I have these muffins I like to make every now and then that are filled with zucchini, carrot and all kinds of good stuff, so the other day when I was feeling like whipping up a batch I asked P if he could pick me up some zucchini on his way home. I figured 4 or 5 would be plenty, but what I didn’t realize is that he went to the land of giant vegetables and out of the 5 zucchinis he picked up, I only used one. So, stuck with 4 huge ass zucchinis that I didn’t want to go to waste, I ferociously searched through my magazines in search of zucchini recipes. I’m not usually a fan of recipes that have vegetables masquerading as pasta, why deny yourself of something as perfect as pasta…ok, I can understand it if you’re celiac….or eating healthy…or you have zucchini you need to use up….ok, I get it. That didn’t change the fact that I didn’t have high hopes for this dish, yeah it got good reviews but I kept envisioning taking the casserole dish out of the oven and ending up with a big watery mess. Oh ye have little faith.
The first step involves sprinkling salt on the sliced zucchini and patting it with paper towels, so right there in the very first step the watery dilemma has been solved. The recipe calls for store bought marinara, if you’re feeling a little more ambitious then I was then feel free to make your own but I figured why make something more complicated then it needs to be. I picked up a bottle of Presidents Choice Sweet Basil marinara, which is not too shabby I might add. This lasagna actually turned not just good but pretty damn good! I’m still not 100% sold on the vegetable/pasta issue but I was impressed by how sneaky those zucchini were into fooling me that I was eating pasta. I loved the quinoa filling, the addition of tofutti made it nice and creamy; I may store that recipe in the little back corner of my mind to pull out when I’m in need of a filling for stuffed peppers or something.
I’m pretty sure my favourite lasagna will always be the recipe in Nonna’s Italian Kitchen, but for a lighter and quicker lasagna, this one was pretty decent. The fact that it has less calories because of the zucchini was kind of moot on my part since I went a little overboard with the Daiya, I had an open bag in the fridge and I figured if I was gonna use it I might as well use it all. Well I guess there was more in there then I thought and once I started going I couldn’t stop myself, no point in keeping the bag when there’s only a tiny little amount, that’s like putting the orange juice back in the fridge when there’s only a couple drops left. Whatever, it made the dish extra awesome. I did have a salad with it though, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to hear about that, I’ve got to spread this stuff out otherwise I’ll have nothing to talk about!
ZUCCHINI QUINOA LASAGNA
- 2 large zucchini, cut lengthwise into 12, 1/4 inch-thick strips
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons non-dairy cream cheese
- 1 (25 oz) jar marinara sauce
- 3/4 – 1 cup shredded vegan mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Place zucchini slices on a bed of paper towels. Sprinkle with salt, cover with paper towels, and let stand to release moisture while preparing quinoa.
- In a saucepan over medium high heat, saute onion in oil for 6 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook for a few more minutes or until garlic starts to brown. Mix in broth, quinoa, tomato sauce and oregano, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, and stir in basil, parsley, and cream cheese.
- Spoon 1/3 cup marinara sauce over bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish. Blot remaining moisture and salt from zucchini slices, and lay 4 zucchini slices over marinara sauce in pan. Spoon half of quinoa mixture over zucchini slices, and cover with 1/2 cup marinara. Repeat with 4 more zucchini slices, remaining quinoa, and 1/2 cup marinara. Top with remaining 4 zucchini slices, remaining marinara, and shredded cheese.
- Bake lasagna for 30 to 40 minutes, or until zucchini is tender and top is bubbly.