Since it's Lent, I thought you might appreciate another good meatless/vegetarian meal, however I've made this with chicken too. Either way it's a hit, and the whole family asks for seconds. I originally got it from Taste of Home magazine, but have made a few adaptations.
Roasted Asparagus Lasagna
- 2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces – Kent thinks the skinny ones are the best, and yes, I know, asparagus is NOT found locally in Michigan right now. It won't be long though!
- (More “primavara”-type vegetables if you'd like: carrots, broccoli, peppers, chopped spinach or kale, etc.)
- 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (I can't stand the things and am too selfish to throw them in anyway, so I omit them.)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 Tablespoons butter, pastured butter is best
- 6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2+ teaspoon salt (add more to taste)
- 1/4+ teaspoon pepper
- 3 cups milk – if it's not Lent, for even better nutrition and more flavor, you can substitute some homemade chicken stock from the freezer for part of the milk
- 1 cup thinly sliced red onion (we only use about half this much)
- 4-6+ garlic cloves (I like a lot – more gives it better flavor) or dried garlic
- 12 ounces Lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
- 1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded mozzarella
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- (optional) cooked, chopped chicken – I usually use chicken leftover from dinner the night before
Note that this makes 1-9×13, but I always make extra for the freezer or for a friend.
- Place asparagus and mushrooms (also chicken if you're using it, and/or the primavara veggies) in shallow baking dish or roasting pan. Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon oil, toss to coat. Bake at 450* for 8-10 minutes or until vegetables are browned; set aside. Reduce heat to 350*.
- In large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour, salt & pepper until smooth. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Set aside. In a large skillet (we use cast iron for everything), saute onion and garlic in remaining oil until tender. Remove from heat; add roasted asparagus, mushrooms (and chicken). (If I want to dirty fewer dishes, I'll just saute the onion, garlic, and asparagus mixture all together in a huge cast iron frying pan.)
- Grease a 9×13 baking dish with a stick of cold butter. Start layering: noodles, a third of asparagus mixture, a third of the white sauce, repeat twice. Sprinkle both cheeses on top.
- Cover loosely (so foil doesn't touch the cheese) and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until heated through. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting. Yield: 12 servings.
- Note: when Kent & I had our bible study friends over for dinner recently, we wanted to make the meal extra special, so this is what we did: we served this dish with a homemade Tomato Bisque. We'd had something similar when we were in Chicago last fall (celebrating our 20th anniversary!) and wanted to see if we could pull it off. It's easy. Start by making a white sauce the same way as in the above recipe – melt 4 Tablespoons butter, add 6 Tablespoon all-purpose flour, keep stirring so it doesn't burn and don't have your heat too high. Add 2-3 cups milk and keep stirring. As it thickens, add a jar of organic tomatoes (or even better, canned from your garden last summer!) and a jar of organic tomato paste and use your hand blender to get it all smooth. Add about 1/8 of a cup of organic cane sugar and keep stirring. Add salt, pepper & garlic and keep taste-testing (with a clean spoon of course!) and playing with it until it's so good you can't stop. We served it on the side in little shot glasses so they could either dip a fork-full of their lasagna in it, or pour it over the top.
- By the way, this lasagna can easily be made the day before and kept in the frig until you're ready to pop it in the oven.
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