever is in season and easy to get your hands on!
In true Janine fashion, I like to make my Noodle-less lasagna the day before I’m serving it. It really gives the flavors time to marinate together beautifully. And of course, it makes for amazing leftovers.
My kids think I’m crazy but I eat this lasagna cold and straight from the fridge all the time. It actually makes for a fantastic, healthy, low carb snack or lunch!
While most vegetable lasagnas are still heavy, loaded with cheese, creamy filling and loads of oil, you’ll see mine is quite the opposite. You’ll curb every craving for that traditional Italian fare without over doing it on all the fat, carbs and sodium.
Speaking of sodium, I like to use Trader Joes No Salt Marinara sauce in all of my recipes. It’s full of flavor without being full of sodium like most jarred sauces are. Less sodium means less bloat and that makes me happy! Of course, you can use whatever tomato sauce you would like in this recipe, this one just happens to work for my family.
No noodles? No problem! I hope you love this recipe as much as my family does. I really think it’s important not to deprive ourselves of the flavors we love (aren’t we sacrificing enough these days?) and instead find more wholesome, healthy ways to incorporate them into some of our favorite meals. Be well, be happy, be healthy! Xx Janine
Janine’s Noodle-Less Lasagna
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 cup frozen artichokes
1 Large eggplant – cut into 1 inch cubes, keep skin on
2 mushrooms – sliced
1 large red pepper – cut into 1 inch cubes
2 large carrots – cut into 1 inch pieces
2 Medium onions – chopped (reserve 1 onion for the sauce)
3 Tablespoons Olive oil – 2 for the roasted vegetables, 1 for sautéing the onions for the sauce
3 Large zucchini – cut in half and sliced medium thin (these are your “noodles” for layering)
4 cloves garlic – chopped (for the sauce)
1 Jar NO SALT trader joes (26 oz.) Marinara sauce (or your sauce of choice)
1 teaspoon dried basil
pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
8 oz. Part Skim Ricotta cheese
2 large organic eggs – whisk the eggs in a separate bowl
2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
2 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese
Instructions: Preheat oven to 400, use a 9×9 baking dish, for baking the lasagna reduce heat to 350
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine all the vegetables for roasting on the lined sheet pan – tomatoes, artichokes, eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, carrots, 1 chopped onion with 2 Tablespoon olive oil. Mix well.
Roast on 400 for 50-60 minutes or until the vegetables look brown and almost crispy. Set aside to cool.
Line that roasting sheet or another roasting sheet and place the Zucchini flat side by side and brush each piece with olive oil – look at the photo. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, then flip them over to bake another 10 minutes. Zucchini should shrink a little but it should not turn too brown. Set them aside to cool down. You may have to use 2 sheet pans for this process.
In a large sauce pan, add 1 Tablespoon Olive oil and sauté 1 chopped onion until just brown.
Add the 4 chopped garlic cloves and cook for 2 more minutes.
Add the jarred tomato sauce, 1 Tablespoon tomatoes paste, 1 teaspoon basil and pepper to taste, simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on. Turn off heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl combine, the ricotta cheese, the eggs, the nutritional yeast and 1 Tablespoon parmesan cheese.
For the layering:
Add a teaspoon of olive oil to the baking dish and spread on the bottom and sides. Add 2 tablespoons of the tomato sauce to the bottom of the dish and spread all around.
Layer about 6-8 zucchini slices on top of the sauce in the pan. Add 3-4 tablespoons roasted vegetables on top of the zucchini. Add 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese mix on top of the roasted vegetables and spread all over the roasted vegetables. Add a layer of tomato sauce on top once again. Repeat these layers – zucchini, roasted veg and ricotta, sauce – until you have a layer of tomato sauce on the very top.
Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon parmesan cheese to the top layer (more if you love parmesan cheese).
Cover with foil and on and cook at 350 for 45 minutes. Uncover the lasagna and cook for another 25 minutes or until it’s brown on top and bubbling at the sides.
Let cool for 10 minutes and cut into squares.