Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Zucchini and Quinoa Lasagna

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.


Kelly said...

Love the substitution of Quinoa for the noodles as well as the info on it's nutritional profile. I learned something new!

Jackie Ewing said...

Hi I couldn’t find an email address to send this to, but I’m an Account Manager from G2, a marketing firm, and we’re putting together a cooking contest called the Aetna Healthy Food Fight, and it’s making its way around the country. It’s coming to Jacksonville on October 15-16. I found your blog and it caught my attention. You, or your followers, could get great exposure for recipes and meet celebrity cooks (Bobby Flay, Sunny Anderson, Sara Moulton, or Cat Cora). Please go to healthyfoodfight.com to check it out. Deadline to sign up for Jacksonville is September 29. Good luck if you decide to enter!

Dawn said...

I love the quinoa in this! Also, I saw your comment about getting together for lunch or dinner. I would love to. Let's plan it!

elly said...

This sounds so great! I love the sub of quinoa for noodles. So much healthier.

Joanne said...

You can never go wrong with lasagna! I'm pretty sure I could eat it every day and not get tired of it. Love this dish. And yes, zucchini are totally taking over the world.

Taiwan-Teacher said...

I made this and it was delicious but mine was a MESS! Any tips for cutting it so it looks nice?

Lizzy said...

Love love your blog. So happy I found it! I made this recipe too (but yours came out much prettier)!

Mama Pea said...

I just discovered your blog and am reading through your delicious recipes (I bookmarked the Oat Honey Wheat sandwich bread), and then I found one of mine! I love it! I'm so glad you liked the lasagna and I'm so proud of this recipe because it literally just came together in a moment of inspiration (I wish those came more often).

I've added you to my Reader and can't wait to read more. I love this blog!