Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Vegetarian Lasagna Roll-ups

I have been cooking mostly Indian food for dinner for a while, and felt ready for something different.

While cleaning up my pantry last week, I found as box of long- forgotten lasagna noodles.  I used to make lasagna or some kind of baked pasta dish quite often.  When my kids were a bit younger, their friends would come for sleepovers and pasta was always a big hit with them.  Since most of the recipes I followed for baked pasta dishes served 8 – 10 people, it worked out well and I did not have too much left over after the sleepover.

Now, with just the three of us at home, when we have Italian – it is spaghetti with some store-bought pasta sauce and French bread, served with olive oil and fresh ground pepper. 

I wanted to use the lasagna noodles, but did not feel like making a big pan of baked veggie lasagna.  So I improvised a bit and made lasagna roll-ups.  I saw a meat-based recipe for this in a magazine and adapted it to suit my vegetarian kitchen. The advantage with this recipe is that you can make as little or as much as you need.  It also gave me a chance to use up some of the zucchini I had from my garden.

Here is what you need:

(Serves 4)

  • 8 lasagna noodles
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped
  • ½ cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper
  • red chili flakes
  • 1/3 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • ½ - ¾  cup shredded Italian cheese
  • 16 oz. pasta sauce (I love the White Linen Collection, Gourmet Pasta Sauces, Victoria All Natural Marinara sauce from Costco)

Here is how I made it:

  1. Cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3.  While the noodles are cooking, heat oil in a pan.
  4. Add zucchini, mushrooms, and spinach.  Sauté for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add salt, pepper, and red chili flakes. Sauté for a couple of more minutes.  Turn off the stove.
  6. Add the cottage cheese and half of the shredded Italian cheese.  Mix well.
  7. In a baking dish, spoon a little bit of the pasta sauce to cover the bottom.
  8. Place the lasagna noodle, one at a time on a cutting board.  Spread a little bit of the veggie mixture on the noodle and roll it up (like you would roll up an ace bandage).  Some of the filling will spill out.  You can scoop it out and put it into the baking dish.
  9. Place the rolled up noodles on the baking dish, seam side down.
  10. Repeat with rest of the noodles.
  11. Spread the remaining pasta sauce on top of the rolled up noodles.
  12. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top.
  13. Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes until the cheese is melted.
Serve with a side salad and bread of your choice.

Note 1:  Both my husband and I are not big cheese lovers.  So I added very little cheese.  You can add more cheese if you like.   I also like to sprinkle some hot chili garlic sauce on my share – just to spice it up a bit. 

Note 2:  If, after baking, the pasta seems too dry, just warm up a little bit of the pasta sauce in a microwave (covered) safe dish and pour it on top of the pasta.

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