A good vegetarian lasagna is hard to come by, even in restaurants, unless they are the family owned Italian restaurants – but they often don’t have vegetarian lasagnas. In Ahmedabad, its even more difficult.
My fridge was stocked with vegetables and the inspiration struck to attempt my first homemade lasagna and the results were quite tasty. I read a bunch of recipes and came up with this. You can make it healthy by reducing the cheese in half (which I would do next time). And don’t worry, the paneer turned out to be a really good substitute for ricotta (which is not available in India).
Note: I did get some ingredients from our local import store, namely the lasagna noodles, pasta sauce and canned artichoke hearts. You can use whatever pasta sauce you like, it plays a large role in taste, so select well. If fresh artichokes are available, I would recommend it. The artichokes really thickened the vegetable filling.
Hearty Healthy Vegetable Lasagna
makes 2 square 1.6L dishes, which is enough for atleast 8 people.
- 12 lasagna noodles (I used no-bake noodles)
- 1.5 green bell peppers, chopped (or 1 cup chopped)
- 1 large carrot, chopped (or 1 cup chopped)
- 4 drained artichoke hearts, chopped
- 3/4 cup onions, chopped
- 1 3/4 cup spinach, chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste (or 3-4 garlic cloves, minced)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional)
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder (optional)
- 500 grams paneer (or ricotta cheese)
- 350 grams shredded mozzarella cheese* (i used “cheeza”)
- 2 10 oz jars of pasta sauce**
* If you want to make it healthier, you can use less than 200 grams of cheese. Just use enough to cover the very top and do not use in the layers. Paneer is quite sufficient within the lasagna to give cheesy taste.
** Feel free to make your own pasta sauce. If you have wine, I would recommend the sauce from this chicken parmigiana recipe (no, you don’t need chicken for the sauce) from Pioneer Woman.
- If using lasagna noodles that need to be cooked, cook the lasagna noodles in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Rinse with cold water, and drain.
- In a large saucepan, cook green peppers, carrots, onion, and garlic in oil. Add artichokes when almost cooked. Stir in 1 jar of pasta sauce. Add pepper and chili powder and stir well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. This is our vegetable sauce.
- Crumble paneer and mix in spinach.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Cover bottom of baking dish with pasta sauce from jar. Place 2 lasagna noodles on bottom, layer with 1/4 each of vegetable sauce and paneer mix. Top with 1/8 mozzarella cheese and some pasta sauce from jar. Repeat lasagna noodle, vegetable sauce, paneer mix, mozzarella and pasta sauce layers. Cover with 2 lasagna noodles. Top with pasta sauce from jar and 1/4 of mozzarella cheese. Repeat with second tray.
- Cover tray with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.