Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ho hum Vegetable Lasagna and Kick Ass Eggplant Dip

I made a Weight Watchers recipe of roasted vegetable lasagna for New Year's Day at Bek's.  Spoiler alert:  I'm not impressed. 
Therefore, I'm not going to the trouble of figuring out the nutritional information.  I won't be making this again anyway. But, in the interests of saving you and yours the time and money of every making this vegetable lasagna, I'm going to detail the grim reality of it.  However, because I suck and can't remember to always take pictures as I go along (or even when I finish the damn product), this has an incomplete set of photos, but we'll have to struggle along.  Here's the process in a nutshell.  You chop a lot of vegetables. It took some time to prepare all these vegetables.  And it wasn't cheap.  I used 2 medium eggplant, 2 medium zucchini, and a large yellow squash, 3 onions, 3 green bell peppers, 5 carrots, and about 8 cloves of elephant garlic.   Put them on a baking sheet with about 2 tsp of olive oil.  Toss them around a bit.

This is the carnage from the veggie preparation.  To the compost with you!

Then you roast them.  About 20 minutes in a 425 degree oven.  I had so many vegetables, I had to do this in two batches.

While the veggies are roasting, you want to cook, drain and hold a box of whole wheat (or whole grain in my case) lasagna noodles.

While the noodles are cooking and the vegetables are roasting, prepare the cheese mixture.  This is the bowl that used to contain about 2.5 cups of ricotta cheese and about a half cup of grated Parmesan.  To this I added a generous heaping (about 1.5 T of parsley flakes) and twice that of dried basil.  I also added quite a bit of freshly ground black pepper.  I told you that I sucked at remembering to take pictures until it was too late. 

And then I did it again.  But the idea here is that you take about half of the roasted vegetables and you put them in the blender with about 3/4 cup of water to make a veggie puree.  Since I used a lot of eggplant, the puree was largely green with some orange from the carrots.  To this I added about a half teaspoon of salt and an equal amount of freshly ground black pepper.  This actually tasted good right out of the bowl.  I was starting to have faith in the recipe.

Another shot of what was left of the puree.

Assembly was a simple matter of putting about a half cup of puree on the bottom of a baking dish, and then layering noodles, whole roasted vegetables, diced tomatoes, jarred spaghetti sauce (I used Classico basil and garlic), cheese mix, and vegetable puree until you run out.  I made three layers in a 9x13 pan.  I topped the whole thing off with a shmear of tomato sauce and a thin layer of mozzarella cheese.  You could certainly add more.

So how did it turn out?  Well, by normal lasagna standards, a little different.  I was unhappy with the presence of large pieces of bell pepper and onion, which just seemed to fall out of the lasagna, and I found myself wishing that I had retained more whole eggplant for the layering process. Surprisingly, it was a bit bland. I'm not sure why that was.  Other than the absence of meat, I have the standard lasagna components:  tomato sauce, cheese and noodles.  I found that the addition of some good southern hot sauce kicked it up enough to save it.

I haven't quite decided what to do to make this worth the 7 Weight Watchers points that it costs per serving.  Maybe add poblano peppers? Maybe just add red pepper flakes? Maybe try something different altogether?  This made a LOT of lasagna and took a lot of time and effort, and it wasn't cheap, so I certainly want to figure it out before I try it again.  I'm a little surprised that it didn't wow me more since the puree tasted so great straight out of the blender.  (Maybe I can just co-opt the puree as a kick ass vegetarian dip.)

Any ideas are appreciated.

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