Sunday, February 19, 2012

Vegetable Lasagna Rolls with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

This recipe came from a new source, Mother Thyme. I originally came across it on the Tasty Kitchen recipe community.  It had a very unique flavor, I think due to the red pepper sauce. It's quite a switch to have a lasagna with no tomatoes involved! It is also nice to have another delicious use of the superfood kale. 

This is certainly not a quick meal to prepare, but it is nice for the rare occasion when you have a little extra time and want to try something different.

The Ingredients:
  • 6-10 lasagna noodles, cooked al dente and drained
  • 15oz ricotta cheese (whole or part skim)
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
  • 1 cup chopped kale leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup carrots, grated
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into wedges
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk (I use almond milk)
  • Salt and pepper

The steps:

For red pepper sauce:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. Cut two red peppers into wedges, place skin side down on a baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes until skin is slightly charred. 
  3. Place roasted red peppers in food processor or blender and blend until pureed. 
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. 
  5. Add 1/4 cup of flour to butter and stir until it is incorporated into flour. 
  6. Slowly pour in 1 cup of milk and continue to stir until mixture is thick. 
  7. Stir in 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese until melted. 
  8. Stir in the red pepper puree until blended. Remove from heat.
For lasagna rollups:
  1. Cook 6-10 lasagna noodles until al dente, then drain.
  2. Turn oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Wash and chop 1 bunch of kale leaves.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. 
  5. Add 1 clove of minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. 
  6. Add chopped kale leaves to pan, along with a pinch of salt. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes until kale is cooked through and a bit wilted. Remove from stove and let it cool slightly.
  7. In a bowl, combine 15 oz of ricotta cheese, 1 egg, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon of parsley flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Gently fold in spinach, kale and carrots. 
  8. Lay one lasagna noodle on a flat surface and add mixture to one end of the noodle. Roll the noodle up with mixture. Continue to assemble each roll until all mixture is used. 
  9. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom on 9"x13" casserole pan. 
  10. Place lasagna rolls in pan and top with extra sauce. 
  11. Bake for 30 minutes. 
  12. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake for 10 additional minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  13. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.
The pictures!

Cut two red bell peppers into wedges, place skin side down on baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees... 

Until lightly charred.

Place roasted peppers in food processor,

And puree until smooth.

Add two tablespoons of butter to a saucepan,

And stir until melted.

This part was really hard to take pictures of, but we tried. Add 1/4 cup of flour to the butter,

And stir until incorporated. (Didn't get a good shot of that, so this is about halfway through.)

Add 1 cup of milk (I use almond milk, since I'm slightly lactose intolerant) and stir well until thick. Then, add about 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. 

Add in the red pepper puree,

And stir together. Mine remained pretty chunky. 

Spread a thin layer onto the bottom of a 13x9 casserole dish. Save the rest to pour on top of the rolls.

Now, we start the lasagna filling!

Here, I had a little shortcut. A while back, I made Spinach Lasagna Rollups, and ended up with more lasagna noodles than I had filling. I froze the extras, hoping I could reuse them in the future. Welcome to the future! I brought them from the freezer to the fridge a day before, and they were just fine to use when I was ready to make this recipe. I'm so glad I didn't throw them out!

If you aren't crazy like me with extra noodles in your freezer, just follow the directions on the lasagna noodle box and boil until al dente.

While noodles are boiling, add 1 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 chopped garlic clove to a large pan.

Add chopped bunch of kale and a pinch of salt. Stir for about 3 or 4 minutes, until kale is cooked through and starts to wilt. (This picture was taken before it was cooked.)

Meanwhile, add a 15 ounce container of ricotta cheese to a large bowl. 

Add 1 egg, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon of parsley flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper. 

Gently fold in 1 cup of spinach (thawed and squeezed of excess water), 

Add in cooked kale and garlic,

and shredded carrots (this was about 2 or 3 carrots). Stir all well.

Lay noodle out flat, and put a scoop of the filling on just one end. (Sorry, no picture!) 

Then roll up into a pretty little wheel. 

I made 5 rolls that were very full. You could easily spread this much filling into 10 or 12 rolls. 

Place all rolls in casserole pan, on top of the roasted red pepper sauce from earlier. 

Top the rolls with the remainder of the red pepper sauce. 

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, then top with shredded mozzarella and bake for 10 more. 

Until the cheese is melty and delicious!

As a side dish, I broke out some of the cheesy garlic bread for the freezer I had previously made. This stuff comes in so handy! (Just unwrap from the foil it was frozen in, place the foil and bread on a baking sheet, and bake at 425 for about 5 or 6 minutes.  So much better than the store-bought garlic bread!)

Here it is!

And for a little extra spice, I added some crushed red pepper on top. It's my go-to topping!

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