It wasn’t easy when I began making the transition to living a healthy life.  Often times, I had the task of making two to three different dinners to accommodate the needs and desires of my family.  On some evenings, we had a few versions of the same meal. Some with or without meat, others with or without dairy, some with different varieties of vegetables and still others with different levels of spice.  It was worth it. I am not one to force this lifestyle on anyone, and as time went on, three meals eventually turned into one.

One of the first non-soup vegan dishes I served my husband was this zucchini lasagna.  Who doesn’t love pasta?  One way to make life a little easier, when you are trying to transition over to the “dark side”, is to make those comfort foods that just about everyone loves. This lasagna is a combination, with a few of my own changes, of recipes I found on line.

While this will take some time to put together, it is so worth it.  Who would have thought that lasagna could be made without cheese and still taste great?  If you are vegan, eggless noodles may be available in the gluten-free or natural food section of your grocery store. They can also be ordered on line.

Have fun with this, especially if you are serving to kids.  You can experiment with any form of pasta or type of vegetable (finely chopped, of course) and still layer all the ingredients with ease. If your children are finicky eaters, cook their favorite shape pasta and call this something kooky like funky monkey mac and cheese.

Serves 8-10.

9 lasagna noodles
7  large red peppers, roasted, skinned and seeded
4-5 zucchini, medium sized
4 onions, medium sized
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 – 2 cups bread crumbs (I use italian flavored)
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp saffron (softened in a little hot water) or tumeric
a pinch – 1/8 tsp of ceyenne pepper (optional, I usually add just a pinch)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
10-15 basil leaves
italian seasoning

Cook pasta according to directions on package. At the same time, roast peppers until blackened. Place in bag to cool. In the meantime, slice zucchini lengthwise into thin slices. Heat cooking spray or water in a frying pan, place zucchini and sprinkle a little italian seasoning on each piece. Cook until softened.  I like to brown each piece. Set aside.  Using the same pan, cook onions and garlic on medium-low heat a few minutes until softened. Peel, seed and chop peppers into small pieces. Combine peppers, onion, garlic and 1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs into a food processor or vitamix. Add salt, pepper, saffron, ceyenne and vinegar, stir. Adjust the amount of breadcrumbs needed depending on the thickness of the sauce. It should be easily spreadable. At times, depending on the moisture content of the day, I have had to add a little water to thin the mixture. You can add a vegetable bullion cube to the water which will give your sauce added flavor.  In an 8×11 baking pan, spread a little of the sauce on the bottom. Line 3 lasagna noodles or 1/3 pasta of your choice on the bottom. Add 1/3 of the zucchini, 3-5 torn basil leaves followed by 1/3 of the sauce. Repeat for the next two layers.
Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting or scooping.

Would you be willing to try this for a meatless Monday?  Please leave a comment….