We eat lunch – almost every day – at my boyfriend’s aunt’s house, with his aunt and uncle and cousin, and sometimes some other family members who roll in. Almost every day. It’s just what we do, and even though some people might think that’s crazy (okay, fine, I did too when I first got here), it’s just as normal as eating dinner with your family every night. Except my boyfriend’s aunt is always the one cooking. Again, some people might think that’s awesome – and I do too – but I realized when we had Thanksgiving that I really miss doing my own cooking! So we agreed that Fridays would be MY day to cook. And no, not for everyone, because then it’s not a relaxing cooking experience for me. Just for the two of us. And today was my first Friday.
I had lasagna on the brain, but didn’t really want to do regular lasagna, so I came across this recipe and thought it sounded like a nice twist. And, as I always have to consider what I can and can’t find here, it seemed simple enough (although finding ricotta cheese proved a bit more difficult than I had anticipated). I also wanted something I could cut down fairly easily since there’s just two of us.
I ended up making quite few changes, on initial taste it was lacking a lot of flavor – could have been because I wasn’t using kale, so I omitted the garlic and olive oil – but it turned out really well. Even though I cut it in half (for the most part), it was still twice what we needed, so I’ve popped the rest in the freezer and we’ll see if it freezes well!
Vegetable Lasagna Rolls with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Adapted from Mother Thyme
- 10 lasagna noodles, cooked al dente and drained
- 250 grams ricotta cheese
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded (plus additional for sprinkling on top)
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- ½ large egg
- 20 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
- 1/4 cup finely grated carrots
- 1 TBS oregano
- Generous amounts of salt and pepper
- Roasted red pepper sauce (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (If making Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, start with that first as oven needs to be at broil). After peppers are roasted reduce heat to 350 degrees).
In a medium bowl combine ricotta cheese, egg, mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, oregano, spinach and carrots, and a heavy dose of salt and pepper.
To assemble vegetable rolls. Lay one lasagna noodle on a clean surface, add desired amount of mixture to one end of the noodle. Roll the noodle up with mixture. Continue to assemble each roll until all mixture is used.
Lay a thin layer of sauce on the bottom on 8×8 baking pan. Place lasagna rolls in pan, seam down, and top with sauce, reserving some for pouring over before serving. Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake for 10 additional minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
- 2 red peppers
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup skim milk (or 1%, 2% or whole milk)
- 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
- Oregano, salt and pepper to taste
Set the oven to broil.
Toss red peppers with a splash of olive oil and place on a pan. Broil for approximately 10 minutes, turning peppers regularly, until all sides are charred black. Remove the peppers and let them cool down a bit. When you can handle them, remove the skins (they should slide off easily), slice the peppers into wedges and remove the tops and seeds inside.
Place roasted red peppers in food processor or blender and blend until pureed.
In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add flour to melted butter and stir until melted is incorporated into flour. Slowly pour in milk and continue to stir until mixture is thick. Stir in mozzarella cheese until melted followed by red pepper puree. Stir until blended. Remove from heat.