A common misconception of vegetarians is that we took on this diet because we really love vegetables. As in, you could just steam up a bunch of vegetables and serve them on a plate and we would be happy as clams. This is probably why so often the token vegetarian dish in restaurants has the generic “vegetable” in the title, like “vegetable pizza” or “vegetable lasagna” or ” pasta w/ vegetables.” They’re basically saying, we’re not even going to tell you what exactly you’ll be eating, but it’s veggies and clearly that’s all that matters.
The truth is that most of us non-meat eaters like vegetables as much as anyone else, we just happen to not be big fans of meat. So yes, we end up eating more vegetables as a default, but it isn’t like our taste buds have changed. When I became a vegetarian, I didn’t suddenly decide that I just LOVED eating my pizza with squash on it, or that lasagna tastes so much better when it’s stuffed with broccoli and carrots. If you’re cooking for a vegetarian, here’s something to keep in mind: if you think it sounds weird and gross, there’s a good chance they will too, but they’ll suck it up politely because being called out as a picky eater is never fun, not even the 100th time.
So look, if you want to make a vegetarian lasagna, that’s awesome. But don’t take it as a chance to finally clean out your vegetable drawer in your kitchen. Think that shit through for a second. This recipe actually works. First off, save yourself some trouble and buy no-boil noodles and a jar of good marinara sauce. Vegetables do not have to be difficult. Then you’re mixing some meaty sauteed mushrooms with the marinara and pairing it with artichoke hearts in heavenly ricotta. No broccoli. No carrots. No yellow squash. This is how you do vegetables.
Mushroom & Artichoke Lasagna
1 lb lasagna noodles (no boil preferred)
2 tablespoons olive oil
8oz sliced mushrooms
1 clove garlic
1 15oz can of artichoke hearts, well drained & quartered
1 jar marinara sauce
15 oz ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add in the mushrooms and whole garlic clove, and saute until the mushrooms have begun to brown. Discard the garlic clove, and pour in the jar of marinara sauce. Cook for 1 minute more and set aside. Meanwhile, mix together the artichoke hearts and ricotta cheese in another bowl.
Using a baking dish, (I used a 9 x 9 x 3, but similar sizes would work. Just make sure you have a little height) spread a layer of the mushroom sauce along the bottom, and then line with the noodles. Spread out a layer of ricotta mixture, and layer with more noodles before spreading another layer of mushroom sauce. Repeat until everything is used up, ending with a layer of mushroom marinara sauce. Sprinkle with grated parmesan and mozzarella cheese, and allow to sit for 10 minutes to soften the noodles.
Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes, or until the cheese has begun to brown and the sauce is bubbling.