Vegetarian Squash Lasagna

As the mother of a 7 year old, I constantly crusade to stuff vegetables into the green adverse child.  Until she started preschool, said child ate almost everything.  Since preschool, despite having classmates originating from Egypt to Mexico to Taiwan to India, she will not eat GREEN THINGS.  And I know her international classmates consume veggies. Green juice, a thick creamy blend of all of her most hated green vegetables and kiwi juice, is inexplicably exempt. She will also not eat eggplant, several squash varieties, and potatoes (unless they are fried).

This recipe contains the following fruits and vegetables:  tomatoes, eggplant, uchiki kiri (a squash), butternut squash, zucchini, onions, garlic, green pepper, crookneck squash, pluots, nectarines, and peaches.  And she had two helpings.  Huzzah!

This is a very simple recipe, IF one already posses suitable tomato sauce.  The tomato sauce I use was canned months ago, during the height of the summer harvest, which admittedly here in SoCal extended until late September.  OK.  Maybe October.  Umm.  Yeah, maybe we won’t be seeing much of winter and I’ve planted next season’s tomatoes, already.  AT ANY RATE, during the height of midsummer, tomatoes, onions, and garlic are baked with whatever else is available, including eggplant, various squashes, and fruits.  Fortunately, canned spaghetti sauce works just as well.

Baked sauce:  Approximately 4 pounds of tomatoes are baked with various vegetables, including squash, eggplant, chard, or kale.  These vegetables/fruits total 1 pound.  Sweet fruit, approximately 1 pound, is added for sweetness.  Two onions and several cloves of garlic are added, as well.  Only large pits are removed.  No peeling or seeding or chopping is required.  The fruit/vegetable mixture is baked at 325 for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Stir every half hour or so, and eventually, the sauce, when cooked, will need to be blended in a food processor.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  I can this sauce in a pressure canner at 11 pounds for 15 minutes.  The boiling water canning method works, as well.  Boil pint cans of sauce for 35 minutes at sea level.

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

2 pint cans of tomato sauce

1 1/2 cups butternut squash, cubed

3/4 cup shredded zucchini (harvested, shredded, and then, frozen from summer harvest)

1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese

1 cup shredded provolone or mozzarella cheese

1 package of Trader Joe’s no boil lasagna noodles

4 tbsp Parmesan cheese

olive oil

Directions:

Mix ricotta cheese with 3/4 cup of the shredded provolone or mozzarella cheese.  Set aside remaining 1/4 cup.  Drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil in a 8x8x3 baking pan.  Cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of sauce.  Place 3 lasagna noodles in the pan, so that they cover the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle 1/2 of the cubed butternut squash and 1/2 of the zucchini into the pan.  Spoon 1/2 of the cheese mixture into the pan.  Even out and cover with sauce.  The entirety of one pint can of tomato sauce should now have been used.  Place more noodles into the pan.  Add the rest of the squash and then, the cheese mixture.  Add 1/2 of the second pint can of sauce.  Add more noodles.  Dump the rest of the sauce onto the noodles. Sprinkle the remaining provolone or mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese on top.  Bake at 350 f0r 1 hour.  I place the lasagna pan in a larger pan lined with aluminum foil to catch all the drips for easier clean up.

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