Baking spree: vegetable pesto lasagna

How could I possibly spend a day catching up on all of my favorite food blogs without wanting to do some food blogging of my own? Luckily, I have my stockpile of drafts dating back to my random Baghdad interlude in Wash DC. Some of the veggies I used in this dish may be out of season by now (or not, I don’t actually know my seasons anymore), so feel free to get creative and use whatever suits you!

To me, lasagna always evokes images of something red and smushy, with strings of melted mozzerella pulling from every corner. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but one day I found myself with a lot of time and a craving for something a bit…greener. I’m sure there are similar dishes out there, but this one came without any (intentional) outside influence.

And yes, I do fully admit that this one turned out pretty…green.


8 sheets of pasta (Try it homemade! Recipe below)
2 zucchini
2 yellow squash
2 baby eggplants
1 pint ricotta cheese
approx 2 cups pesto (recipe below)
tomato (optional)
goat cheese (optional)


1 bunch of fresh spinach
1 package fresh basil leaves
handful of pine nuts (about 1/3 cup)
1 green onion stalk (can be adjusted as you like)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil (depends on the desired consistency)
1/4 cup grate Parmesan cheese
salt, pepper to taste
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Pasta dough: (adapted from a recipe found on Reading, ‘Riting, and Recipes)

2 cups flour
2 egg yolks
4 Tbsp water (or you can do 2 Tbsp water with 2 Tbsp dry white wine…if you have any around)
2 Tbsp olive oil


Slice the veggies into thin coins and roast for about 30 minutes in a 375 F oven, tossed with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, until they are nicely softened and browned.

Take your typical lasagna pan and spread about a tablespoon of pesto on the bottom. It will look sparse in some areas, but try to cover as much as you can. Next lay down two pasta sheets, overlapping them a bit in the middle.

Put down one layer of vegetables using half of them, and carefully cover with half of the ricotta cheese. (I say carefully because the veggies have a tendency to slide around)

Cover the veggies with two more sheets of pasta. Generously top the pasta with half of the pesto, and dot with goat cheese (if you like). I considered that the ricotta and goat cheese may be a bit of a cheese overload, but I had a container of awesomely creamy goat cheese, coated in herbs and olive oil, and I just couldn’t help using it in this dish. Of course, you may feel different about that much cheese, and maybe you’ll just sprinkle some fresh or dried herbs on your ricotta layer instead? Could be a good alternative.

On top of the pesto, place the remaining vegetables and top with two sheets of pasta. Cover the pasta with the rest of the ricotta cheese (and if you happen to have too many veggies that wouldn’t fit before, go ahead and throw those on top of the ricotta), and cover with the last two pasta sheets. Spread the rest of the pesto on top, and garnish as you please. I chose to throw in some color with a few tomato slices, plus more of that fantastic goat cheese.

Bake in a 375 F oven for about 45-60 minutes. The dish should be bubbling, but not soggy.

Pasta instructions:
I didn’t quite trust myself not to make a mess, so I mixed everything together in a bowl, instead of making a well of flour on my table. If you’re confident in your pasta-making abilities though, by all means you can mix this on your table. I whisked the egg yolks with the olive oil, poured it in an improvised flour well, and gradually added the water as the dough started to come together. Knead the dough until it’s smooth, not too dry or tacky. It may take a little bit of work but the dough will eventually come together.

Let your dough rest in the fridge for about 30-40 minutes before dividing it into 8 pieces. Use your trusty pasta roller to form eight pasta sheets that are a little more than half as wide as your lasagna dish, and just as long. Remember to use plenty of flour so that the pasta doesn’t stick. I made these early in the day and left them out to dry until later, but I don’t know if its completely necessary to do that.

Pesto instructions:
This is pretty simple. After you’ve washed and dried all of your produce, place all of your ingredients into your food processor, except for the olive oil. Pulse until everything is uniformly chopped into little bits. Scrape down the sides and pulse while you drizzle in the oil, checking every few seconds to make sure that you don’t add too much.