Vegetable Lasagna

I’m not a vegetarian. OTOH I like vegetarian food, vegetables, whole grains and most of the things vegetarians eat. It’s just that at heart, I’m a meat eater (that includes chicken, fish and so on) even though, the older I get the less of it I consume.

My husband Ed and I once went on a vegetarian diet to lose weight. At the time we didn’t actually need to lose weight, only we thought we did. We decided the best way to do it was to cut out meat of any kind.

We had the most fabulous dinners ever!

I gained 6 pounds, and I forget how many Ed gained.

So, anyone who says vegetarian food can’t be delicious and filling should get in touch with me.

As I recall, we had cauliflower pudding, chili with (full-fat) sour cream and shredded cheddar, broccoli quiche, mushroom risotto, Huevos Rancheros, vegetable jambalaya. So, so delicious. 

We eventually went back to our usual way to eat. The way I grew up: protein, veggie, starch, though I’ve changed that over the years to protein, 2 vegetables.

But every once in a while we go back to a meatless night or two. And we’ll have something like this for dinner:

Vegetable Lasagna

1/2 pound lasagna noodles

1 medium eggplant

salt to taste

4 tablepsoons butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

freshly ground black pepper to taste

a few grindings of freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup olive oil, approximately

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

10 ounces mushrooms, sliced

35 ounce can Italian-style tomatoes, drained and coarsely cut up

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cook the noodles in lightly salted water for about 8 minutes or until tender but still slightly chewy. Drain and set aside. Slice the eggplant and sprinkle with salt. Let rest for about 10 minutes, then wipe the slices dry with paper towels. In a saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, add the flour and whisk for about a minute, blending the flour in thoroughly. Gradually add the milk, whisking continuously, to form a smooth, thickened sauce, about 2-3 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and a few grindings of fresh nutmeg. Heat some of the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Fry the eggplant slices a few at a time, on both sides, for 3-4 minutes or until they are softened and lightly browned. Add more olive oil as needed to prevent scorching. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Set aside. Mix the tomatoes, basil and oregano in a bowl. Lightly grease a 9”x13” baking dish. Cover with 1/3 of the noodles. Spread 1/3 of the milk sauce on top and cover with half the eggplant slices. Next layer: half the remaining noodles, topped with the remaining eggplant slices. Cover with the tomato mixture. Cover with the remaining noodles. Mix the remaining milk sauce with the onion-mushroom mixture and spread on top. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake for about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Makes 8 servings