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Yummy Vegetable Lasagna: Make-Ahead Deliciousness

The evenings around here have not been going according to schedule. Dinners have been late, and bedtimes even later. Clearly we needed a casserole. But I didn’t want to make just any casserole–I wanted something fresh, and stuffed with veggies. So, I made an easy lasagna packed with spinach, red peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini. It’s been a total hit at our house–my oldest daughter loves it and I can get dinner on the table in about 10 minutes.

We picked up all of the ingredients for this tasty lasagna in Target’s new grocery section. They gave us a gift card so we could take their new grocery section for a spin. We really liked what we saw–there were plenty of fresh veggies, lots of organic options, and the in-house Target brand, Market Pantry, offered high-quality stuff at a low price. Get more information about Target’s grocery offerings here.

Vegetable Lasagna
makes 15 servings

2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, minced
5 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
2 zucchini, shredded
3 red peppers, roasted and steamed (how-to here)
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
2 cups spinach, chopped
1/4 cup mixed fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, thyme, or oregano
2 cups ricotta
2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup Parmesan, shredded
1 egg
1 lb. no-boil lasagna noodles
32 oz. marinara sauce (use a prepared variety or make your own)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
fresh ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Wash and dry the peppers. Roast over an open flame or in your broiler, rotating until the skin is blackened all over. Set in a paper bag or covered contained to steam for 10 minutes. Under cool running water, wash off the blackened skin. Remove the core and seeds and slice into strips.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent and fragrant. Add the garlic, cook for one minute. Add the zucchini, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and fresh ground pepper, and saute for 5 – 7 minutes, until the zucchini is wilted and has released its juices. Carefully pour off the juices, and spoon veggies into a medium bowl. Combine with ricotta, egg, chopped spinach, and herbs.

Meanwhile, using the same skillet, add a splash more olive oil, and saute the mushrooms until they wilt slightly. Set aside.

Set out a large, deep baking dish, about 11 x 17″. Ladle in 1 1/2 cups of marinara along the bottom. Set 4 noodles into the sauce, overlapping slightly. Spoon in one-third of the ricotta mixture, cover with 1 cup marinara, and then 1 cup of the mozzarella. Add a layer of noodles. Spoon on another third of the ricotta, add the mushrooms, and 1 cup of the mozzarella. Add a layer of noodles. Spread on the remaining ricotta, and scatter the pepper slices. Add a layer of noodles. Spread on the remaining marinara and scatter the remaining mozzarella.

Cover tightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 – 20 minutes, until the cheese has browned lightly and the lasagna is bubbling vigorously. As soon as you remove it form the oven, add the Parmesan. Cool for 15 minutes and serve.

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