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Sunday, August 26, 2012

One Of My Favorites

Happy Sunday, everyone! I love Sundays because...well, they are like everyone else's Saturdays as I typically have Sunday and Monday off. But also, I love Sundays because my fiance and I are free all day to spend the day together.
On a typical Sunday we will do something outdoorsy in the morning. Today we went for a dive at the Marine Room in La Jolla, which was enjoyable and relaxing. Then, after a quick Costco run (I'm overly excited about our new label maker!), we headed home for nap time followed by meal time. The extra time that I have on Sundays allows me to make something extra special for us. Tonight I made one of my favorite (so far!) vegan recipes, Zucchini-Quinoa Lasagna.
This recipe is great for a lot of reasons: it is extremely easy; it is packed with protein and highly satisfying; it can soothe any Italian-food craving; it doesn't even use noodles** - unique AND gluten-free; and, for ex-ricotta lovers like me, it doesn't make you miss the real thing! It takes a bit of time only because of cooking time for the quinoa and baking time for the lasagna, but it is a low-maintenance deal! It can also be easily customized - I added a bunch of broccoli, cut into small florets, into mine because I love veggie lasagna; you could also try meatless ground if you wanted, although it isn't necessary for upping the protein.

**I did use noodles this time around, per fiance's request =) But I LOVE the recipe even more with zucchini, as called for!

Zucchini-Quinoa Lasagna
2 large zucchini, cut lengthwise into twelve 1/4-inch thick slices
1 tsp. salt
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped (I leave this out because I don't prefer parsley, but to each his own!)
2 tbs. non-dairy cream cheese, optional (I leave this out as well)
1 25-oz. jar marinara sauce (this is what the recipe calls for, but I ALWAYS end up needing at least another 1/2 jar! I would recommend having two jars on hand just in case)
1/2 cup shredded nondairy cheese, such as Daiya Mozzarella, optional (I also need nearly a full bag of this, since I love gooey, "cheesy" lasagna)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place zucchini slices on a bed of paper towels. Sprinkle with salt, cover with paper towels, and let stand to release moisture while preparing quinoa.

Bring broth, quinoa, tomato sauce, onion, and oregano to a boil in saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 25 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, and stir in basil, parsley, and cream cheese, if using.

Quinoa mixture about to boil, already smelling fantastic!

Spoon 1/3 cup marinara sauce over bottom of 8-inch square baking dish. Blot remaining moisture and salt from zucchini slices, and lay 4 slices over marinara sauce in pan. Spoon half of quinoa over zucchini, and cover with 1/3 cup marinara. Repeat with 4 more zucchini slices, remaining quino, and 1/3 cup marinara. Top with remaining 4 zucchini slices, remaining marinara, and shredded cheese, if using.

Baking time

Bake lasagna 30 minutes, or until zucchini is tender and top is bubbly.

Finished product.

Bottom Line: A healthy, protein-packed meal sure to please even the pickiest of palates!

Recipe found in July/August 2011 issue of Vegetarian Times magazine; originally created by and posted on

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