One of our favorite summer dishes is Vegetable Lasagna. You can really make this any time of year with produce from the grocery store, but using the fresh picked vegetables from your own garden extends the adventure of growing your own food. What you pick from the garden varies and so you are “inspired” to adjust the recipe to what vegetables you have on hand. Our recipe is focused around summer squash, eggplant, and tomatoes, but the combinations you can use are many. This is a baked, layered dish and the number of layers will vary depending on your pan size, number of people to feed, etc. Of course, you can add meat to this recipe!
1) Extra virgin olive oil
2) Bread crumbs
4) Peppers (almost any kind or combination)
5) Squash (Yellow, Zucchini, or similar)
6) Eggplant (we prefer the Chinese long purple, if you can find them or grow them)
7) Fennel bulb sliced or diced (optional)
8) Parmesan cheese grated
9) Fennel seed (optional)
12) Pasta sauce, fresh tomatoes or a combination (if you use only fresh tomatoes, then you also need to add typical Italian pasta sauce seasonings)
13) Mozzarella cheese grated or sliced
Note: Fennel seed is the main spice in Italian sausage which gives it it’s distinct flavor.
Putting it all together: (pre-heat oven to 325 degrees)
1) Pour and spread a thin layer of olive oil on the bottom of the baking dish.
2) Sprinkle a thin layer of bread crumbs.
3) Add a thin layer of diced onions.
4) Add a handful of diced peppers (we used a mild green pepper).
5) Spread a layer of sliced squash (we used yellow and zucchini).
6) Spread a layer of sliced eggplant.
7) Dice or slice one half of a fennel bulb and spread evenly.
8) Sprinkle a teaspoon of fennel seed evenly.
9) Season with salt and pepper.
10) Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese
11) Add spoonfuls of pasta sauce.
12) Repeat the same layers for multiple layers.
13) When finished with the top layer, spread pasta sauce thickly over the entire top of the casserole.
14) Bake for approximately 1 1/2 hours and remove to add mozzarella cheese.
15) Bake for an additional 20 minutes or until the mozzarella cheese is melted and browned to your satisfaction.
16) Bake at 325 degrees.