all dinner recipes/ italian/ pasta/ Valentine's Day/ vegetarian dinner

Vegetarian lasagna with zucchini and spinach

5 July 2018 | Last Updated: 13 August 2019

Delicious vegetarian lasagne, cheesy, packed with vegetables. Everyone just loves it, even the meat-eaters!. Crispy zucchini, creamy spinach, flavorful tomato sauce, and delicate béchamel sauce, plus a lot of grated parmesan cheese on top – it’s really pure comfort food! As with any lasagne, the preparation is a bit time-consuming, so I really recommend doubling the recipe (I baked it in a very large 32×38 cm / 13×15 inch dish). Lasagne freezes very well. From the recipe below you will have a little extra tomato sauce – it can be frozen or used for dinner the next day. Make sure to try it, you‘ll be delighted!

Try also my other vegetarian lasagne recipe – pumpkin and mushroom white lasagne!

Vegetarian lasagna with zucchini and spinach
a portion of Vegetarian lasagna with zucchini and spinach on a white plate

Vegetarian lasagna with zucchini and spinach

Delicious vegetarian lasagne. Crispy zucchini, creamy spinach, a flavorful tomato sauce, and delicate béchamel sauce, plus a lot of grated parmesan cheese on top – pure comfort food!
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings 4 big servings (or 6 small)
Calories 717kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

14 lasagna sheets

    tomato sauce:

    • 1 large onion
    • 2 small carrots
    • 1 stalk celery or 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
    • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 heaping teaspoon dried basil can be omitted when using fresh basil leaves
    • 3 tablespoons frying oil
    • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
    • a splash of red wine dry / semi-dry, approx. 60 ml / 4 tbsp, can be omitted
    • 1 bottle tomato puree/passata 24 fl oz / 680 ml
    • 1 can crushed tomatoes 14 oz / 400g
    • 1 cup vegetable / chicken broth optional, only if you have more time to cook the sauce!
    • 1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce you can skip it
    • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
    • a small handful fresh basil leaves about 12 large leaves, or you can use only dried basil

    spinach:

    • 11 oz frozen spinach thawed, 300g
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
    • 1/3 teaspoon nutmeg
    • salt and pepper to taste

    zucchini:

    • 3 medium zucchini about 2 lbs / 850g
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • salt and pepper to taste

    bechamel sauce:

    • 3 tablespoons butter 1.4 oz/40g
    • 5 tablespoons flour 1.4 oz/40g
    • 2 cups milk 500 ml
    • 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
    • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
    • salt and pepper to taste

    additionally:

    • 2 handfuls grated parmesan 1 ¾ cup / 4 oz / 120g

    Instructions

    tomato sauce:

    • Finely chop the onion and selery stalk, grate the carrot.
    • In a large pot, warm the oil over medium heat, once hot, add the vegetables and dried spices (if you’re using fresh basil leaves, you can skip dried basil), cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently (the vegetables should be slightly browned and the onion translucent).
    • Add the garlic, cook for a minute.
    • Add the wine, cook, stirring, for a few minutes, until almost completely evaporated.
    • Add the tomato passata, crushed canned tomatos and broth (broth is optional! only if you have time to cook the sauce about 40 minutes longer, so that the excess liquid can evaporate, the sauce with the broth will be a bit tastier, but you can easily skip it if you don’t have time). Cook for about 30 minutes (partially covered) until the sauce thickens, stirring from time to time (especially at the end).
    • Season the sauce with the worchestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar and sugar and salt and papper to taste, add basil leaves, cook for about a minute, puree with a hand blender until smooth.
    • While the sauce is cooking, prepare the spinach and zucchini.
    • Preheat the oven to 220 °C / 450 °F / Gas 8, no fan (if you have a convection oven reduce the temperature by about 20° of follow the manufacturer's instructions).

    spinach:

    • Thaw the spinach and squeeze out the excess water.
    • Add butter to a medium skillet, once it’s melted and bubbling, add the garlic, cook for approx. 30 seconds, then add the spinach and nutmeg. Cook for about 2 minutes, season with salt and pepper to taste (when using fresh spinach leaves, cook them only until they wilt).

    zucchini:

    • Cut the zucchini into thick, about 1 cm / ½ inch slices.
    • Spread the zucchini in a single layer on a baking sheet, brush on both sides with olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste.
    • Roast for about 15 minutes until slightly tender, but not completely cooked through (roasting the zucchini drives off excess moisture +browned zucchini = lots of flavor).
    • While the zucchini is baking, prepare the béchamel sauce.
    • After removing the zucchini from the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 190 °C / 375 °F / Gas Mark 5, no fan.

    bechamel sauce:

    • In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium heat, once it’s bubbling, add the flour, whisk until combined.
    • Gradually add milk (a little at a time, about ⅓ cup / 100 ml), stir thoroughly after each addition, making sure that no lumps form. The next portion can be added when the previous one is well combined, the sauce is thickened a bit and bubbling.
    • Remove the pot from heat, season the sauce with lemon juice, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.

    assembling the lasagna:

    • Prepare a 31×21 cm / 12×8 inch baking dish.
    • Spread 1/3 of the bechamel sauce at the bottom of the dish.
    • Place first layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (Adjust the amount of pasta to the size of your baking dish, I added 3.5 lasagna noodles. Using a sharp knife, you can cut dry pasta into pieces, most of the time it’s easy, but that depends on the pasta brand, even if their edges are uneven, after baking it won‘t matter).
    • Spread 1 and ¼ cups of tomato sauce on top.
    • Place ½ zucchini slices on top, then 3.5 lasagne noodles.
    • Spoon another 1/3 of the béchamel sauce on top.
    • Spread an even layer spinach on top, cover with 3.5 lasagne noodles and spoon 1 and ¼ cups of tomato sauce.
    • Arrange the remaining ½ zucchini slices, then put another layer of lasagne noodles, spoon the remaining 1/3 béchamel sauce on top.
    • Sprinkle over the parmesan cheese.
    • Bake for about 35 minutes, until golden brown on top and bubbling (after about 10-15 minutes cooking time check if the last layer of lasagne noodles doesn’t rise up, if so, pierce them with a sharp knife, you also need to check the lasagne about 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time, if it browns too quickly cover it loosely with aluminum foil).
    • Wait about 15 minutes before cutting the lasagne into portions (it needs time to set, otherwise it will be too liquid).
    • Serve warm and enjoy!

    Notes

    * 1 cup is 240-250 ml
    * Lasagne freezes very well and can be defrosted directly in the oven.
    * You will have a little tomato sauce left. You can cook a quick spaghetti for 2 people – cook about 200 g ground meat in a frying pan until nicely brown but not dry, mix with tomato sauce and serve with al dente-cooked spaghetti.
    * Calories count = 1/5 of the recipe. This is only an estimate.
    * If you are on a strict vegetarian diet, make sure to use a vegetarian Parmesan cheese/rennet-free Parmesan.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 717kcal
    Course dinner
    Cuisine international, Italian
    Keyword vegetarian lasagna, vegetarian lasagne, zucchini and spinach lasagna

    Did you make this recipe? Let me know how you liked it and give it a star rating in the comments below! You can also add a photo of your creation!

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