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Lasagna - Veg Options - Send me over the moon!

I'm making a lasagna this weekend - the vegetarian option one.
I've made a lot of lasagnas - many good ones. But I am looking for some new ones to try. I am not a huge fan of the eggplant or mushrooms. I have used beans, squash, various cheeses and herbs. I've done Italian and Mexican versions. So I ask you Chowhounds...what is your favorite fillers and recipes for lasagna??

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  1. My favorite vegetarian lasagna is made with pesto, paperthin homemade pasta, and bechamel sauce. It's a whole other animal from the heavy, sauce-laden version with thick goopy noodles.

    3 Replies
    1. re: cheryl_h

      sounds delicious...any specific pesto? i've never made pesto or bechamel..any secrets? is bechamel like a roux?

      1. re: lollya

        My favorite has pesto, bechamel, mushrooms, and hazelnuts, and the recipe happens to be available online:
        http://www.epicurean.com/featured/mus...
        This is also really good with homemade pasta.

    2. My favorite kind of lasagna is vegetarian - my usual lasagna consists of artichokes,carrots,onions,tomatoes & maybe a few pieces of red & yellow pepper - I make my cheese mixture out of soft tofu mixed with herbs & breadcrumbs. The sauce is always a pink sauce - made with a red sauce of my choice and then either smooth tofu or organic sour cream.

      Then topped with sprinklings of fresh parm or fresh mozz -

      =)

      3 Replies
      1. re: andlulu

        I have heard about using tofu in place of cheese and have wanted to try it. You just mash it or does it have to be drained for a while first?

        1. re: prunefeet

          I frequently do this. I throw mine (after a water-press) into the processor with either cottage cheese or ricotta mixture, egg and herbs.

          1. re: prunefeet

            I let it drain for about 15-20 then crumble it all up with my breadcrumbs & herbs - no extra cheese added - makes it a real vegetarian option plus much more healthy =) Always turns out wonderfully for me.

        2. I saw that you do not like eggplant, but my favorite veggie lasagna recipe is the roasted eggplant with goat cheese from the WS Pasta cookbook.

          I don't remember the exact recipe off the top of my head but it includes: roasted eggplant, tomatoes, onion, green pepper, goat cheese, ricotta cheese, and green lasagna noodles.

          1. I make a very rich, but absolutley delicious spinach lasagne with bechamel and imported sharp provolone cheese. You want lots of fresh nutmeg and the best pasta you can find.

            I read that you have not made bechamel sauce. This is an essential that you really should learn because it is a great jumping off point for other sauces. It is very rich and a bit old fashioned, but very satisfying particularly during the winter. Here's a recipe I like, but there are many others and once you've made it a few times you'll find your own way.

            Sauce Bechamel ~ A Traditional Recipe

            1 small yellow onion, peeled and cut into small dice
            1 small carrot, peeled and cut into small dice
            1/3 celery rib, cut into small dice
            1/2 cup unsalted butter
            1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
            4-1/2 cups milk
            salt and freshly ground black pepper
            freshly grated nutmeg
            small bouquet garni

            1. Scald the milk. Remove from heat and set aside.

            2. Heat the butter in a small saucepan until the foam subsides, then add the diced vegetables. Saute until the onions are translucent.

            3. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the flour. Put the pan back on the heat and cook about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

            4. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in the scalded milk.

            5. Return to heat and bring up to a boil, stirring constantly with a woodem spoon.

            6. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the bouquet garni, lower heat and barely simmer for 35 minutes.

            7. Remove and strain the sauce, without pushing on the vegetables.

            8. Cool the sauce in a cold water bath and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. May be frozen for up to 3 months.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Kater

              ah ha! i have made bechamel, just wasn't aware of the name i guess... all of these sound wonderful...keep them coming!

              1. re: Kater

                i did not think bechamel had onions, carrots, celery, bouquet garni, nutmeg....

                is this site correct?
                http://www.astray.com/recipes/?show=O...

                1. re: alkapal

                  This is how I make it, no veggies, but it's an Italian recipe for "besciamella" so I didn't know if that made a difference. That is what I always use with baked pastas. Flour, butter, milk and heavy cream, and salt and pepper.

                  1. re: coll

                    coll, that is my understanding, too. white pepper, at that! a totally blonde sauce.

              2. A neighbour made a tofu & spinach lasagna that was surprisingly good. She got the recipe off the tofu box. If I can find the recipe I'll post it back here.

                1. I have mede a meatlees lasagna only once and here is the three filling in a three layered lasagna.

                  Bottom layer I used a red tomato sauce with thickly sliced Portabello mushrooms which I saute in a garlic and butter before mixing with the tomato sauce.

                  Middle layer I used spinach sauted in a garlic and butter in a bechamel sacue.

