Crockpot Vegetarian Lasagne – Our Take

 

It had been a long time since I had seen a recipe that was interesting enough for me to want to try it (other than as a “one day” project).  This was a recipe that felt like it could fit into our style of eating as a semi-regular addition to our regular dining repertoire rather than a dinner party recipe.  The original recipe can be found here, and what follows are the changes that I made.

Flushed with inspiration from a successful blog launch it was boldly placed onto our fortnightly meal plan and on a rainy day yesterday it made it to the top of the “what should e have for dinner tonight?” list.  I thought Miss Squid (soon to be 3) might want to help so after her nap we set about organising dinner.  The “help” did not last very long as she was distracted away by something on the television, but I think that might have been a good thing, or at least not a bad thing.  I did learn that grating zucchini (courgette) is a bit beyond a 3 year old, but not beyond what they want to do, so I helped her do that.  She does love a good stir though!

 

What I used:

1 egg

375g light ricotta

250g frozen spinach, thawed and drained lightly

5 mushrooms sliced (I used fresh regular mushrooms as that is what I could find on shopping day)

1 zucchini grated

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 x 400g cans organic diced tomato

1 x 500g organic pasta sauce

1 tbs tomato “pizza” paste

3 cloves of garlic crushed

lasagne sheets (about half a box)

250g mozzarella grated (about 2 cups)

 

Method:

In a bowl mix until combined egg, ricotta, spinach, mushroom, zucchini, nutmeg.

In a second bowl mix until combined tomatoes, pasta sauce, paste, garlic.

Making the mixes

Then into the greased (with cooking spray) crock pot I layered tomato sauces, pasta sheet, half of the spinach/ricotta mix, 1/4 of the mozzarella, pasta sheet, tomato sauces, 1/4 of the mozzarella, pasta sheets, the rest of the spinach/ricotta mix, 1/4 of the mozzarella, pasta sheets, the rest of the tomato sauces and the rest of the mozzarella.

I broke up the pasta sheets especially breaking off the corners of the square sheets to help them fit into the pointy ends of the crock.  Overlapping was fine, and probably could have overlapped them a bit more for a more stable finished product.

Ready to cook

The original recipe called for a cooking time of 4 hours on low or 2 hours on high.  I cooked for 2 hours on high, then turned to low until the girls were in bed and we were able to enjoy dinner.

It was tasty and Steve went back for seconds.  It was quite sloppy rather than sitting up nicely, but I find most freshly cooked lasagne tends to go that way, day old lasagne tends to hold together a bit better.  It would easily serve 6 adults as a main meal and  more as a side dish.

Some observations/notes:

Steve and I both agreed that some chicken or turkey mince in the tomato sauce layers would work well if you have a family member who won’t eat vegetarian meals (I’d probably brown it off first rather than relying on the slow cooker to “cook” it, but even in typing that it makes me wonder if you would really need to – advice anyone?).

I used the pasta sauce because I had seriously miscalculated my ounce to gram conversion and 28oz jars are seriously big! (I think at one stage I also thought I’d halve the mix as well, but didn’t halve the cheesey mix). I had the pasta sauce in the cupboard and it helped balance the bowls.  I do think that my tomato mix was a bit on the sweet side, so would like to try this recipe again without using a pre-made sauce but perhaps with the crushed tomatoes as called for in the original recipe or maybe even some whole peeled tomatoes roughly chopped, some more tomato paste and some Italian herbs.

I didn’t use whole wheat/grain noodles, because I knew we had some in the cupboard and wanted to use them, in future we’d probably use fresh sheets as we have been making a lot of our own pasta lately and not using so much of the dried stuff.

I grated the zucchini because I didn’t read the “slice” direction in the original recipe properly.  Sliced would probably add a bit more texture to the meal, so will probably try that.

I’m not the most confident cook but this is an ideal dish for working with what is in your fridge/cupboard.  I imagine that most vegetables could be layered in eggplant (aubergine) I would imagine would lend itself well to this recipe.

We used full fat mozzarella because the supermarket I went to didn’t seem to have a reduced fat option.  I cut the 500g block in half and grated it, it looked like about 2 cups, but it wasn’t measured.  I don’t think the recipe lacked for missing a cup of cheese.

We have a 4.5 litre (4.76 quarts) slow cooker and it fitted with room to spare.

The “pizza paste” I used was a squeeze pack tomato paste with garlic and herbs.

My calculations put this who recipe at under $18 to make ($3 per adult as a main).  That is without shopping for specials and with some organic (but supermarket branded) tomatoes/sauces.  If you were watching your budget, you could buy lower cost tomatoes and not use the pre-made sauce (as I outlined above).

Oh, and wear an apron or spoon in your tomato layer, pouring will result in splashes!

 

3 Responses to Crockpot Vegetarian Lasagne – Our Take

  1. Baz says:

    Looks good Renee! Never thought of making lasagne in the crock pot but must have a go.
    Have you thought about having a pasta making session and creating round lasagne sheets? Something for you to do with squid…

    • Renée says:

      That’s a good idea Baz. The pasta might still need a join as rolling it through the pasta machine is pretty important to get the texture right, nonetheless, at least we could cut all the edges to size. I think with fresh pasta we might have to look at the fluid volumes too. When we decide to make this one again I’ll let you know how we go.

  2. Pingback: We Keep On Eating - Meal Plan 29th January - 11th February | The Accidental Hippy

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