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Vegetable Quinoa “Lasagna”

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This dish requires a little bit of prep (but I promise nothing crazy or super time-consuming).  I will break down the prep steps for you below, and you’ll be well on your way to making a healthy, satisfying meal — I don’t think you’ll even miss the pasta!

Veggie Quinoa "Lasagna"

Vegetable Quinoa “Lasagna” Full Ingredient List

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups dry quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon, but use what you have/like)
1 – 45 ounce jar pasta sauce (I use Prego Traditional)
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Red pepper flakes (a little goes a long way)
1 medium eggplant
2 small zucchini
16 ounces shredded cheese (I used Sargento’s 6-Cheese Italian, but plain mozarella will work, too!)

Prep – Quinoa

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups dry quinoa, rinsed if needed (it will say on the package if it is pre-rinsed)

1. In a large pan, combine the liquid and quinoa and bring to a boil.
2. Once the quinoa reaches a full boil, cover and reduce heat to low, letting it simmer for 15-17 minutes. Once the quinoa has finished, remove the lid and fluff it with a fork; set aside.

Prep – Pasta Sauce

I like to jazz up jars of spaghetti sauce — it give you a great base to work with but lets you add more of your own flavors.  Another perk — if you don’t want to jazz yours up, you can just use it as is!  Here’s what I like to do with my jarred pasta sauce when I don’t make it from scratch.

Veggie Quinoa "Lasagna"

Jazzed Up Pasta Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon, but use what you have/like)
1 – 45 ounce jar pasta sauce (I use Prego HeartSmart Traditional)
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Red pepper flakes (a little goes a long way)

1. In a medium-sized saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and garlic, and saute until onions are soft and almost translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. To your onions and garlic, add your wine and let simmer and cook down for about 5 minutes. This will cook off the alcohol so you’ll just be left with a rich depth of flavor without the bite. The onions will turn a beautiful purple color.  If you’d like, you can also add some mushrooms in at this point and saute until darkened and soft — I think 8 ounces of whatever kind you like would work perfectly.  Since I live with a picky eater, I left those out.

3. Add your jar of pasta sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper flakes to taste. Turn down the heat to low, and let your sauce simmer while you work on the rest of the dish.

Prep – Vegetables

Veggie Quinoa "Lasagna"

1. Wash and pat dry your eggplant and zucchini.
2. Cut your eggplant crosswise (horizontally so you’re making big discs) into 1/4-inch-thick slices.  You can cut the slices in half to make them closer to the size and shape of the zucchini if you like — this may make it easier to cut through later on!
3. Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer on several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon of salt; let stand 15 minutes. This will remove some of the moisture that would otherwise make the dish watery. You will see little beads of condensation form on the tops of the eggplant. After 15 minutes is up, go ahead and press another paper towel into the tops to absorb that moisture and remove some of the salt.

Veggie Quinoa "Lasagna"
4. Cut off the ends of your zucchini, and peel a strip of skin off on two opposite sides Then, starting on one of those sides, slices your zucchini length-wise (so you’re making long strips) into 1/4 inch (or slightly thinner) slices.

Putting together your “lasagna”

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. In the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish, pour some spaghetti sauce just to cover.  Then, layer on half the quinoa, half the eggplant & zucchini,  half the remaining sauce, half of the cheese, the remaining veggies, quinoa, sauce and top again with the rest of the cheese.  It will be a little bit messy as you pour and spread the sauce over the quinoa, but don’t worry!  The cheese will cover it up, and when you scoop it out to eat it will get a little messy, anyway.

Veggie Quinoa "Lasagna"

Again, feel free to cut your pieces smaller and layer more pieces in! It’s all about experimenting, and smaller slices may help the eating process go more smoothly!

3. Cover with tin foil and place on center rack of your oven.  Bake for 45 minutes, remove the tinfoil, and then turn up the heat to broil (if your baking dish allows), and broil until the cheese gets melted, browned, and bubbly, about 5 minutes.  Watch the “lasagna” throughout this process to make sure you don’t burn your meal!

4.  Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before slicing in.

Veggie Quinoa "Lasagna"

Another option: Prepare your quinoa as directed above, plate and pour on some sauce as prepared above.  So basically, eat it like a pasta/spaghetti dish!  Top with some cheese and bon apetit!

xo

Jaime

2 thoughts on “Vegetable Quinoa “Lasagna”

  1. Oh my gosh! This looks AMAZING! 🙂

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