Talk Of The Town


Your New Go-To For a Meatless Meal

A Tasty Way To Use Your Garden Vegetables
Posted at 11:56 AM, Jun 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-22 12:56:27-04

UT Extension County Director Elizabeth Sanders made Garden Vegetable Lasagna. UT Extension’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences delivers research-based education across Tennessee to help families choose and prepare foods that lead to healthy eating patterns, also preserve and handle food safely. To learn more about these resources and which programs are offered in your community, contact your county Extension Office. For more information, go to


Choose a combination of two vegetables (when prepared, they should yield about 4 cups) Examples of vegetable combinations: asparagus and mushrooms, spinach and zucchini, broccoli and carrots, eggplant and bell peppers, eggplant, and onions.


Cook vegetables before assembling lasagna. Use the cooking method suitable for the type of vegetable you choose.

1 pound firm, hard vegetables steam-sautéed

Cook in 1/3 cup water with 2 garlic cloves, minced; 2 teaspoons butter or olive oil; and 1/2 teaspoon salt until water evaporates.

Asparagus – trim and cut thin asparagus spears into 1-inch pieces (if asparagus is thick, slice in half lengthwise before cutting into pieces).

Broccoli – cut florets, peel and slice stalks, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Carrots – peel and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Cauliflower – cut into medium florets.

1 pound tender vegetables sautéed

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil starts to shimmer, add vegetables and a sprinkling of salt, and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are soft and liquid evaporates, 5 – 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 – 20 seconds.

Peppers* -- yellow or red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips.

Mushrooms – rinsed and sliced.

Onions – red, yellow, or white, halved and sliced thin.

Spinach – rinsed and trimmed

1 pound tender vegetables, broiled

Adjust oven rack to the highest position and preheat broiler. Lightly brush both sides of vegetable with oil and sprinkle with salt. Broil, turning once, until brown-spotted on each side, 7 – 10 minutes. Sprinkle hot vegetables with garlic, lightly toss, and set aside until assembly.

Eggplant – trimmed and sliced into 1/3 -inch-thick rounds.

Zucchini -- trimmed and sliced into 1/3 -inch-thick rounds.

Yellow squash -- trimmed and sliced into 1/3 -inch-thick rounds.

*Roasted peppers have a sweeter, more intense flavor than sautéed. To oven roast, heat the broiler to high and arrange a rack in the upper third of the oven. Place the bell peppers directly on the rack. Roast, turning occasionally, until they blacken and blister on all sides, about 20 minutes. Cool in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. If you have a gas stove, turn a burner to the highest setting and set your pepper directly on the flame. Use a pair of tongs to turn the pepper until the skin is completely blackened. After peppers cool, pull off skins and seeds and cut into thin strips.


Parmesan-flavored White Sauce


2 1/2 cups low-fat or fat-free milk

1 cup fresh or canned, reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth

6 garlic gloves, chopped

3 tablespoons butter

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt ground black pepper


Heat milk, broth and garlic in a 1-quart microwave safe container on high power until steaming hot, about 8 minutes. Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. When melted, whisk in flour, and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until well blended. Pour in hot milk mixture all at once and whisk vigorously until sauce is smooth and starts to bubble and thicken. Stir in Parmesan and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and cover.

Red Sauce


3 tablespoons butter

2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1 can crushed tomatoes (28 ounces)

1 can diced tomatoes (14-1/2 ounces)

Salt (optional) and ground black pepper

Directions Heat butter over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and basil and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds longer. Stir in tomatoes; rinse out cans using about 1/4 cup water and add it to pot. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and simmer to blend flavors, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt (optional) and pepper to taste.


Prepare 12 lasagna noodles according to the manufacturer’s directions. If you boil lasagna noodles, they are best when undercooked. As the lasagna bakes, the noodles will absorb moisture from the ingredients. Whole grain or blended pastas provide more dietary fiber and nutrients and tend to be more filling than refined pasta.


For lasagna with a white sauce: 2-1/2 cups part-skim mozzarella, fontina, or provolone, 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese. For lasagna with a red sauce: 1-1/2 cups ricotta cheese (if grainy-textured, use a food processor to smooth) 2-1/2 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.


For lasagna with a white sauce: Spread 1/4 cup sauce over bottom of a 13x9-inch baking pan. Layer with 3 lasagna noodles, 2/3 cup sauce, half of one of cooked vegetables (alternate layers of each kind), 1/2 cup grated cheese and 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Repeat 3 more times. For lasagna with a red sauce: Spread 1/4 cup sauce over bottom of a 13x9-inch baking pan. Layer with 3 lasagna noodles, 6 tablespoons ricotta cheese spread over noodles, 2/3 cup sauce, half of one of the cooked vegetables (alternate layers of each kind), 3/4 cup mozzarella, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Repeat 3 more times.


Seal lasagna with foil and bake at 350° F for 35 or 40 minutes until bubbly.


When freezing prepared foods, cool the food quickly then package in rigid, wide mouth containers or foil-lined casserole dishes in the amounts you will use at one time. Leave some headspace so that food can expand.