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The Entrée: Festive Veggie Lasagna

Quick: What’s the worst thing about veggie recipes for non-vegetarians? The answer, dear reader, is texture. It’s all about texture, and smooshing a wad of tofu into the shape of a turkey doesn’t solve that problem.</br></br>Traditional holiday meals are typically anchored by a meat dish, but it never hurts to have an entrée that can be enjoyed by vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. The trick, though, is to make something that’s got some weight to it; a hearty dish chocked with veggies that still sticks to the ribs.</br></br>And, nothing sticks to the ribs like a fat slice of lasagna.</br></br><strong>Ingredients  </strong></br></br>26 oz. tomato sauce</br>12 no-cook lasagna noodles</br>1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)</br>15 oz. ricotta cheese</br>1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded</br>1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated</br>4 tbsp. olive oil</br>2 zucchini, chopped</br>2 cups small Portobello mushrooms, chunked</br>1 large eggplant, thinly sliced lengthwise</br>1 red sweet pepper, chopped</br>1 green bell pepper, chopped</br>1/2 sweet onion, chopped</br>2 cloves garlic, minced</br>2 tbsp. fresh basil, minced</br>2 tbsp. dried oregano</br>Salt and pepper</br></br><strong>Method</strong></br></br><em>Cheese Mix:</em> In a large bowl, whisk egg (or substitute), ricotta and parmesan together with a little salt, pepper and half the oregano. Set aside.</br></br><em>Veggies:</em> Quickly saute the onion, garlic, zucchini and mushrooms with a tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium heat, then remove to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Drain off any leftover liquid, add a little more oil to the pan if necessary and repeat with the peppers until tender. Stir tomato sauce into the veggie mixture, but keep a couple ounces back for the bottom of your <a title="Casseroles" href="http://www.atgstores.com/cooking/cooking-dining/cookware/casseroles/" target="_blank">baking dish</a>.</br></br>Finally, cook the sliced eggplant in the same pan until tender with salt and pepper and set aside on its own.</br></br><em>Noodles:</em> Brush your noodles sparingly with the remaining olive oil. At this time, preheat your oven to 350ºF.</br></br><em>Layer Your Lasagna:</em> Pour the remaining two ounces of tomato sauce into the bottom of a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish. Add a layer of four lasagna noodles (they will overlap) followed by half the cheese mix, then one-third of the sauced veggies.</br></br>Add another layer of four noodles and then the layer of eggplant. Top the eggplant with the remaining cheese mix and another one-third of the sauced veggies. Finally, top with the last layer of noodles and remaining sauce.</br></br><em>Cook:</em> Sprinkle with remaining basil and oregano, cover with foil and bake at 350ºF for 40 minutes. At 40 minutes, add shredded mozzarella and continue baking uncovered for 10 more minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly.</br></br>Garnish with a leafy green for a great festive-colored veggie dish that everyone will love.
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