Monday, May 23, 2011

vegetable lasagna sans pasta?? yum!

It's no secret. I HATE VEGETABLES!!! Well that's a lie, because I now love some select vegetables. Notice that I do not call them veggies, because that gives some kind of connotation that they are cute and lovable, and I think they are neither. I have learned, however, that when you know what the heck to do with vegetables, you can actually like them, and maybe even (dare I say it) love them.

I was in the mood for lasagna one day, but I've already said that I'm going to try to work with less meat and more vegetarian proteins. I also did not want to eat a ton of pasta and wanted to be able to stuff in a good bit of real nutrition, such as vegetables. Before eating this dish, I was seriously thinking I would end up hating after all that eggplant slicing. Instead, I decided afterward that eggplant and zucchini are my new favorite "previously detested" foods!

Of course, this dish was inspired by one of my favorite cooks of all time, Rocco Dispirito.

1 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise into long flat sheets
2 packages white mushrooms, sliced
1 large zucchini, sliced lengthwise into long flat sheets
salt and pepper
nonstick cooking spray such as Pam Olive Oil
1 1/4 cups nonfat ricotta
1 whole egg
3/4 cu grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 bottle of low calorie sauce (I love Classico Spicy Tomato and Basil)
3 cloves garlic
1 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

Preheat broiler on high. Line 3 baking sheets with aluminum foil and spray with the nonstick spray.
Lay the eggplant, zucchini, and mushroom slices side by side flat onto the sheets and season with salt and pepper, then spray lightly with the nonstick spray. Broil the sheets of vegetables for 5-7 minutes until slightly browned.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch casserole dish with nonstick spray.
In small sauce pan, spray nonstick spray and saute the minced garlic cloves until slightly browned. Add the sauce and stir for a couple of minutes.
In small bowl, combine ricotta and half of the Parmigiano and 1 egg, and salt and pepper.
Spread 1/4 of the sauce over bottom of the casserole dish. Lay zucchini on top of the sauce, covering the bottom. Spread another quarter of the sauce over the zucchini. Spread half of the ricotta mixture over the sauce. Sprinkle 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese over the cheese sauce. Repeat with mushroom slices on the next layer, then the eggplant slices over the next layer. Sprinkle the Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top of the dish.
Cover with foil, sprayed with nonstick spray, and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until cheese begins to brown for about another 10 minutes and let rest before serving. Belly up!

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