We’re trying some new ways to preserve the harvest this year. Our preference is to preserve as much nutritional value in our vegetables as possible. Garden greens are going into freezer main dishes and freezer soups.
We’ve done some pickling and are also drying a mix of greens with onions, green peppers, celery tops and parsley, and pulsing them in the food processor to season a variety of savory dishes. Our root vegetables and squash keep us nourished through March in cold storage.
This vegetarian main dish lasagna uses zucchini, summer squash, onions, green peppers and swiss chard, all freshly picked. It’s usually not something I do….cook with this much dairy, or make lasagna. However, it is a delicious home for so much of our garden produce. We will welcome the summer freshness it brings to our winter table.
I roasted the vegetables 2 days ahead and stored them in the fridge until assembly. The chard was lightly steamed earlier in the day. Not cooking the noodles saved another step and minimized clean up. I have used whole wheat and brown rice noodles successfully with the no cook method.
This Garden Vegetable Lasagna recipe makes:
- 6 / 8x8x2 inch pans that feed 4 people….or
- 3 / 13×9 inch pans feeding 6 – 8 people.
10 cups zucchini and summer squash, sliced in 1 inch rounds
2 green peppers, cored and seeds removed, cut in 1 inch pieces
6 cloves garlic chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped coarsely
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 lbs. swiss chard, stems removed and chopped coarsely (can substitute spinach)
4 tablespoons basil pesto, either store-bought or homemade
2 qts. low-fat ricotta cheese
2 egg whites lightly beaten
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
8 cups grated mozzarella cheese
2 – 3 qts. marinara, either store-bought or homemade
2 – 3 / 8 oz. boxes whole wheat or brown rice lasagna noodles
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl combine summer squashes, green peppers, onions and garlic. Toss with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables on a large rimmed baking sheet for 8 minutes, stir, then roast for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. You can do this step up to 2 days in advance. If so, store veggies covered in the refrigerator.
Lightly steam chopped chard in batches. Let cool and spin in a salad spinner to get extra moisture out.
In a large bowl combine ricotta, grated parmesan, beaten egg whites, and pesto.
Lay out all of your ingredients.
Open jars of marinara, make sure everything is out and ready for seamless assembly. Prep your pans, get all of your utensils and measuring tools handy. You are ready to roll…. and turn out some meals en masse!
Begin with a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Place a single layer of uncooked noodles on top, followed by a ricotta layer, then salt and pepper. Top ricotta with steamed chard, roasted mixed veggies, mozzarella. Repeat layers, the last layer placing noodles over veggies, sauce, then mozzarella on top.
From garden to freezer, I now have 6 frozen, oven ready meals, homemade with fresh ingredients.
The uncooked whole wheat noodles baked up tender and soft. The lasagna served up beautifully – holding it’s shape and tasting delish!