Make-Ahead Summer Vegetable Lasagna

Before I jump right into the recipe, I have to tell you that these next several weeks are going to be pretty busy for me. If you’ve been checking out my posts, you know that I’m heading over to Rome and London next week. Yay! I’ve been writing lists and getting organized for the trip. I am seriously neurotic when it comes to packing luggage, and I am a total carry-on-only warrior. I’ve got my travel journal ready and all my TSA approved snacks and travel size organic toiletries. Anyway, since I’ve been planning everything right down to the smallest of details, I realized I’d forgotten one of the most important things to consider. After returning home from a long trip, the last thing you want to think about is grocery shopping and cooking. I needed to come up with a meal that I can take straight from the freezer and pop in the oven as soon as I set down my bags.

Because farmer’s markets and summer CSAs are in full swing, and because I have more summer squash than I know what to do with, I decided to make a Summer vegetable lasagna. Lasagna is one of my favorite meals, y’all, and this recipe is nothing short of amazing. The Béchamel sauce really makes every bite a cosmic experience. The best part is that you can make this ahead of time and then freeze portions for a quick, healthy, and oh so tasty meal when you return home from your own vacay. You must try this!!!

Summer Vegetable Lasagna

Ingredients

For the vegetable filling:

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 yellow or green summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) dice
  • 3 jarred roasted red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz./875 g) plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (1 oz./30 g) fresh basil leaves, minced
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the béchamel sauce

  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) whole milk
  • 3 cups (24 oz./750 g) ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 3/4 lb. (12 oz./375 g) mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions

1. Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C).

2. To make the filling, in a 5-quart (5-l) Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Stir in the bell peppers, tomatoes, basil and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Clean the pot.

3. To make the béchamel sauce, in the same pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly stir in the milk and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer half of the sauce to a bowl. Spread the remaining sauce evenly on the bottom of the pot. In another bowl, stir together the ricotta, egg and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper.

4. Cover the sauce in the pot with a single layer of lasagna noodles, breaking them if needed to fit. Spread one-third of the ricotta mixture evenly on top, then one-third of the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with one-fourth of the mozzarella. Repeat the layering 2 more times, starting with the noodles. Top with a final layer of noodles and the remaining béchamel sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella. Cover the pot with aluminum foil and bake until the noodles are tender, about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top is browned, about 15 minutes longer. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm. Serves 8 to 10.

***To freeze, cut it into individual portions. Wrap the portions in aluminum foil and when you’re ready to reheat, just pop them in the oven for about 45 minutes at 375°F.

Source: Williams Sonoma

Try This— Crispy Cauliflower Burger With Spicy Hummus Mayo

I want to make this clear: I am not one of those militant vegetarians. You know the ones I’m talking about. Your one vegetarian friend that winces every time you order a steak. The one that begins every sentence with some kind of snide comment about what you’re having for lunch. That one friend that sucks the enjoyment smooth out of any meal, because, you know, they’re so enlightened. I repeat: I am not one of those vegetarians. I share vegetarian recipes, but I completely understand that a lot of people eat meat, and I’m totally fine with that. I also know that some people really need meat… the iron, the protein, whatever. I’m totally cool with that too. This Crispy Cauliflower Burger recipe that I’m about to share with you, though labeled vegetarian, is completely Earth shattering-ly amazing whatever your dietary preference. So you have to feel me when I say this. Do whatever you have to do to make this here burger. Add bacon. Drink a pint of bone broth. Whatever. No excuses. You must try this!

Crispy Cauliflower Burger

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut as above
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 slices provolone cheese
  • 2 potato-bread buns, toasted
  • Spicy Hummus-Mayo (recipe below)
  • Leaf lettuce
  • Sliced roasted red peppers (from jar)

Directions

***How to cut cauliflower steaks

  1. choose the largest cauliflower you can find; they’re much easier to cut into steaks.
  2. Remove the outer leaves and trim the stem end.
  3. Hold cauliflower with its base on a cutting board.
  4. With a sharp knife, make one cut through the center of the cauliflower to divide it in half.
  5. Now cut each half into two 3/4-inch thick slices. Save the ends to eat as a snack or serve with salad

  • Blanch the cauliflower steaks by gently placing them into simmering water for about 2-3 minutes, just until crisp-tender; remove and shock in ice-water to cool; drain and pat the “steaks” dry with paper towel, carefully.
  • Combine the panko breadcrumbs with the grated parmesan cheese in a large bowl, along with a pinch of salt and some black pepper, and set aside for a moment.
  • Bread the cauliflower “steaks” by dipping them in the flour, then into the beaten eggs, then into the panko/parmesan mixture; set aside on a plate while you heat your oil for frying.
  • Heat enough oil in a large non-stick pan to shallow fry, about 1-2 inches; once oil is hot, add the breaded cauliflower “steaks” in and fry for roughly 2 minutes per side, or until golden-brown; place the “steaks” on paper towels to drain.
  • Top each “steak” with a slice of provolone cheese, and place it under the broiler (or small toaster oven) just to melt the cheese.
  • To assemble the burgers, spread some of the Spicy Hummus-Mayo onto both top and bottom toasted buns, then add some leaves of lettuce; place the cheesy cauliflower “steak” over the lettuce, then top it with a few slices of the roasted red peppers, and cover it with the top bun; serve while hot with choice of sides.

Spicy Hummus-Mayo

Ingredients

• ½ cup garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
• ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons mayo
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• 2 teaspoons lemon juice
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
• ¼ teaspoon paprika
• ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
• Pinch or two red pepper flakes (more or less depending on your preference)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

  • Place all of the ingredients up to and including the red pepper flakes into the bowl of food processor, and blend until smooth
  • with processor running, drizzle in the oil, until well blended; use immediately, or store in fridge until ready to use.

Source: Cozy Apron