A perfect make-ahead dish for holiday gatherings
I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas! For my Jewish friends and family Hanukkah has already started full of festivities, cookie making, and thoughtful presents. Thank you everyone for allowing me to be a part of this special time during the Jewish calendar.
I’m so excited for this Christmas in my new apartment. It’s all decked out for the holidays. The tree looks so pretty at night along with all the twinkle lights in the living room. And a Christmas bonus for some here in the Pacific Northwest…snow is coming! I went ahead and stocked up on goodies and everything I needed to host Christmas this year. I always make Salvadorian pupusas Christmas Eve and lasagna for Christmas day. The best thing about lasagna is that you can make it ahead of time and focus on your guests the day of the get-together. I usually pair zucchini lasagna with my crowd-pleaser Greek Caesar Salad. PJs are required and I found lots of soft winter throws for us to cuddle with and watch movies throughout the evening.
Before I get to my lasagna recipe, you can comment on your favorite holiday meal down below. Be sure to include the link to your blog if you have a recipe you want to share. May all your days be merry and bright!
Vegan Zucchini Lasagna
Yield: 8 servings Prep Time: 45 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients for the lasagna:
4 medium zucchinis, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups vegan mozzarella shredded cheese (I used Violife just like Mozzarella shreds)
1 ½ cup vegan ricotta cheese (Both Kite Hill and Simple Truth Organic make wonderful ricotta)
2 Tablespoons vegan Parmesan cheese, grated + extra for topping (again…I used Violife)
2–3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 Tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 Tablespoons of panko bread crumbs
For the marinara sauce:
1 28 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes
5-6 garlic cloves (depending on size), slivered
1 whole dried red chili pepper or a pinch of chili flakes
Dried oregano (and a few fresh sprigs for garnish if you have it on hand)
Extra virgin olive oil
- Slice the zucchini lengthwise into ribbons. Put on cloth or paper towels and sprinkle with a little kosher salt. (This allows the moisture to be released from the zucchini). Let set for 20 minutes while making the sauce.
- For the marinara: In a large bowl, crush the tomatoes with your hands. Fill the empty can with 1 cup of water and add it to the bowl. Set the tomatoes aside and sliver six garlic cloves. Heat a large skillet on the stove. Drizzle a little over 1/8 cup of olive oil in the skillet until the bottom of the pan is evenly coated. Sauté the garlic over medium heat until fragrant. Add the tomatoes in water, a whole dried chili or pinch of chili pepper flakes, a few generous pinches of dried oregano and a dash of sea salt to the skillet. Give the sauce a stir. Simmer, mindful of the heat, until the oil forms on the surface and is a dark orange. Transfer 1/2 of the marinara to blender or food processor and blend for 30 seconds to form a smoother marinara sauce. Freeze or refrigerate the remaining marinara for pasta or pizza.
- For the filling: Mix together in a bowl ricotta cheese, Parmesan, garlic, and basil.
- Assemble the lasagna: Pat dry the zucchini. Grease a large 13×9″ baking dish with extra virgin olive oil. Spread a thin layer of marinara at the bottom of the dish. Alternate the various layers of ingredients (zucchini, ricotta mixture, mozzarella, and marinara). Finish up with a layer of grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of panko bread crumbs.
- Bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Check the lasagna and then broil on high for a minute, keeping a close watch over it so that the lasagna doesn’t burn. Let stand for a few minutes before serving. (If using previously frozen lasagna, cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the middle of the lasagna reads 165 degrees)