While lasagna is extremely famous and popular, vegetarian lasagna is on the rise and I am sure many will appreciate this low-carb, no pasta or noodles, vegetarian version.
This is another dish my mother would do occasionally while I was growing up in Italy and I absolutely love it!
It is extremely easy to prepare as it mainly has three ingredients: grilled vegetables, tomato sauce, and cheese.
You can call it mixed Mediterranean vegetables Parmigiana if you wish (which is what it is, essentially!).
This vegetarian lasagna is extremely versatile, as it can be used as a side dish when having a small portion or as a main dish when being more generous. It is very filling as it contains low-carb vegetables that are high in fiber and it is scrumptious as it has cheese layered in between.
It is delicious either hot or cold and it can be prepared a day in advance and stored in the fridge to be either baked or reheated the day after.
Have a try at this delicious and colorful dish!
~~ If you love the Mediterranean flavors but are on a rush, give this Lemon Zucchini and Crumbled Feta Cheese Pasta a try!
Let’s talk nutrition!
While it is easy to talk about peppers, zucchini and eggplant, as they are all low-carb vegetables, what many don’t talk about is the nutritional benefits of cheese and its fats and proteins.
Should you wish to further explore recipes including Low-Carb vegetables, you can have a look at this article: The 18 Best Low-Carb Vegetables | Popular, Versatile, and Easy to Cook and Integrate in Most Diets.
Cheese is often associated with weight gain, as some types are high in fat, calories, and sodium, however, what most forget is that cheese is a great source of calcium and proteins, amongst many others! Some studies have shown how some cheeses may help prevent heart diseases and osteoporosis, with some even associating it to weight loss, however, some cheeses are indeed ‘healthier’ than others and mozzarella is one of them!
Mozzarella cheese is originally from Italy and it is usually made from cow or buffalo milk; its consistency is soft and it is extremely moist.
This cheese is a great option as it has less sodium and calories than most other cheeses, as well as still being rich in proteins.
Some bacteria contained in mozzarella act as probiotics; Lactobacillus Casei and Fermentum are found in it, which can be found as an additive in some yogurts and upsold because of this!
These probiotics found in this cheese may help improve the health of the human and animal gut, as well as assist the immune system and fight inflammation present in the body, such as respiratory infections.
Mozzarella is also rich in Vitamin B-7 (Biotin, which, for example, stops the nails from becoming brittle), B-2 (Riboflavin, required by the body for cellular respiration), B-3 (Niacin, converts fat into energy usable by the body) as well as Vitamins A, D, and E.
~~ Looking to add more fresh cheeses to your diet? Why not try this Tomato Burrata Salad with Homemade Pesto without Pine Nuts | Burrata Caprese Salad with Pesto Dressing… easy, quick and so delicious!
How to make vegetarian lasagna?
This low carb vegetarian lasagna is very easy to prepare and it can be divided into three simple steps:
- Prepare the vegetables: Wash, slice, and grill the vegetables on a non-stick grilling pan.
- Prepare a tomato sauce: heat a teaspoon of olive oil and gently brown some onion and garlic in it; once ready add either chopped tomato or passata with a bit of water, adjust the salt level and simmer on a low flame for about 15 minutes.
- Layer and bake: Starting with tomato sauce, layer the ingredients alternating vegetables, tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Save some tomato sauce for the top layer and mix it with some parmesan cheese for a luxury topping! Bake for 30 minutes (15 minutes with some foil on top and 15 minutes uncovered) then allow it to sit for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Always remember to put a bit of tomato sauce before starting with the vegetables at the bottom, as this will prevent the vegetables from sticking to the bottom.
Should you wish to make this a Light Eggplant Parmigiana, you can simply use eggplant only, instead of peppers and zucchini as well.
~~ Fan of eggplant? Try this delicious Eggplant Curry (Bagara Baingan)… flavors our of this world!
Step 1: Prepare the Mediterranean Vegetables
Step 2: Prepare the Tomato Sauce
Step 3: Layer and Bake the Vegetarian Lasagna
How to make vegetarian lasagna with spinach?
This vegetarian lasagna can be made with the addition of spinach; to do so, fresh spinach can be added to the tomato sauce once it is nearly done. Baby spinach is the best choice as it is not bitter and it can be mixed and lightly cooked in the tomato sauce for a couple of minutes before using it to layer the vegetables.
