This Vegetarian Lasagna Contains A Surprising Ingredient

Photo: Courtesy of Crunchy Radish.
Who doesn't love lasagna? Well, maybe there are a few of you out there. 

Making lasagna is typically an arduous process with a multitude of steps that require a lot of patience, but little in the way of cooking skills. Of course, you could always take the easy route with "no cook" noodles, jarred tomato sauce, and processed cheese, but that's not the way we do things over at The Crunchy Radish. Our zucchini lasagna is a lighter, fresher, good-for-you take on an all-time Sunday classic.

We removed noodles all together and replaced them with thin strips of zucchini. Jarred sauce? I don't think so. We created a flavorful and robust spicy tomato sauce laced with black olives and chili flakes. For an added punch of complexity, we added lemon zest and lemon juice to fresh ricotta, and threw in a layer of nutrient-dense kale — just to make sure you get your filling of greens. This is definitely not a meal to whip up on a weeknight, but if you make it on a lazy Sunday afternoon, you can happily enjoy it for a few dinners throughout the busy week ahead.
Photo: Courtesy of Crunchy Radish.
Zucchini Lasagna
Serves 6

Extra virgin olive oil 
5 large zucchini, ends trimmed, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp dried oregano 
1/4 cup black olives, thinly sliced
2 24-oz jars organic crushed tomatoes 
1 bunch kale, roughly chopped with stems removed 
1 1/2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
1/2 tbsp organic lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
1 bunch washed basil leaves
6 oz fresh mozzarella, shredded       
Photo: Courtesy of Crunchy Radish.
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. If you have a cast iron grill pan, warm over medium high heat. 

2. Toss zucchini slices in 2 tbsps olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a generous grind of pepper. Arrange zucchini on grill pan and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. You will likely need to do at least 2 batches. If you do not have a grill pan, lay zucchini slices on racks in your oven and cook for 10 minutes. Place cooked zucchini on a plate, reserving for later use. If watery, use a cloth or paper towel to pat dry. You want the zucchini noodles as dry as possible.

3. For the sauce, warm 2 tbsps of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and chili flakes and cook for 2 minutes. Add oregano, black olives, and tomatoes; simmer for at least 30 minutes. 

4. While the sauce cooks, lightly sauté kale in a pan with 1 tsp of olive oil. Squeeze any excess water from the kale and set aside. 

5. Place fresh ricotta in a bowl and stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, and a little pepper. 

6. Using a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, assemble the lasagna. Spread a layer of tomato sauce on the bottom, add a layer of zucchini, gently spread some lemon ricotta, add a bit of torn basil leaves, kale, and another layer of tomato sauce. Repeat 2 to 3 times, topping the final layer with shredded mozzarella. Reserve some torn basil for serving.

7. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes and enjoy.       

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