Ah, the Sun has moved into Virgo. Not only does that mean my birthday is coming up, it is also harvest time! Summer bounty is at its peak: ripe, colorful, and awaiting to satisfy our eager tummies. This is the best part of the year to make a fresh vegetarian lasagna. Traditional lasagna has a way of wasting its flavorful juices, so I adapted to lasagna rolls a while back. It saves most of the painful plating, keeping the tastes better in-tact. I also prefer using uncooked tomatoes, but you can easily substitute with spaghetti sauce or stewed tomatoes instead.
1 package lasagna noodles, cooked by package instructions
4 ripe organic tomatoes, chopped and crushed
1/2 cup organic Thai Basil, chopped
2 organic eggplants of about 6″, sliced into half-circles
1/2 organic yellow onion, halved
3 garlic cloves, whole
2 cups organic spinach
1 cup ricotta
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan, shredded
6 Tbsp [Napa Valley Naturals] Balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp Rosemary
salt and pepper
Serve with a bed of greens. I chose radicchio with chopped bell pepper.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Drain lasagna noodles, rinse in cold water and pat dry with a clean towel. Lay them out on a clean work space. Set eggplant, onion and garlic on greased baking dish and sprinkle with pepper. Bake for 12 minutes. While baking, mix tomatoes and basil into a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then spread a thick layer of ricotta cheese on the face-up side of the lasagna noodles. When they are cool enough to handle, chop the roasted garlic cloves and combine with tomato mixture. Chop roasted onion as well, and add into a separate bowl with the roasted eggplant. Spoon out tomato mixture atop the ricotta, and sprinkle with 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese. Cover with a thin layer of the fresh spinach leaves, then spoon out eggplant and onion mixture. Sprinkle with another third of the Parmesan cheese. (If you have extra ricotta or mozzarella cheese, lay some extra out here. Or skip to avoid the extra calories.) Carefully roll the lasagna noodles around the vegetables tightly. Whatever vegetables spill out, spoon into the uncleaned baking dish and gently dish the lasagna rolls atop with a spatula. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the noodles are golden.
While lasagna rolls bake, mix molasses, balsamic vinegar and rosemary in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan and boil over medium heat for 6 minutes. The fumes from the vinegar are strong, so crack a window and turn on the overhead fan. Once the sauce is bubbling, turn the heat down to a simmer for another 6 minutes, stirring frequently. When the sauce has thickened, remove from heat until cooled to room temperature. Mix with equal parts olive oil. Drizzle over the tops of the rolls when serving, and sprinkle with the last of the Parmesan cheese.
Enjoy your food and health!
❤ Nellie Ann