I found this recipe on Eat This – a gluten-free recipe blog – and I thought it looked delicious.
Actually, let me rephrase that. I thought it looked and sounded fantastically delicious! So much so, that I couldn’t wait to make it. And for whatever reason ( I have no good excuse) I had not yet made lasagna this winter. I guess I was just waiting for the right one to come along.
When I make lasagna, I will often throw some veggie ground round in, but it does seem a little boring, changing what could be an imaginative vegetarian lasagna into a “meat” lasagna. Furthermore, having a dish with canned tomatoes, cheese and veggie ground round can make the meal a bit too salty, and as the dish was intended, the lentils make this a wonderful protein-rich gluten-free meal for those who need it. In case there are any lentils haters out there, you do not even notice that they are there; this nutritious addition hides easily from picky eaters or self-proclaimed lasagna traditionalists.
The other thing that is so wonderful about this lasagna is the addition of torn leaves of fresh basil to every layer. As I write this, the lasagna is baking in the oven and the smell of basil is appetizer enough for EPC and I.
This next point may not win me any fans, but this lasagna goes easy on the cheese. Oh sure, there is a 1 1/4 cups of ricotta cheese in the mix, but with 15 % of your daily calcium and only 5 grams of fat per half cup, it doesn’t really count. I am sure you could tell from the photo that cheese topping is sparse, but that way you can see the flecks of green basil and, best of all, you won’t feel bad about having seconds.
Red Lentil and Vegetable Lasagna (I changed this a bit from the original post at Eat This due to my lack of an 8 x 8 pan)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 onion, diced
6 garlic cloves minced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1/3 cup red lentils, rinsed
1 can 28 ounce crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
10-12 whole wheat or brown rice lasagna noodles
1 1/4 cups of ricotta cheese
10 basil leaves, torn (or more to taste)
1/2 cup of grated old cheddar, monterey jack, or mozarella cheese
- Saute onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Cook until softened.
- Add celery, carrot, and zucchini and stir.
- Add lentils, crushed tomatoes, water, tomato paste, and spices and simmer for 40 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in the balsamic vinegar
- While the sauce simmers, cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions
- Place a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Add a layer of noodles and half of the ricotta cheese, 1/3 of the basil, and a 1/3 of the sauce. Repeat
- Top with the remaining pasta, sauce and basil. Sprinkle with grated cheese.
- Bake at 350° C for 30-40 minutes