a peek inside the fishbowl

01 Dec, 2010

Will they eat it: an easy recipe for (vegetarian!) lasagna

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Recipes and Food

Before I get into the nitty gritty of this recipe I have to tell you about what went down at Casa Fishbowl yesterday. The National was coming to my house (remember?) and I had a few things to do around here.  My priority was to clean the kitchen and my mop head tore clean off. I had lemons simmering on the stove (a natural air-freshener) when I discovered I’d accidentally brought a bag of dog poop into the house and it was sitting on our front stairs. (Ew.) Seriously, it became a comedy of errors which grew progressively laughable as the day wore on. My finest moment was loudly begging Sarah to stop playing with the dog and tidy the living room. I may have used the words “I BEG YOU.” Yes. Fine.

As for me, I did what I could with the kitchen floor and the rest of the house, and swept everything from my desk area into a laundry basket and shoved it in the closet… and prayed that no one would find a reason to look in there.

I joked to Sarah: “I hope this story isn’t going to be an investigation of Canadian closets!”
“Or our bedrooms!” she chirped cheerily.

Ha.

Ha.

I tried to ignore the beat up baseboards in the front hall THE BEST I COULD.

*sigh*

Anyway, other than camera-crew related cleaning woes it went fine, more than fine, it was great. They were here for about 3 hours and it was really fun. And that was only part one. Now, on to the recipe du jour!

I have a thing about lasagna. I love it, but I feel like it’s too much work so I never make it. I’m also very picky about my lasagna. It has to be the right balance of meat and veg and I can never get it quite right. I’m also not a fancy lasagna person. No chicken and mushrooms and reams of white sauce thankyouverymuch.

That’s why I was very happy to find this easy recipe for a lazy (wo)man’s three-cheese faux lasagna. It’s from Karen a.k.a. ScatteredMom. She blogs here and here, and is also a meal planning editor at a website called EverythingMom.

Her recipe has all the great hallmarks of lasagna: the cheese, the sauce, the noodles, without the pressure of making a giant tray of the stuff. And you know what? It’s meatless (yay!), and a bit of spinach gives it an extra boost of flava and improves its healthy quotient.

Karen is busy. And I trust her judgement. And she loves healthy dinners as much as I do. If she says it’s good, it’s going to be good. And she wasn’t wrong about this one.

The recipe is posted here. (Just scroll down to “Friday.” )

I’m not even going to bother posting a photo of my results, because hers is so gorgeous.

I will add this:

  • It’s good to have meat-free dinners every once in awhile. Did you know that if everyone had a a meat-free dinner once a week it would help make the world a better place? Read more about this at Meat Free Mondays.
  • I used half as much spinach as Karen called for in her recipe. I had a feeling it would be too spinachy for my non-spinach eaters. And here’s a surprise… they ate it. (!) Well, mostly. The older one liked it more than the younger one, but she’s not a tomato-sauce lover, so I had that against me at the outset. But STILL. I do consider this a keeper.
  • I recommend boiling a couple of extra noodles in case they, um, stick to the pot or drop on the floor. (Which would NEVER happen around here.)
  • I think I overloaded the first few rolls with too much filling. You really only need a heaping tablespoon or so.
  • I used Western-brand pressed cottage cheese (it looks like a squished ball of vacuum-wrapped mozzarella) and it worked great.
  • Buy real parmesan cheese! If it comes in a plastic container that looks like a giant salt shaker and smells like sneakers, that’s not real parmesan. The real stuff costs $12.00 for a wedge. You owe it to yourself to buy the real thing, even if you have to sacrifice a trip to Starbucks or a pack of smokes in order to afford it.
  • Check the sodium level on your store-bought spaghetti sauce and compare different brands. You might be surprised. (I used this PC Blue Menu brand for this recipe.)

Anyway, the lasagna turned out wonderfully; happy tummies all around. We served it with fresh bread and a salad. It’s a keeper. I hope you try this one out!


8 Responses to "Will they eat it: an easy recipe for (vegetarian!) lasagna"

1 | Annie @ PhD in Parenting

December 1st, 2010 at 10:14 am

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I saw that recipe in Karen’s meal plan and it looks great! I made my signature pasta sauce last night. I use one jar of PC Organics sauce, which does have too much sodium, in my opinion. But I add to it a zucchini , 1.5 red peppers, an onion, some garlic, chopped spinach, 3/4 lb of ground beef (can leave that out too), and 1/2 jar of water (i.e. fill the PC Organics sauce jar half way up with water and dump it into the pot). This is a great sauce for getting my son, who doesn’t eat vegetables, to eat them and getting my daughter, who doesn’t eat meat, to eat a bit of it.

3 | Carly

December 1st, 2010 at 9:37 pm

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You had me at spinach. I love lasagna with spinach, but like you, always felt it was too much work. I love the “rolls”. Great idea!

4 | Carly

December 1st, 2010 at 9:38 pm

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Ooo, wanted to mention . . . I’ve made essentially the same recipe, but with rotini instead of lasagna noodles. It takes even less time – you just toss all your ingredients together in a casserole dish, top with a layer of cheese and bake. Mmm.

5 | Fiona

December 2nd, 2010 at 12:23 pm

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We also like something called “Skillet Lasagna” from Cooks Illustrated, where you break the lasagna noodles into big pieces and cook them in the very saucy filling with blobs of ricotta on top. Its very fast too, 25 mins tops.

6 | “So do you want the good news, or the bad news?” >> a peek inside the fishbowl

December 2nd, 2010 at 3:04 pm

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[…] That’s exactly what Dr. Freedhoff (of Weighty Matters fame) said when I picked up the phone. He was the reason why The National was at my house the other day. (First written about here, and a bit in a frazzled post here.) […]

7 | Chantal

December 2nd, 2010 at 7:39 pm

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Hey I make home made lasagna all the time. I got the recipe from the Kraft Canada site. What I like about it the most is you don’t have to cook the noodles ahead of time. If you are interested go to their site and search for Easy Lasagna. I don’t always use meat, I always use spinach and I usually add whatever is going soft in the crisper. You just add an extra 1.5 cups of water to your sauce and the noodles cook themselves. It rocks. I hate the fussiness of cooking the noodles separately and then handling them (or I’m lazy)…

8 | Michelle

December 3rd, 2010 at 7:30 pm

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We LOVE Karen’s Meal Plans! Thanks, Andrea for writing about them and glad you liked the Lasagna!

Michelle

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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