Fresh Fridays


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        Lasagna for Veggie Lovers

Looking for a great dish to serve to a gang of TV football watchers or a gaggle of teenagers getting together for sleepover party?  Revisit lasagna. It's easy to make despite the various steps, a favorite with all ages, and it reheats beautifully. Come to think of it, lasagna is the quintessential make-it-once, eat-it-twice dish. Plus, once it's baked, you can freeze a portion for another meal.

No doubt you've got a few lasagna recipes within reach - and there's usually one on the pasta package. But don't overlook the advantages of making it vegetarian. One of the goals of following the healthy Mediterranean Diet is finding ways to enjoy one or two meatless dinners a week, and this layered classic can help you achieve that goal.  Experiment with different vegetables, different hard cheeses, and different blends of dry and/or fresh herbs to create your own signature meal.  Just about anything goes.  


Greens such as spinach and Swiss

chard are good lasagna ingredients. Remove the large stems and ribs, chop coarsely, and drop into a pot of boiling water for just a minute or two. Then drain, cool, chop, and squeeze out excess moisture. Pair with sautéed onions, mushrooms, and zucchini as one of the layers, or add to tomato sauce for a nutritional boost.

Roast a medley of your favorite vegetables ahead of time and use them to add lovely, deep flavors to lasagna. Chop red and green peppers, asparagus, onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms, and/or squash, toss with little olive oil, and roast on a baking sheet at 425°F for about 10 minutes, or until soft and brown around the edges.

Here are two lasagna recipes that give vegetables a starring role. 


Vegetable Lasagna

Serves 8-10


Enjoy the taste of the Mediterranean in every bite of this flavor-packed lasagna, which relies on ingredients from the supermarket antipasti bar. Shop for different kinds of green olives; a great combination uses half stuffed with garlic and half stuffed with almonds.



4 cups green olivesGreen Olives

¼ cup caper berries

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 box lasagna

6 cups roasted or grilled Mediterranean vegetables (your choice)

1 ½ pounds Fontina cheese, thinly sliced

½ cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves



Preheat the oven to 400°F. To make the tapenade, blend the first six ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. Set aside.


Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, and lay the sheets flat on foil or plastic wrap to cool.

Spread a thin layer of the tapenade in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Arrange 4 lasagna sheets over the tapenade, overlapping the edges to make them fit.  Spread a little less than 1/3 of the remaining tapenade over the pasta, followed by 1/3 of the vegetables, and a little less than 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat the layers, ending with the pasta. Top with the remaining layer of tapenade followed by the remaining cheese.


Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes longer.  Remove the lasagna from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice, garnish with basil, and serve.


Nutrition Analysis:

Calories: 366, Fat: 26g, Sodium: 1727mg, Carbohydrate: 26g, Protein: 10g

Recipe courtesy of FoodMatch Inc.


Lasagna with Roasted Eggplant

Serves 8-10


Eggplant is roasted to bring out its

earthy taste and add special flavors to      this delicious meal.

Vegetable Lasagna


2 medium eggplants

2 eggs, lightly beaten

5 cups tomato sauce

15 ounces ricotta cheese

3 cups grated Fontina cheese


Freshly ground pepper

½ box uncooked lasagna (about 9-10 sheets)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley


Slice the eggplants into ½-inch- thick lengthwise pieces. Sprinkle with salt and arrange in layers in a colander in the sink. Let drain for 30-60 minutes.

Then, preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and arrange on the baking sheet. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown and tender. Remove from oven and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the ricotta, 2 cups of the Fontina, and 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano to the beaten eggs and stir until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook the lasagna sheets according to the package directions. Drain and lay flat to keep the sheets from sticking.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Pour 1½ cups of sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Layer 3-4 lasagna sheets on top of the sauce. Spread half of the cheese mixture on top of the pasta. Layer half of the eggplant slices over the cheese. Top with 1½ cups of sauce. Repeat layers. 

Cover the last layer with the remaining pasta and sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining Fontina and Parmigiano cheeses. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before cutting.

Nutrition Analysis:

Calories: 379, Fat: 21g, Sodium: 1348mg, Carbohydrate: 26g, Protein: 22g

Recipe courtesy of Barilla

Fresh Fridays is a bi-weekly celebration of Mediterranean eating and living.  We hope our Friday recipes will remind you just how easy and delicious eating the Mediterranean way can be.

Visit the
MFA website
to find even more delicious Mediterranean recipes.