This lasagna is light, airy, and full of interesting and unexpected tastes and textures.
The term “deconstructed”, when referring to versions of classic dishes, can be a little contrived. This lasagna is not the classic variety, nor is it deconstructed. Loosely constructed is a more appropriate description. However, it does have a few things in common with classic lasagna. The lasagna noodles still separate layers of ingredients, a tomato based sauce, and a creamy cheesy sauce.
Make the creamy sauce by mashing together cauliflower and ricotta cheese. Fresh tomatoes and parsley come together for the tomato sauce. There are a variety of vegetables: some roasted, some seared in a skillet. I blanch the asparagus spears for a minute or two in salted water to highlight their flavour yet still be crisp to the bite.
We achieve a combination of fresh (minimally cooked) tastes and sweeter more complex notes of seared and slow roasted vegetables. To top it all off, sprinkle with the king of cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, or Parmesan if budget constraints are a factor.
Loosely constructed vegetarian lasagna
- 300 g baby carrots
- 1 green and 1 yellow zucchini
- 2 red peppers
- 250 g ricotta cheese
- 1 medium head of cauliflower
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 200 g mushrooms
- 3 large tomatoes or equivalent in smaller tomatoes. The redder the better
- 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 8 sheets lasagna pasta around 150 sq cm per sheet
- 1 cup finely grated parmesan
- Pre heat the oven to 200 degC.
- Halve and trim the red peppers.
- Clean and trim the carrots.
- Lay the peppers and carrots on a baking tray, drizzle with oil, and roast for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Bring a medium pot of water to the boil and add 1 tsp salt.
- Blanch the asparagus in the boiling water fro 3 minutes, then refresh under cold water to halt cooking and set aside.
- Boil the lasagna sheets in salted water until al dente. Plunge into cold water then drain. Set aside.
- Trim the cauliflower and coarsely chop.
- Boil the cauliflower in salted water until soft.
- Drain the cauliflower and return to the hot pot and let sit until it cools.
- Clean and trim the mushrooms.
- Stir fry the mushrooms until starting to brown. Set aside.
- Clean and slice the zucchinis.
- Smear some olive oil in a frying pan and bring to a high heat.
- Sear the zucchini rounds until starting to brown. Set aside.
- Remove the tomato skins by plunging the tomatoes into boiling water until the skins peel off easily.
- Remove the core, pulp, and pips from the tomatoes.
- Use a food processor or blender to combine the tomato flesh, parsley, salt, and pepper.
- When the cauliflower has cooled, mash well, then fold in the ricotta cheese and paprika. Set aside.
- Slice the red peppers into strips. Same with the carrots, unless they were quite small in the first place.
- Drain the lasagna sheets and coat with the tomato parsley mix.
- Smear a an 8th of the cauliflower ricotta on each plate.
- Add a layer of the vegetables – peppers, mushrooms, zucchinis, asparagus, carrots.
- Add a layer of lasagna sheets smothered in the fresh tomato and parsley mix.
- Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
- Before serving, microwave each plate for 2 minutes.
- Grill under a hot grill, or a flame, until the parmesan is melted and browning.