Eat Well: Lasagna? I Hardly Know Ya. (JK. I totally know you!)

The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks, Mom!
When my kids were young, my favorite “company” meal was lasagna, mainly because it is a one-dish meal and can be cooked ahead. That was back in our meat eating days and I would make it with fresh Italian sausage. I got out of the habit when we became vegetarian and gluten free, but I don’t know why because vegetarian gluten free lasagna is just as good—as long as you have good gluten free pasta and the right vegetables.

I discovered RP’s fresh gluten free pasta at Whole Foods, but if you go to their website, you can find out where to purchase it near you. It is absolutely delicious. Amazing, really. You would never know that it is gluten free. What’s great is that you don’t have to cook the noodles before assembling the lasagna, which takes away one of the steps. (You can also use conventional cooked lasagna noodles or the no-boil kind for this recipe.)
Look for marinara sauce without added sugar. Whole Foods’ 365 brand has several flavors, some with sugar and some without. I used their Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce, which has no added sugar. I personally don’t like peppers in lasagna, but for those of you who do, you can roast or sauté them and add them to your sauce. I make my vegetarian lasagna with lots of mushrooms and roasted eggplant, but you could add any vegetables you want, as long as they aren’t too wet. Roasting helps get rid of the excess moisture, but you can also sauté on high heat until done and drain off excess liquid. Now is a great time to buy every kind of pumpkin and other winter squashes. You could roast slices of the squash instead of the eggplant and it would be delicious, too! (For more holiday pumpkin recipes, go here.)

Roasted Eggplant and Mushroom Lasagna

2 eggplants, sliced longwise in 1/3 inch slices
1 lb sliced mushrooms (I use baby bellas or crimini)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (25 ounce) jars marinara sauce
 ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ cup red wine
1 lb ricotta cheese
1 lb mozzarella cheese, shredded
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Olive oil
12 ounces RP fresh lasagna noodles (or whatever other lasagna noodles you like)

If you are using conventional lasagna noodles, cook them as directed. Brush slices of eggplant with olive oil, both sides, and place on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Roast at 400˚ for about 20 minutes, turning once, or until soft. Set aside.
Meanwhile, sauté mushrooms in a pan on medium high heat until liquid has evaporated (or roast in oven at 425˚ until brown). Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add onions, mushrooms, basil and wine to marinara sauce. Bring to a boil. Turn flame down and simmer, partially covered, for about 20 minutes.
To assemble lasagna, spoon enough sauce to cover bottom of a 13x9 inch glass or ceramic oven-proof dish. Place lasagna noodles on top to cover. Place half of sliced eggplant on top of noodles. Dot the eggplant with ½ of the ricotta cheese and 1/3 of the mozzarella. Cover with 1/3 of the sauce.
Repeat the layers—noodles, eggplant, cheese, sauce, and noodles.
Put rest of sauce on top of noodles and spread the rest of mozzarella on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake, covered with aluminum foil, at 350˚ for 45 minutes. Take off the aluminum foil and bake for 15 more minutes. Let stand for about 20 minutes before serving.
You can assemble lasagna the day before and then bring to room temperature before cooking it. It also freezes beautifully!

If you don’t want to take the time to doctor the marinara sauce with onions, basil, and wine, here is a quick version that is also delicious! 

Roasted Eggplant and Mushroom Lasagna, Quick Method

No-Boil or fresh lasagna noodles
2 eggplants, sliced longwise in 1/3 inch slices, and roasted (see above)
12 ounces sliced mushrooms, roasted or sautéd, until brown (see above)
2 (25 ounce) jars marinara sauce
1 lb ricotta cheese
1 1b shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

 Spoon marinara sauce, straight from the jar, to cover bottom of 13x9 oven proof glass or ceramic baking dish. Lay noodles to cover on top. Put half of the eggplant and ½ of the mushrooms on top of noodles. Dot the eggplant and mushrooms with half of the ricotta and 1/3 of the mozzarella. Cover with 1/3 of the sauce. Repeat layers—noodles, vegetables, cheese, and sauce. Top with noodles, rest of sauce and the rest of the mozzarella. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. 
 Bake as above. …… Enjoy!!