Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hearty Vegetarian Lasagna with Shiitake Mushrooms



My goal on Sunday was to create a lasagna dish with colorful layers, like the lasagna dishes frequently photographed in food magazines.

Using eggplant, yellow squash, shiitake mushrooms, and baby spinach, I had hoped the end product would be a lasagna bursting with purple, yellow, brown, and green layers.

That did not happen, as you can see from the photo. Sauteing the vegetables caused their color to dull, with the exception of the spinach.

Nonetheless, this version of a vegetarian lasagna is my favorite one I've made thus far. The shiitake mushrooms, combined with the soy sauce, give this dish a really hearty, earthy, flavor.

Hearty Vegetarian Lasagna with Shiitake Mushrooms
Serves approximately 8

1 box (16 sheets) no-boil lasagna sheets (I recommend Barilla brand)

5 cups marinara sauce (I used the marina sauce I made weeks ago and froze)

1 package (8 ounces) grated Italian five cheese (I used Kraft brand)

1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, and roughly chopped

3 small yellow squashes, cut in half lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 small eggplant, cut into quarters lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 bag (6 ounces) baby spinach leaves

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Extra virgin olive oil, for sauteing the vegetables
Salt and pepper
Italian parsley, finely chopped, for garnishing




Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a pot, begin warming up the marinara sauce over medium heat.

Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to a skillet. Saute the spinach leaves, with a pinch each of salt and pepper, until they start to wilt, about 2 minutes. Remove the spinach leaves and place them in a bowl. Squeeze out any excess liquid from the spinach using a spoon, and set it aside.

Separately saute the
squash and the eggplant, with a pinch each of salt and pepper, in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, until they become soft, about 3-5 minutes. Remove them from the skillet and set them aside.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Saute the shiitake mushrooms until they become soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and continue cooking for another 30 seconds. Remove the shiitake mushrooms and set them aside.



To assemble the lasagna, spread 1/4 cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish. Place 4 lasagna sheets in the dish as shown above. (The lasagna sheets will expand to the edge of the baking dish while cooking in the oven.)

Next, spread approximately 3/4 cup of marina sauce and the squash on top of the first layer of lasagna sheets. Lightly sprinkle (about 1/4 cup) the grated cheese over the squash. Layer another 4 lasagna sheets over the squash and grated cheese. Repeat these steps with the spinach and then the eggplant. Layer the final 4 lasagna sheets in the box over the eggplant and grated cheese.

Spread all of the remaining marinara sauce and the shiitake mushrooms over this final layer of lasagna sheets. Top heavily with the remaining grated cheese.



Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.

3 comments:

Heather J. Chin said...

That looks delicious. To retain color, might I suggest blanching the veggies mid-sautee? Basically, you saute a bit and just as it starts getting brilliantly colored and cooked, take them off the pan and dump 'em in cold water. This will retain the color when you layer them in the lasagna and bake. I've never tried this myself, but it's worth a shot and now I'm going to hit the grocery store to try this out. =)

DAVID said...

Thanks, Heather. I'll try this out the next time I make this. I think another problem I had with obtaining colorful layers is that the flesh of the vegetables I used were not all that colorful to begin with, e.g., the flesh of yellow squash isn't all that yellow.

So, perhaps I also need to rethink the vegetables I use. Your saute and blanch suggestion would work with, say, asparagus spears. Lasagna with asparagus spears and shiitake mushrooms . . . hmmmm.

HussahT said...

Is it possible to assemble the lasagna, and store it overnight in the fridge and cook it the next day.
thanks,
hussah