Monday, February 27, 2012

V is for: Vegetable Lasagna in the Slow Cooker {guest post}

I'm very excited to introduce today's guest blogger, Karen Bellessa Petersen. As you might remember from my Pulled Pork Paninis, which I posted on her blog back in January, Karen runs a very successful  slow cooking blog, and has her SECOND cookbook coming out soon. 

Today, she shares a vegetable lasagna that can be made in the slow cooker. How cool is that?!?

Another exciting thing about this post? It's the first recipe containing bell peppers on my blog. As my close friends know, it's the one weird thing I won't eat, but I do feel like I deprive my blog readers of these healthy vegetables that are universally enjoyed by a lot of people. I am definitely going to try this recipe, but substitute zucchini, as Karen suggested as a possible variation. Thanks Karen, looks great!

I'm so happy to be a guest poster on Jaymee's blog. She and I went to high school together and have been drawn back together by facebook and our mutual love of food. :) I have been blogging for about 3 years now.  My blog, 365 Days of Slow Cooking, is exclusively slow cooker recipes. I am a stay-at-home mom of 2 kids and I can say that the slow cooker is a mom's best friend. Talk about time-saver and also not having to make dinner at dinner time has saved me on numerous occasions.

Anyhow, I was excited to try this vegetarian lasagna. I've done a lot of lasagnas before but never one without meat. This turned out amazing. The roasted vegetables and fresh basil added a dimension of flavor that left me wondering why I ever cooked lasagna with sausage or beef in the first place! This recipe is also fairly easy and the prep time probably took a total of 30 minutes or less. It helps that you don't even have to pre-cook the noodles. I used whole grain lasagna noodles because they seem to hold up better in the slow cooker.  Sometimes the refined pastas turn to mush when left to cook for several hours in the slow cooker.




Making a foil sling allows you to easily remove the lasagna from the slow cooker. To make a foil sling:  Fit two large sheets of foil into the slow cooker, perpendicular to one another, with the extra hanging over the edges of the cooker insert. Before serving, these overhanging edges can be used as handles to pull the dish out fully intact. If you prefer, you could easily make this recipe in the oven as well.  Just layer in a 9 x 13 baking dish, cover with foil and cook at 350 for about 40 minutes (I would probably cook the pasta until al dente, beforehand).
Ideas and variations: Next time I would like to add a few more veggies. I think adding a red bell pepper and sliced zucchini would be wonderful. The veggies shrink down a bit when roasted so adding more would work fine.

Vegetable Slow Cooker Lasagna

by Karen Peterson
Keywords: slow-cooker entree vegetarian eggplant mushroom pasta marinara sauce Italian

Ingredients
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into rounds and then quartered (mine was about 12 oz but up to a pound or so would be okay)
  • 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups cottage cheese or ricotta (whatever you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg (use egg substitute if you'd like)
  • 1 (26 ounce) jar of your favorite meatless spaghetti sauce (or use homemade)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, minced
  • 2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese
  • 9 whole wheat lasagna noodles, uncooked
Instructions
  1. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place eggplant, mushrooms and peppers on sheet. Combine oil and garlic and brush on both sides of the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. Stir and then cook for another 5 minutes, or so.
  2. While veggies are cooking, combine cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese and egg in a bowl.
  3. If you want to get the lasagna out of the slow cooker intact, make a foil sling for your slow cooker and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Layer the ingredients as follows: 1/4 cup pasta sauce (spread on bottom of 6 quart slow cooker), 3 lasagna noodles (break in half if needed), half of cottage cheese mixture, half of vegetables, 1/3 of pasta sauce, 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese, half of basil. Repeat layers and top with remaining noodles and pasta sauce
  5. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or on LOW for 5-6 hours. Uncover and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and let cheese melt. Unplug slow cooker and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove lasagna and transfer to a platter. Cut and serve.
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2 comments:

  1. do you think this would work with gluten free noodles and no egg?

    ReplyDelete
  2. This lasagna is amazing! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete

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