Friday, February 11, 2011

Vegetarian Thanksgiving (Tofurkey not included)

My parents came down to visit us last Thanksgiving, so we decided to cook them a feast, vegetarian style. We did have a few traditional turkey legs, but one of the main dishes was lasagna - only with zucchini slices instead of noodles! Low-carb! :) The original recipe came from a cookbook called Simply Delicious Vegetarian by Carla Bardi, and it was pretty tasty the first time we made it, but we decided to put our own (somewhat healthier) spin on it. This one takes a lot of prep time, but we think it's worth it!

4-5 large green zucchini, sliced length-wise (about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick)
1/2 - 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 - 1 cup asparagus, chopped
1/2 - 3/4 cups sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (soak in warm water for about an hour to soften)
grated Parmesan cheese
1 - 2 cups bread crumbs (we used finely crushed bran flakes instead)
skim milk, both powdered and regular
garlic, salt, pepper
shredded mozzarella cheese (low-fat or part-skim)

Prep the zucchini: It's best to slice the zucchini at least 4 hours ahead of time to help reduce the moisture in the slices. Lightly salt the slices and layer them in a colander, with paper towel between the layers of zucchini. Put something heavy on top (like a stack of bowls) to help press some of the water out of the slices. When you are ready to make the lasagna, broil the zucchini slices 5-7 minutes per side to further reduce moisture.

To make the filling: chop the mushrooms, asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes, and saute them, seasoning them with salt, pepper and garlic. Pour about 1/4 cup skim milk into the pan and stir. Alternately add Parmesan cheese and powdered skim milk to thicken the mixture, until it is almost like a bisque. If you add more milk than cheese, be sure to also add more spices. (Note: if you don't have, or can't find, powdered skim milk, you can use 2% or whole milk, and add more grated cheese than milk to the mixture.) You can experiment with different filling ingredients, like spinach. The original recipe called for carrots, shallots and celery - which we though was a little boring :)

Put it all together: Heat oven to 350F. Layer the bottom of a baking dish with the broiled zucchini slices, spread a thin layer of filling over the zucchini, sprinkle with a layer of bread crumbs, then sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on top. Repeat this process until all the filling is used up. Make sure to leave enough zucchini for a top layer to cover the last of the filling (making an odd number of zucchini layers). Sprinkle the top layer of just zucchini with bread crumbs, and instead of using Parmesan cheese, top with shredded mozzarella. Bake 15-25 minutes or until the cheese on top is melted and/or browning slightly at the edges. Let cool, then slice and enjoy!


1 comment:

  1. It was really tasty! Karla and Gayatri did a wonderful job with this lasagna and the rest of the meal!