Very Veggie: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m really looking forward to the winding down of the Jewish new year celebration. The holidays are so nice to celebrate, but it becomes a ridiculous food fest full of heavy meals and constant cooking! I recently purchased this wrist-worn step tracker to help counteract the effects of all the eating! I have to say, I love it. It’s great motivation and is a great new toy – sure beats the step-tracking apps that are draining my iPhone battery, but I digress.

Often, yontif meals are meat meals, and I really think having dairy once in a while instead helps break up all the festive meals.  I recently made this lasagna for one of the holidays, and if you’re looking for something to make for this Shmini Atzeret or Simchat Torah, it may be a good option for you.

Shemini Atzeret literally means “the assembly of the eighth (day)”, and it falls after the 7 day holiday of Sukkot, which began last week. It is followed by Simchat Torah, which means “Rejoicing in the Torah”.  Every week, on Shabbat, Jews all around the world publicly read the weekly portion of the Torah in synagogue.  On Simchat Torah, we read the last Torah portion, then proceed immediately to the first chapter of Genesis, reminding us that the Torah is a circle, and never ends. The completion of the yearly reading of the Torah is a huge celebration. People dance and sing in synagogue, and getting drunk is also common (isn’t being Jewish fun?!). Still, the same restrictions regarding work that apply on Shabbat apply on this holiday and all other yontifs, with a few exceptions.

One of the major exceptions is that from Friday at sundown to Saturday at sundown (Shabbat), you are not permitted to cook. On Jewish holidays such as Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, however, you are permitted to cook on the day for that particular day. So, for Jews who are very observant of these work customs, it means that they can have this tasty lasagna without having to worry about making it ahead of time!

I made this recipe up based on the vegetables I had available in my fridge at the time – by all means, adjust it to your own tastes, and tweak it as you see fit. Lasagna is one of those things that really doesn’t require a concrete recipe – you can layer whatever you want.

I served it with this squash soup, and now that squash are in season more locally, I would highly recommend it. Happy eating!

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

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1 box oven ready lasagna noodles
1- 1.5 cans of Unico pasta sauce (the large cans, and the original recipe)
1 500g container of light ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 tbsp dried parsley, divided in half
1- 2 tbsp egg whites (you will only need this if your ricotta is dry)
2 medium zucchini, one yellow and one green
1 medium red onion
1 yellow pepper
1 red pepper
10 – 12 cremini mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 – 1 cup shredded light mozzarella cheese
2-3 tbsp chopped fresh basil

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  1. Preheat oven to 400. Dice all vegetables and put in a lightly greased roasting pan. Toss with 2 tbsp dried parsley, minced garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper.  Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes, or until vegetables are roasted. This can be done ahead of time and put in the fridge overnight. Alternatively, set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, the remaining dried parsley, and if needed, the egg whites. Set aside.
  3. Reduce oven heat to 350. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Pour enough sauce into the bottom to cover it. Place one layer of lasagna noodles on top of the sauce (follow package directions- you may need to soak the noodles in hot water for one minute). On top of the noodles, pour enough sauce to lightly cover the noodles.
  4. Spread half of the vegetable mixture over the noodles, and then cover with another layer of noodles, and another thin layer of tomato sauce.
  5. Spread the cheese mixture evenly across the noodles, then cover with a third layer of noodles and then sauce.
  6. Top with remaining vegetables, one more layer of noodles, then sauce and then sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese over top of lasagna.
  7. Bake at 350 for about an hour. If you find that the top is browning too quickly, loosely cover with tin foil.
  8. Right before serving, top lasagna with chopped basil.

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