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Ina' Garten's Lasagna

I would like to try Ina Garten's "Parker's Lasagna" However, one of the people to whom I would serve it is vegetarian. This particular lasagna includes 3 cheeses and sausage. Do you think I can just omit the sausage (veg sausage wouldn't work cause the texture disgusts the vegetarian) or is there something I can replace it with that would keep the lasagna truer to the original?
I often make just cheese lasagna, and that is fine with all. Can I try this one without the sausage and without compromising the taste?
Thanks

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  1. bxgirl, what do you think about replacing the texture of sausage for a meaty mushroom? I'd brown the mushrooms in a small amount of olive oil. I like baby portabella for this and then add to your filling layers.

    2 Replies
    1. re: HillJ

      Great idea!! I think I might try that. I'm curious, though, as to how important the sausage is to this particular recipe.

      1. re: HillJ

        HillJ, we must be mind melding! i thought "mushrooms" as i was reading bxgirl's dilemma.

        i think i might pre-cook the mushies to eliminate the extra moisture....or adjust sauces to take advantage of it.

      2. I'd add some typical sausage flavors to the mushroom (fennel seed, maybe some Italian mixes). Also consider eggplant (if you can find any in the stores!) I was vegetarian for nearly 20 years, and I used roasted eggplant all the time, along w/ mushrooms, in my lasagna.

        3 Replies
        1. re: pine time

          pine time, two excellent...no make that three (fennel, basil, oregano, garlic) excellent ideas! I would prepare the eggplant the same way as mushrooms in olive oil before adding it to the lasagna.

          1. re: HillJ

            toasted and ground fennel seeds give something that "italian sausage" flavor -- and i add it to spaghetti sauce all the time (but then again, i love fennel**).

            i would be careful cooking the eggplant in olive oil prior to layering in the lasagne, because that might get awfully heavy, as the eggplant is a sponge. i'm thinking that the eggplant *might* be better just sliced more thinly, and put in raw. or if you're not comfy with that, then pre-bake with a light spray of olive oil -- like from a mister.

            come to think of it, small cubes of mushroom (mentioned above) and eggplant (with the maybe-partially-ground fennel seed) might be a better texture to approximate ground sausage -- instead of slices, which often don't "cut" well after you've got a piece of lasagne on your plate. (the slices sort of "pull out" from the layers).
            ~~~~~~
            ** big honkin' fennel thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/576330

          2. re: pine time

            Where were you when I was trying to make bolognese with fake meat for my lasagna a few days ago? I should have just done a mushroom version, but the inclusion of eggplant and fennel would have been fantastic! I am kicking myself. I just suggested moussaka on another vegetarian thread.

            I can't *wait* to try it this way.

          3. Ina made a delicious-looking mushroom lasagna on a recent show...
            http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

            1. Just a thought; why not set some aside for a smaller baking dish for the veg, and make the rest with sausage? I'd really miss the sausage in my lasagna recipe, for taste and texture.

              1. I say make a recipe that is supposed to be meatless and save this one for when you're serving all carnivores. Since there's no need to always have meat at a meal, I think it is nicer to serve a dish that doesn't make the vegetarian odd man out.

                4 Replies
                1. re: escondido123

                  When I was a vegetarian, the special dish made me feel like the most special guest. And I often do it for others, too.

                  1. re: mcf

                    I figure if there's no meat at the table we don't run the risk of the being asked why they're a vegetarian which I think is a good subject to avoid when there is meat on the table. But that's just me:)

                    1. re: escondido123

                      Been there, done that, it's NBD. ;-)

                      1. re: mcf

                        Glad to hear that. Last time I was at a dinner where the subject came it, it turned into a YEAID sort of discussion. ;)