Farmers Market Lasagna
For those of you unfamiliar with the housing market around campus in Ann Arbor (which I assume is most of you), it is absurd. Landlords will ask current tenants if they want to re-sign their lease for the following September…in October. Come the end of January lots of the desirable housing has been snatched up. My wife and I already know that we want to move somewhere else next August when our lease runs out and so far we have a few mostly reasonable criteria, one of which is staying close to the farmers market.
On Saturday mornings it takes us about 2 minutes to walk over to the farmers market and pick out some fruits and veggies (I’ll usually grab one of the amazing garlic cheese twists from Mill Pond Bread too). From June to October the past few years we’ve gotten a CSA box from Frog Holler which is always full of goodies. Last weekend I used several of the items in our box to make a huge pan of lasagna, about half of which we froze to eat over the next few months.
This lasagna involved zucchini, squash, kale, arugula, rainbow chard, basil, onion, and garlic from our box. The box also included corn (grilled it up with dinner), celery, green beans, and baby bok choy. I probably went a little overboard with the amount of everything that I used. By the time I finished layering in all the veggies, ricotta, noodles, and cheese everything was just about level with the top of the pan. I actually gave it a few smushes with a spatula to make sure everything stayed in when I baked it.
The past few times we’ve made lasagna we have bought the ‘oven ready’ noodles. You don’t have to cook them beforehand and can just layer the noodles directly into the pan when making everything. I’ve found this makes getting all the surfaces covered (you can more easily line the noodles up) easier and makes it much easier to spread ingredients on. I always had trouble getting things to stick and spread evenly on wet noodles.
If you do use the oven ready noodles you do want to make sure that they are totally covered with ingredients (preferably sauce on one side and ricotta on the other) so that they get nice and tender like regular pasta. If not you run the risk of having a uncooked pasta in your lasagna! They also need to bake for longer. I originally baked this for 30 minutes and we cut into it and I realized the noodles were still pretty tough. But that’s my fault for not properly reading the instructions on the back of the box that very clearly said cook for 45-50 minutes.
There is obviously lots of room for flexibility here. You could add different veggies (make sure to cook them before though), and of course meat if you wanted. But I thought the basic amounts I used were pretty spot on for the pan size. Enjoy!
- 2 medium zucchinis, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 2 medium yellow/summer squash, cut into ½ inch pieces
- Leaves from 4-6 large stalks of kale or chard, chopped
- 3 onions, diced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 C packed basil leaves, chopped
- 2 eggs
- 30 ounces ricotta cheese
- 8 ounces shredded mozzarella
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 1 box lasagna noodles (oven ready OK)
- Olive oil as needed
- Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly oil a 13x9 inch baking dish. If you purchased regular lasagna noodles, cook according to package directions and set aside once cooked and drained.
- In a large frying pan sautee zucchini, squash, onion, and half the garlic over medium-high heat. Cook until the onion is translucent and the zucchini and squash have softened, about 15-20 minutes.
- Once done add in the crushed tomatoes and stir well. Set aside.
- In a large bowl mix the ricotta cheese, eggs, basil, and remaining garlic.
- Spoon enough of the vegetable/sauce mixture on the bottom of the baking dish to cover the entire area. Place 4 noodles on top (and a piece of another if needed) to cover and then spread half the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles. Sprinkle about ⅓ of the mozzarella on top.
- Add another layer of the vegetable/sauce mixture followed by more noodles. Add the remaining ricotta, another ⅓ of the mozzarella, and then more of the veggies.
- Place a final layer of noodles on top and cover with the last of the vegetables and sauce. Sprinkle the last remaining bit of mozzarella on top.
- Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes.
- To get the cheese really nice and golden place it under the broiler for 1-2 minutes when done (watch carefully so it doesn't burn). Let cool 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.