                  Top layer I used slice five spice pressed tofu with just stewed tomato, light on the tomatoes.

                  Top with noodles and chesse.

                  I found that the pressed tofu had the texture of meat and I got a good back on this dish.

                  1. Marcella Hazan's roasted vegetable lasagna is amazing.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: AmandaEd

                      Would you be willing to paraphrase this recipe? Thanks.

                    2. In the summer when zucchini is plentiful, I'll slice them really thin, season and bake until fairly dry. Then I'll use them as noodles w/ a lighter tomato sauce (fresh tomatoes--yum) and bechamel sauce.

                      1. these all sound good, i'm curious chowser...do you put anything on the zucchini when you bake?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: lollya

                          I lightly oil the cookie tray and brush a light coating of olive oil over the zucchini, then I season w/ salt, pepper, and whatever catches my eye. I'm the impulse seasoner but maybe parsley, oregano, thyme, basil, whatever I might put in the tomato sauce.

                          1. re: chowser

                            thanks, perfect, love your idea.

                        2. these recipes sound delicious-I make mine with a classic red sauce-I am looking forward to trying lasagna with bechamel sauce--does anyone know where this idea came from???Never heard of it before..thanks

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: marlie202

                            It's been around as long as I remember, my grandmother's recipe for cannelloni is topped with bechamel and then tomato sauce, also my lasagna recipe from cooking school in the 70s has both between every layer. Definitely not a new idea!

                          2. My favourite is with butternut squash and a runnier b├ęchamel. I don't usually add cheese, but when I do, I use fontina.

                            When I can, I'll add either spinach, porcini mushrooms or chopped roasted chestnuts.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: piccola

                              piccola that sounds wonderful! If you have a moment would you please post the recipe or link? Thanks in advance :)

                            2. i make a veg. lagagna by making a simple tomato sauce & for the filling, mix ricotta with feta cheese plus lots of spinch (or chopped broccoli) that's been sauteed in garlic. I also make a layer of slow cooked onions mixed with some chopped kalamata olives. The strong, salty, medditeranean flavors work nicely together.

                              1. The recipe linked below, for Butternut Squash, Rosemary and Garlic lasagne is out-of-this-world! It was published over 10 years ago in Gourmet and it's been a favorite of mine ever since.

                                http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                                1. I like to have 4 veg cooked, buttered and seasoned- sauteed mushroom, chopped spinach, sliced carrots and chopped broccoli- about 1 cup each, 2 cups simple tomato sauce and 4 cups of a well seasoned bechamel with made with chicken broth, wine and milk. And lots of grated cheese, about a cup each of parm, provelone and swiss. I start and finish with tomato sauce and use the white sauce for the layers.

                                  1. I love vegetarian pastas!
                                    But my favorite lasagne...came about when I made this garlicky ricotta sauce.
                                    Paper thin pasta, and a little whipped sweet potato to help hold things together. grilled crimini mushrooms, zucchini, fresh spinach, lots of carmelized onions, tomatoes, and this knockout garlicky ricotta sauce with fresh basil. Grilled the mushrooms and zuchinni (for flavor) or put them in frying pan without oil, and a higher heat to brown them)
                                    For cheese layers, I used fontina, gouda and parm and the ricotta cream sauce
                                    I also use a little red sauce, but the real star is the garlicky ricotta cream sauce with fresh basil.
                                    Its a good idea to keep a couple of pint size containers with sweet potato puree in the freezer.I find so many good uses for it.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                      I do the same thing with pureed carrots, it's amazing how handy it comes in.

                                      1. re: coll

                                        chef and coll, do you ever make the pasta noodle itself with the pureed veggies (sweet tater, or carrots)? if so, let me in on it!

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          I've done spinach, it's a very small amount like a tablespoon.

                                          1. re: coll

                                            do you finely mince it? whizz it?

                                            1. re: alkapal

                                              Cook it til it's mush, then knead it into the dough. It's not really that much healthier, just makes a nice color.

                                          2. re: alkapal

                                            No I'm scared!
                                            Got a pasta machine (had it for like 18 years) and nary a noodle.
                                            What is my problem!!! Although I've made fresh pasta by hand, rolled it out to make a giant ravioli. Made bread, crepes, Chinese pasta for dumplings. and pancakes for moo shu pork.
                                            I should be able to do this too! I should probably start out with play dough!

                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                              If you have the hand crank pasta machine, it takes awhile before you can do it by yourself, it takes some coordination!

                                      2. Not my recipes , but certainly well used !!

                                        http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
                                        have made that one for lots of dinner parties....recieved with raves by my carnivore friends !!! be warned...not a low fat dish !!

                                        http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
                                        enjoyed with a friend who was a big fan of butternut squash and pumpkin pastas.