Take Two – Veggie Lasagna

Jessie mentioned recently that she frequently finds herself making two meals – one for her and one for her husband. I remember my mother making probably more than two meals for our family of five. We all had our qualifications (me: no beans, my sister: no fish) and diet is such an individual thing, it can be hard to find something everyone likes that’s not a big plate of pasta every single night.

G and I have lived together for a while and we’ve both influenced each other’s tastes and preferences. He jokes that he never had olive oil before he met me, but probably it just wasn’t in these huge quantities haha. He’s literally taught me how to grocery shop (plan meals, don’t just fill your fridge) and I’ve gotten him to appreciate olives and hummus.

As our diets change (I’m currently eschewing cow’s milk and becoming closer to vegetarian everyday) it’s even harder to find homemade dinners that we’ll both enjoy. And frankly, one of my favorite things about cooking is sharing the experience. We both want to be enjoying the same dish, with the same wine, so we can both look at each other while we’re eating and say, “OMG this is AWESOME. They should give us our own show on the Food Network. We ARE top chefs.”

So my solution, rather than make two dinners, has been to modify our existing repertoire to suit both tastes. We’ll make the same stir-fry, but I’ll fry up shrimp and tofu separately for each of us. Β Or in this lasagna, you’ll see how half is minus the cheese. Removing dairy has been virtually painless this way. We still order pizza from SF’s best pizza spot, we just get a whole pie and ask them to leave off the cheese on half. As long as you’re not calling Dominos, NO ONE IS CONFUSED BY THIS. That was a revelation for me. They get this request all the time! You are not a freak (even if your boyfriend calls you one).

Veggie Lasagna

Makes a 9X13 tray.

Ingredients:
1 small carrot, shaved (use a veggie peeler to make strips)
3 small zucchini, sliced
10 large cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 cups spinach, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
3 large shallots, cut into strips
8 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped roughly
Oregano
Red Pepper Flakes
Cracked black pepper
Garlic salt
1 small container Ricotta cheese (if using)
Freshly grated Mozzarella cheese (if using)
1 jar tomato sauce (Muir Glen)
1 can crushed tomatoes, fire roasted
1 small can diced tomatoes, fire roasted
1 package no boil lasagna noodles

Instructions:
I always sautee my veggies ahead of time with the spices in olive oil.

You want them slightly al dente since they’ll cook more in the oven, but cook them to the point you could eat them if you preferred your veggies on the raw-er side.

G gets the knife in every chopping picture. He loves that thing.

For the shallots/garlic, I wanted it to caramelize a little so I threw in some agave nectar. You could also use sugar, stevia, honey–whatever floats your boat.

Layer your lasagna in the traditional way: a little sauce on the bottom of the pan, a layer of noodles, spread the ricotta (if using) add the sauteed veggies, sprinkle the spinach, layer of tomatoes/sauce, add chopped kalamatas, sprinkle mozzarella (if using), and repeat! Bake at 350Β° covered with foil for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until noodles are cooked. Tip: Do NOT skip the shredded carrots. We both agreed it was a seriously delicious addition.

I’m strongly considering Gena’s January Cleanse. One – for me, it’s good to take 10 days off drinking no matter what I eat and having a set time frame is easier than “oh I just won’t have wine tonight.” Two – I love her approach to the idea of cleansing and truly trust her judgement. Read her blog for one post and you’ll see what I mean. Or read two, since that’s the theme of the day and I promise you’ll want to.

Still need to get her OK on this, but I’m hoping to do a series on it while I’m doing the cleanse. It will be all vegan, high raw for 10 days. For that, I’m going to have to get my roommate’s OK. Or make two dinners.

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8 responses to “Take Two – Veggie Lasagna

  1. looks awesome!!! thanks for sharing! πŸ˜‰

  2. I don’t see a picture, how strange! I am a make 2 meals, or I just make something and then add meat or dairy after I take a portion for myself.

  3. oh man, veggie lasagna. I have GOT to make some of that. you had me at mushrooms and spinach. I will make any recipe that has those in it!! πŸ˜‰

    I tend to try that approach, like make stuffed peppers and add some ground meat to his filling, or do chicken strips for him and tofu for me, but I’ve been doing the “leftover cycling” most. It’s just not the same, though. I prefer your method of same meal, slight tweaks.

  4. I also have to make two seperate dinners. Sometimes I can modify what I am having for the hubz. Other nights he doesn’t even want anything to do with what I am eating. I will only make complete seperates once and while. I hope it encourages him to also try what I am having more often.

  5. lol…that lasagna looks pretty, even with a split personality πŸ™‚

    I’ll have to check out that cleanse…I might be on board. I feel like I always need a kick in the pants, come January.

  6. I totally agree about making different meals for different people. I have the same problem!

    I love lasagna…such a great idea to modify one dish like this.

  7. After seeing Gena award you, I had to come say hi and congrats! I recently just moved from San Diego to AZ and miss CA terribly! I love that you’re in SF, how awesome! And your veggie lasagna looks fab!

  8. Yes, it was a drag making multiple meals every night. That is one of the best things about all of you leaving home. Dad and I eat the same things, and enjoy it! Geoff will have to evolve with you. I ate red meat for the first 10 years we were together…so much easier once I stopped. I am so proud of you that you are going toward a vegetarian lifestyle. After all we never gave you red meat, ever! You explored it yourself once you left home. You grew up on Goats milk, soy milk, no cheese (until later) and you gave us such a hard time about us being so weird! Welcome to our world. Love you, Mom

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