~~ Love spinach? Give this delightful Indian curry, Palak Paneer a try!
What other vegetables can I add to this mixed vegetable bake recipe?
This low-carb eggplant, pepper, and zucchini lasagna is already extremely rich per se, however other vegetables can be used for this recipe as well.
Large Portobello mushrooms can be grilled and added to the mix, as they are quite large and can be nicely grilled, as well as large slices of beef tomato.
The sauce can be bulked up with multiple ‘leafy’ vegetables, such as watercress or rocket, however, for a deeper taste, some leek can be added to the onion and garlic base, as well as some grated carrot.
Should one have all of these vegetables at home, I would not recommend using them all, as most times less is more! These Mediterranean vegetables complement each other nicely, and I’d suggest adding other vegetables only if there are not enough of the other ones or if one or more of the vegetables in the recipe are not liked.
How long can I store this low-carb lasagna?
This low-carb vegetarian lasagna can be stored in the fridge for 3 days once it has been baked; before putting it in the fridge, allow it to fully cool down and then cover with the container’s lid (I have a nice glass baking tray with matching plastic lid) or with cling film.
You can also prepare this day one day before baking, store it in the fridge, and bake as per the instructions.
Can I freeze this vegetarian lasagna?
Yes, this low-carb lasagna can be frozen either baked or before baking.
Should you wish to freeze it baked, then allow it to fully cool down before doing so; as this is a great lunchbox option, this is a great dish to freeze in single portions. Before reheating, allow the vegetarian lasagna to fully defrost and then either reheat it thoroughly in the oven or the microwave; always ensure the lasagna is piping hot before serving.
Should you instead wish to freeze it unbaked, you can do so easily; before baking though, ensure it is fully defrosted and then baked as normal.
Why is this considered a low-carb vegetarian lasagna?
The main vegetables used in this recipe are all low carbohydrate ones: peppers, zucchini, eggplant, tomato, and onion, and they are used as a substitute for lasagna noodles/sheets. Should you still wish to use some pasta sheets, then perhaps alternate the layers so that not too much is added but the texture is felt through and through.
Can I make this vegetarian lasagna vegan?
Absolutely yes, and very easily so!
To do so, you can either swap the cheese for a non-dairy alternative or the cheese can just be skipped altogether. Should you wish to simply skip the cheese, then perhaps try adding (as in a couple of questions above) some spinach to the tomato sauce for that extra something.
~~ Interested in discovering more dairy-free, vegan milk alternatives? The 12 Best Non-Dairy Substitutes for Milk | What is the best alternative to milk? How to choose it? | 12+ Plant-Based Alternatives
What can I serve this low-carb vegetarian lasagna with?
This dish can be eaten as a side or a main, so there are multiple dishes this can be served with!
If using as a main, serve it with a crunchy coleslaw made of grated carrots, thinly sliced cabbage, and onion and dressed with a little amount of mayonnaise (I like to use Calve’ or Hellmans, as one teaspoon is so tasty you won’t need more) or a sliced of toasted bread topped with a little homemade fluffy garlic butter.
If you’re serving this as a side, accompany it with a nice simple onion and black pepper omelet or with some scrambled eggs; if you are not following a vegetarian diet, perhaps try adding a small amount of crumbled chorizo to either egg option.
Again, for non-vegetarians, a grilled slice of chicken breast or a lean cut of pork is a great accompaniment.
Should you prefer to keep it light, try sautéing some button mushrooms in a bit of butter with garlic and parsley; you’ll only need a tiny amount of butter, but the garlic and parsley will elevate the mushrooms and make them a nice pairing for this dish as they will have that nice bite.
How can I modify this dish in different ways?
There are multiple ways this can be modified depending on taste, calories, dietary requirements, and what you have in the house!
Starting from the tomato sauce, flavors can be added in the form of spices and herbs; elevate it by adding some crushed red chilies, chopped basil, or parsley. If you’re looking for a bit of a bite and tanginess, add some chopped green or black pitted olives to it, or try a tablespoon of basil or sundried tomato pesto in it.
