I had people over for dinner last night. My main criterion for cooking when having people over: Make Ahead. I want most of the meal (and dishes) to be done before guests arrive so I am not stressed about time or being prepared. Lasagna fits this criterion perfectly. It is cooked and assembled beforehand (maybe even the day before) and popped in the oven about an hour before dinner. This lasagna is veggie packed while also being extremely substantial.
I use canned marinara sauce here for ease and time. Make sure to watch the sugar and sodium content if purchasing pre-made sauce. The veggies are a free for all here, I get out every veg I have in the fridge for this dish.
- 6 whole-wheat lasagna noodles
- 3/4 jar marinara (or any red sauce)
- 1/2 c broccoli, cut into small florets
- 1/2 c summer squash, diced
- 1/3 c carrot, “julienned”
- 1/3 c mushroom, diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 clove garlic, diced
- 15 oz carton part-skim ricotta
- 2-3 Tbsp fresh herbs, chopped (I used basil, cilantro, and parsley)
- 1/2 c mozzarella
- cook noodles according to box.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat, add veggies, cook until colors brighten and onion is translucent, about 8 minutes.
- add pasta sauce to pan, continue to heat at least 5 minutes.
- mix ricotta with fresh herbs
- Assemble: noodles -> ricotta->veggies until ingredients are done. Top with mozarella cheese. I use a bread pan, but any shape will work.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- TO BAKE: preheat oven to 375 deg. Bake for 30 min covered, then 20 min uncovered. let cool for about 10-15 min.