After surviving our juice cleanse adventure my friend Arianna and I decided to concentrate on healthy eating for the month of March and scheduled a dinner for the two of us each week for the month. Not going out to eat for great, but ultimately greasy and unhealthy food, mind you. We decided to make dinner for ourselves once a week and rather than open a bottle of red, we’d accompany dinner with either a movie or a walk.
So after our Farmer’s Market Fare warm-up dinner last Sunday, we broke out the big guns on Monday night and attempted the potentially impossible. Vegetable lasagna with no cheese OR pasta.
I saw a recipe for Gluten-Free, Vegan Zucchini Lasagna on the FitSugar website and despite the scary/intimidating/awful sounding recipe name, I decided that we should give it a try. I mean, the picture looked good and that’s got to mean something, right? Plus the ingredient list was reasonable and the recipe didn’t appear overly complicated, both necessities for a work-night meal when you get up as early as I do.
Honestly, cutting up the zucchini was the most challenging part of the food preparation for me. My mandolin was broken – Um, again - So I had to slice the zucchini by hand. Not. Pretty.
We made a quick trip to my friendly neighborhood Trader Joe’s for the few ingredients that I didn’t already have on hand and picked up both of the tomato-based sauces that the recipe called for. Next time I try this recipe I’ll probably take the time to make the marinara sauce from scratch in advance. Never hurts to have some extra sauce in the freezer!
Simmering the quinoa in the tomato sauce and onion mixture gave it a great flavor, more robust than when you cook it in water alone. Next time I make a pot of quinoa I’m definitely going to try something along these lines, it was quite tasty.
Layering the quinoa, onion & tomato sauce blend, zucchini slices, and marinara sauce was actually sort of fun. I’ve never made lasagna before so I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was relatively easy to figure out this step, I can’t imagine that things could go terribly awry here regardless of your artistic talents.
Truth be told, I can’t remember the last time that I had “real” lasagna off the top of my head, but I though that this was an excellent dish. The tomato quinoa layer had a savory, nutty flavor, the roasted zucchini slices added a noodle-like texture but with a hearty, fall vegetable taste, and the two types of tomato sauce added a great Italian flair to the meal.
And while it was really tasty right out of the oven, it was a bit messy and hard to plate well.
We each had seconds though and I happily ate the leftovers the next day. The lasagna held its form much better after 24 hours in the fridge though, it definitely looked prettier and more photogenic the second day.
But we can’t forget, since it was date night we needed a movie to go along with our piping hot bowls full of lasagna. And we put a lot of thought into our movie selection for the evening of course, it wasn’t just what happened to appear at the top of my Netflix queue or anything like that…
How was it? While it was entertaining we decided we couldn’t take Taylor Lautner seriously as anything other than a werewolf. That’s some serious type-casting to deal with kid!
Stay tuned for the next MCLV Mange episode or check out past installments from this series and see what you missed: