Toward the end of the summer months, I feel like I've maxed out on all things zucchini. I've made both sweet and savory dishes, eaten it both raw and cooked, paired with many different ingredients and cuisines, and I just don't think I can take anymore. But then I'm at the market and I can get a bucket of 6-8 for a dollar... and I can't pass it up. And I'm back to scanning the indexes of my cookbooks (yes, there's a permanent dent on the "Z" page), flipping through my summer magazines, and scanning google reader because surely, I'm not the only person in this (zucchini) boat.
Lucky for me, Mama Pea came through for me in my time of need! I had just purchased a new bag of Organic, Fair-Trade Quinoa and had some leftover marinara in the fridge that needed to be used. I stuck with her recipe with two exceptions - she is vegan and used vegan cheeses. Instead, I used cottage cheese and mozzarella... but you could substitute mascarpone, ricotta or cream cheese. My personal favorite cottage cheese is Organic Valley 2%, it's so thick and creamy. I also added 1/2 c. thawed, chopped spinach because it needed to be used before freezerburn set in.
This lasagna would be the perfect way to say goodbye to zucchini and summer... but when you live in Florida, it's always summer and it's always zucchini season. In fact, I found three new zucchini buds growing in my garden over the weekend.
The search continues...
VBS Tips and Trades:
- Choose smaller, thinner zucchini at the market. They're generally sweeter, more tender, and less pulpy. Though a huge, prize-winning sized zucchini looks impressive, it will lack flavor.
- Quinoa is what I call a hybrid starch-protein. Though it is a grain, it's similar in nutrition contents to a bean, packing in whole grain carbohydrates and lean protein.
-I used a mixture of red and regular/white quinoa in this dish for variety's sake. This is the brand I use, I find it at Whole Foods, but it can be ordered online.
Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna
un-veganized from Peas and Thank You
4 medium sized zucchini, sliced into 15 strips (make them the size/shape to fit your baking dish)
1 c. quinoa (any color)
2 c. vegetable stock
1/2 c. tomato sauce/puree
1 small yellow onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 c. thawed, drained, chopped spinach
10 basil leaves, chopped
1/4 c. cottage cheese (or ricotta, mascarpone, cream cheese, etc.)
Salt and pepper
2 c. marinara sauce (jarred or try this recipe)
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 400*
Slice zucchini into strips, layer into a colander, sprinkle with salt and layer with paper towels (see Peas and Thank You for pictured steps, if needed).
Combine stock, quinoa, tomato sauce, onion, garlic, and oregano in a sauce pot.
Bring to a boil, turn heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, until moisture is absorbed.
Turn heat off, stir in cottage cheese, spinach and basil, season with salt and pepper.
Pour sauce in a baking dish to coat, layer with zucchini, half of quinoa, zucchini, the rest of the quinoa, and the last of the zucchini.
Top with more sauce and cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and zucchini are tender.
Rest for 5 minutes and serve.