For the cheese, there are many options as well! Swap the mozzarella for some mild grated cheddar cheese, edam, or crumbled feta, and use Pecorino Romano instead of parmesan for the top layer!
You will love this recipe as it is easy to prepare, low in calories, tasty and vegetarian!
This is a great dish to prepare and have in the fridge ready to warm up, but as well as a lunchbox filler to have on the go, either warm or hot!
The Mediterranean flavors, the delicious cheese, and the warming smell of tomatoes will fill your kitchen and you won’t turn back… low-carb and low-calorie options have never looked so tasty!
~~ If you love the flavors of this low-carb Mediterranean vegetable lasagna, try this Mediterranean Pasta with Zucchini, Eggplant, and Peppers! Vegan, Weight-Loss Friendly, Quick and Easy to prepare and… Delicious!!
- 2 Zucchini Washed and Cut in Long Slices
- 1 Eggplant Washed and Cut in Long Slices
- 2 Bell Peppers Washed and Cut in Long Slices (I used one red and one yellow)
- 30 Sprays Cooking Spray I use 1cal Cooking Spray
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- 2 Garlic Clove Peeled and Thinly Chopped
- 1 Onion Peeled and Thinly Sliced
- 5 Basil Leaves Washed and Thinly Sliced (Optional)
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- 1 Tin Chopped Tomato 400g – 14 oz
- ½ Carton Simple Tomato Passata 200g – 7 oz
- ½ tsp Caster Sugar Optional, only if the tomato sauce is too acidic
- 1 Mozzarella Light Drained and Sliced Thinly (125g – 4.5 oz)
- 30 g Parmesan Cheese Grated (1 oz)
Prepare the components
- Choose a grilling pan to prepare the vegetables.
- Grill all the vegetables on both sides, ensuring they are thoroughly cooked, using the cooking spray to ensure they do not stick to the pan. It is important that the vegetable slices are not too thick, so while they cook they can release the excess moisture; this will ensure the lasagna doesn’t end being too sloppy at the end.
- Once all the vegetables are ready, set them aside to cool down.
- Prepare the tomato sauce by warming up the olive oil in a saucepan; once the oil is warm, add the garlic, onion, basil leaves, salt, and pepper and mix well. Allow the onion and garlic to cook on a medium-low flame until tender and the smell of the rawness of the garlic has gone.
- Once the onion and garlic are ready, add the chopped tomato and passata and mix well; bring them to the boil then reduce the flame to low, put a lid on the saucepan and allow the sauce to simmer for 15 minutes until the tomato sauces are cooked.
- Once the tomato sauce is ready, should it be too acidic, you can correct this by adding the caster sugar; should it not be too acidic, then just skip this step.
- Prepare the cheese on the side by grating 30g of Parmesan cheese and thinly slicing the mozzarella.
- Preheat the FAN oven to 180 degrees Celsius, 400 Fahrenheit, 200 degrees Celsius Static Oven or Gas Mark 6.
Put the low-carb vegetarian lasagna together:
- In the meantime select a baking tray; given the shape of the vegetables you’ll find a square or rectangular one easier to use; the one is used is 16cm x 22cm or 6.5-inch x 9 inches.
- Put a couple of tablespoons of the tomato sauce at the bottom of the baking tray and spread it to ensure the bottom is fully covered in a thin layer of it.
- Start by layering the grilled eggplant, then topping with a bit of tomato sauce and some mozzarella, then repeat the same with the zucchini, tomato, and mozzarella, and finally with the peppers, tomato and mozzarella.
- Do the same until you finish all the mozzarella and grilled vegetables, but retain about 1/5 of the tomato sauce. Mix the remaining tomato sauce with the grated parmesan cheese and use it as a final layer of topping.
- Cover the tray with a piece of foil and cook on a shelf in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, remove the foil and allow to bake for a further 15 minutes; this step will allow the excess moisture to evaporate.
- Should you feel the vegetarian lasagna is still too liquid, you can continue baking until you are fully happy with the consistency; to ensure the top doesn’t burn you can reapply the foil on top of the bake while leaving aside a little bit lifted to ensure the moisture can escape.
- Once the vegetable bake is ready, remove it from the oven, remove the kitchen foil (if you reapplied it) and allow the lasagna to rest on the counter for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!