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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A New Recipe: Vegetarian Greek Lasagna

Greek Lasagna

On Sunday morning, I drove to the Logan Square Farmers Market, and I bought three giant bags of gorgeous produce. Anything that looked great made its way into my tote bags. One of the farmers actually told me that I needed a sherpa. It was awesome.

When I got home, our Internet was down, so I had to get old school and look through my cookbooks for some recipes. I found some dinner ideas, picked up the rest of the ingredients at Trader Joe's, and was all set for the week ahead.

On Monday we had vegetarian congee made in the crockpot. Congee is a Chinese rice porridge. When made with chicken stock, it is amazing. Comforting, rich, delicious. Sadly, I used vegetarian stock instead. We are trying to avoid meat during the week, but next time I make congee, I think we'll make an exception and use the poultry stock. Congee made with veggie stock was vile.

Yesterday, the plain was to make a butternut squash and kale risotto. But, then I remembered that we had the kids' open school night and then a haircut appointment. We had frozen pizza (and I'll make the risotto tomorrow - the recipe looks really promising!).

Tonight, Greek Lasagna was on the menu. However, Michael developed a nasty flu/virus, so I had to cover for him in a three hour client meeting off-site. What to do? What to do? I decided to delegate. I left the recipe and the ingredients out on the counter and asked our new nanny Sammy to prepare the lasagna with the kids. It was delicious. Michael ventured out of his sick bed to eat three pieces, Max ate up with gusto, and I enjoyed it as well. The only naysayer was Dylie. She has just never liked lasagna of any variety, and this was no exception. (She prepared a Trader Joe's Green Curry for herself in the microwave).

The recipe is below, but let me first remind you that I'm posting every day for a month to raise money for Healthy Schools Campaign. Thank you so much to Lauren, Mir and Mamacita for their generous donations. We are off to a great start! If you'd like to help the cause, please click here and choose your donation amount. Every little bit helps.

Greek Lasagna (adapted from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics)

Tomato Sauce

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried marjoram (we omitted this, you could subtitute oregano if you like)
5 cups undrained canned whole tomatoes (we used 5 cups of Michael's dads homemade tomato puree)
1/3 cup chopped kalamata olives (we used less, because we didn't have that much around)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (we used 1.5 tablespoons of dried)

1 large eggplant, cut into 3/4 inch rounds
olive oil for brushing
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups cottage cheese
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds (we omitted this)
3 cups grated feta cheese (we used slightly less because we didn't have enough)
12 uncooked lasagna noodles

In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions. Saute for about five minutes. Add the garlic and majorum and cook for another few minutes. Add the tomatoes, cover the pot and bring it all to a simmer. Turn the heat down to medium low and add the olives, salt, pepper and dill (you can wait until the end to add the dill if you want maximum flavor).

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While the sauce continues to cook, lightly oil a baking sheet and cover it with the eggplant slices. Brush each slice with olive oil and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove the eggplant from the oven and then turn it down to 350 degrees.

While the eggplant cooks and the sauce simmers, mix together the eggs, cottage cheese, fennel and 1 cup of the feta. Set this aside.

Lightly oil a large Pyrex baking dish (or other lasagna pan). Spread on two cups of the tomato sauce. Top this with one layer of noodles and then another cup of sauce. Layer on all of the eggplant, one cup of feta, another layer of noodles and another cup of sauce. Add the cottage cheese mixture, another layer of noodles, the remaining sauce and the last of the feta.

Cover with foil and bake for 45-50 minutes. Remove from the oven, take off the foil, and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Serve with some crusty bread and/or a green salad.


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