Culinary Labor of Love

 Rustic Roasted Vegetable Lasagna – A Recipe Suggestion

  I fell in love with my husband again a few years ago.   I had arrived home on a Sunday night from a long International Association of Culinary Professionals conference to a bubbling Roasted Vegetable Lasagna that he had spent the better part of the day making.  I’ve always thought lasagna was too much work for a rectangular casserole, but this lasagna was different, with layers of  roasted eggplant, mushrooms, parsnips, sweet onions, bell peppers, homemade tomato sauce and Italian cheeses to knit the textures and flavors together.   

We’ve made it many times and, while I have this written recipe, it works more as a guide because we vary it each time. Initially we used time-saving no-boil lasagna noodles made with refined wheat, but now prefer whole wheat or other whole grain lasagna noodles that you must boil and drain.  It’s more work but the whole grain noodles match the rustic nature of the winter vegetables.

I am posting this on Valentine’s Day because the most important point about this recipe is that you make it with someone whose company you enjoy. Even with two, it will take several hours to peel, slice and roast trays of vegetables (we use about 6 types), which you may need to do in batches depending on the size or number of your ovens and baking sheets, make sauce, boil noodles and grate cheese.  Hopefully you’ve already done the shopping.  Fortunately it makes two lasagnas so you have something to share or freeze. 

If you are not comfortable with a recipe as a suggestion, don’t make this because it is not an exact science.  The recipe is a culinary labor of love that evolves, as relationships tend to do. 

Family Harmony in the Kitchen   One time my husband and I were going back and forth about how to cook something and I snapped, “Are we going to follow your vision or mine?”  I realized that what works best when we’re both in the kitchen is for one of us to take the lead and the other to help execute the vision.  Sometimes I am the sous chef, carrying out his recipe idea (with suggestions thrown in of course!), and sometimes he is mine. 

Rustic Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

The secret to this lasagna is the root vegetables; however you can substitute zucchini or other mild-tasting vegetables. See the preparation tips following the recipe before starting.

 2 to 3 bell peppers, any color or combination

1/2 cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic, smashed

3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 to 2 pounds of each of the following vegetables:

•           Eggplant, peeled

•           Sweet or red onions

•           Mushrooms

•           Parsnips 

•           Rutabagas

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 1/2 to 9 cups rich-tasting herbed tomato sauce for pasta, preferably homemade

3/4 pound part-skim mozzarella shredded

3/4 pound imported fontina, provolone or other full-flavored Italian cheese, shredded

1/2 cup shredded fresh parmesan cheese

1 pound whole wheat lasagna noodles 

Halve and core bell peppers.  Place on a baking sheet and broil until skins blacken.  Remove from oven and cover to steam while cooling.  Peel blackened skin and discard.  Chop peppers and reserve. Warm olive oil with smashed garlic until fragrant.  Stir in balsamic vinegar.  Preheat oven to 400 °. Cut vegetables into slices about 1/3-inch thick. Place vegetables in a single layer on baking sheets, keeping each type of vegetable together on a single sheet.  (You may need to roast the vegetables in batches.) Brush lightly with olive oil mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast vegetables until tender, 25 to 30 minutes or longer, and switching position of sheets in oven if needed.   Remove from oven. Cook noodles in boiling, lightly salted water until almost al dente.  Drain, rinse and place on clean kitchen towels to absorb excess water. In a large bowl, toss together mozzarella and fontina cheeses.  Coat two 9-x-13-inch lasagna pans with cooking spray. Layer ingredients evenly in the 2 lasagna pans, making three layers of noodles, vegetables, cheese and sauce in each pan.  For each lasagna: Spread 1/2 cup sauce in bottom of pan.  Then layer ingredients as follows: noodles, vegetables, cheese, about 1 1/4 cups sauce, noodles, vegetables, cheese, about 11/4 cups sauce, vegetables, cheese, noodles and 1 1/4 cups sauce.  Cover tightly with foil and bake at 375 ° for 40 to 50 minutes or until hot.  Remove foil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly and allow parmesan to melt.  Makes 2 (9-x-13-inch) lasagnas, each serving 6 to 8 people.


  • To prevent watery lasagna, drain the noodles on clean kitchen towels before layering with the other ingredient and make sure the vegetables are well-roasted so they don’t give off liquid during baking.


  •  Coarsely chop the roasted vegetables so the lasagna is easier to cut and serve.  When layering ingredients, mix large and small vegetables in a single layer to fit them all in. For example, make a layer of eggplant (or onion or rutabaga) and sprinkle with mushrooms or chopped bell pepper.


  • To freeze, before baking wrap the assembled lasagna as airtight as possible and freeze.  Thaw in the refrigerator (or microwave oven if using a microwave-safe dish) then let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking, and add 15 to 30 minutes to the cooking time. 


  • If you can’t squeeze all those roasted vegetables into the lasagnas, toss them with a little vinaigrette and pile them on a sandwich or stir into a grain salad. 


Copyright © Lorelle S Del Matto 2012

lorelle About lorelle

Crazy about cooking, eating and sharing good food – my work and leisure revolve around the kitchen. As a culinary dietitian my professional life encompasses nutrition counseling and education, recipe development, product development, food and nutrition writing, marketing communications, corporate test kitchen and consumer affairs management, food styling and work as a product spokesperson.

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