Holiday Cheer

December 20, 2015

Hello everyone,I’d like to thank you all for your wishes and comments.Every comment made by each and everyone of you has been very inspiring and motivates me to write better and share information that in some way may help someone make a better choice to a better healthier simplistic living.

Our world has become complicated and with it our trials and tribulations extend not only to work but to our families,well being,community etc. This blog is for me a chance to share information and also learn in return.So once again I thank you all for being so appreciative.

Since it’s the holiday season and I was looking for a sumptuous meal to get me out of my dry spell in the kitchen I came upon this recipe for a Vegan grilled garden vegetables lasagna with puttanesca sauce.I am always so skeptical about vegetarian lasagnas but that picture had me thinking that I should give it a try and I did.

Result: This recipe is a keeper and I used dairy unlike in the recipe. It was a medley of flavours with the herbed ricotta,pesto,puttanesca sauce and the grilled vegetables.

Give this a try As it tastes amazing and happy cooking!

1) Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Serves 8-12

  • 4 red or yellow bell peppers (about ¾ pound)
  • 4 large zucchini (1½ pounds), sliced on a diagonal about ¼-inch thick
  • 1 large Italian eggplant (about 1 pound), sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 large onion (about ½ pound), sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating the grill pan
  • 6 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves stripped from the stems and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Herb Ricotta (recipe follows)
  • 2 cups Basil Pesto (recipe follows)
  • Puttanesca Sauce (recipe follows)
  • 1 pound lasagna noodles, cooked in boiling salted water just until al dente, drained, and rinsed
  • 10 ounces mozzarella,shredded (4 cups)

1. Put each pepper directly on a gas burner over high heat and char, turning periodically with tongs, until the skin is wrinkled and blistered on all sides, about 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can roast the peppers using a broiler, turning them occasionally. Put the peppers into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let them steam for about 10 minutes to loosen the skins.

2. Pull out the cores of the peppers and remove the seeds. Pull off and discard the blackened skin. Dip your fingers in water as you work to keep the charred bits from sticking. Cut the roasted peppers into ½-inch-wide strips and put in a large mixing bowl, along with any juices that have collected. Add the sliced zucchini, eggplant and onion, tossing to combine.

3. Combine the oil, basil, thyme, garlic and shallot in a small bowl or measuring cup, season with salt and pepper, and whisk to blend. Pour the marinade over the vegetables, tossing to coat evenly. Set aside for 10 minutes so the vegetables can soak up the flavor.

4. Preheat an outdoor grill and coat with oil, or coat a grill pan with oil and put over medium-high heat. Alternatively, preheat the broiler.

5. Arrange the peppers, zucchini, eggplant and onion on the grill or grill pan (if using a grill pan, you will have to do this in batches) and grill, turning the vegetables once, until they are tender and lightly browned and have released most of their moisture, about 5 minutes per side. Or, if using the broiler, arrange the vegetables in a single layer on two nonstick baking sheets and broil in 2 batches. Set the vegetables aside.

6. Mix together the herb ricotta and 1 cup of the basil pesto in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Once you have the sauce ready, the vegetables grilled, and the filling made, you can start assembling the lasagna. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

8. Ladle about 1 cup of the sauce into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, to just cover the bottom. Slightly overlap 6 lasagna noodles crosswise so they completely cover the bottom of the dish, with no gaps. Top the noodles with one-third of the ricotta-pesto mixture, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle 1 cup of the mozzarella over the ricotta. Shingle one-third of the roasted peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and onion in an even layer on top. Repeat the process, layering sauce, lasagna noodles, ricotta-pesto,mozzarella, and vegetables 2 more times. Finally, top with the remaining 6 lasagna noodles and sauce.

9. Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until bubbly. Remove the foil and top the lasagna with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Bake for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Allow the lasagna to cool for 10 minutes before cutting into 8 squares.

To serve: Divide the remaining 1 cup pesto among eight to twelve plates, spreading it out with the back of a spoon. Set a lasagna square on top.

2) Herbed Ricotta

Makes about 4 cups

We add fresh herbs to the ricotta to bring a little something extra to the pasta filling.

  • 4 cups ricotta
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Mash together the ricotta, basil, parsley, garlic, and shallot in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. The ricotta can be prepared in advance, covered, and refrigerated before using it as a pasta filling.

3) Basil Pesto

Makes 1 cup

Pesto, among the best-known sauces to come out of Italy, is simple to make, requires no cooking and has only a few ingredients. Yet it adds the most delicious pop of color and flavor to pastas, soups and roasted vegetables.

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Combine the basil, parsley, nuts, garlic, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes in a food processor and pulse until a paste forms, pushing down the basil and parsley as needed. With the motor running, pour in the oil in a steady stream, making sure it directly hits the blade (this is the best way to distribute the oil and emulsify it evenly and quickly). Transfer to a container. If you’re not going to use the pesto immediately, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to keep it from oxidizing.

4) Puttanesca Sauce

Makes 8 cups

Puttanesca is a robust old-school Italian red sauce made from pantry staples — olives, capers and red pepper flakes.

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 cups Scoty’s Marinara Sauce (recipe follows) or store-bought sauce
  • 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup capers, drained
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Put a medium pot over medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic, shallots, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the shallots are translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Pour in the wine and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes to evaporate some of the alcohol. Stir in the tomato paste and marinara sauce and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the olives, capers and basil, and season with salt and black pepper. Gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 30 minutes.

5) Scoty’s Marinara Sauce

Makes 6 cups

  • Two 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 carrot, finely grated (about ½ cup)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter

1. Working in batches, put the tomatoes, along with their juice, in a food processor or blender and puree just until semi-smooth; you want a little bit of chunky texture.

2. Put a medium pot over medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic and carrot, season with salt, black pepper and the red pepper flakes, and sauté until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the pureed tomatoes, stirring to combine, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens, about 45 minutes. Season the sauce with more salt and black pepper, to taste. Remove from the heat, stir in the baking soda, making sure it dissolves, and add the basil and butter.

Once cooled, the sauce can be refrigerated covered for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

Happy Cooking…

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  • A
    Reply Ambrosini Ami on December 20, 2015 says;

    Salut. Bonnes vacances pour vous mon cher. Tu es très gentil. Cette belle blog très bonne. Promesse, je vais essayer votre plat demain. Nous avons un parti avant Noël et cette recette est juste à temps.

  • S
    Reply Susan on December 20, 2015 says;

    Hi there! I’m going to try this. Does not seem overly complicated!


  • t
    Reply tamika on December 20, 2015 says;

    Tasty dish i believe. As I read, I can already imagine this getting prepared. I can’t wait to try.

  • A
    Reply Aria on December 20, 2015 says;

    Oo la la! Something different are giving surprises… 🙂
    thanks for this dish.

  • D
    Reply Darya on December 20, 2015 says;

    я не ем много овощей пищи. мы в основном едят только мясо. но я хочу попробовать

  • P
    Reply Prunella on December 21, 2015 says;

    I like this post. I was searching for something authentic and vegetarian and i bumped into this post. I’m loving your whole blog as well. bookmarked. will keep visiting often. keep up the good work.

    Happy holidays!

  • S
    Reply Stacey Rosenderry on December 21, 2015 says;

    made it somewhat…. great fragrance… i added some mint leaves over it for extra dressing…
    thanks for the recipe. loved it.


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