If you are like me when it comes to cooking, you like all the flavor of Italian food but with minimal effort. I found this great recipe on Pinterest (my guilty pleasure) for vegetarian crock pot lasagna. This was super easy to make and tasted absolutely delicious! Best part, I was able to use Bavaro's very own pasta sauce for it! Check it out:
-2 medium zucchini
-1 medium eggplant
-16 ounces (2 cups) Bavaro's pasta sauce (any kind works, I used Marinara)
-1 medium red onion, diced
-1 red bell pepper, diced
-16 ounces low fat cottage cheese (do not use skim—I used 1%)
-2 large eggs
-8 ounces part-skim shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese
-For serving: Parmesan cheese, freshly chopped herbs such as basil or parsley
With a mandolin or very sharp knife, slice the eggplant and zucchini length-wise into long, thin (1/4-inch) sections so that they resemble lasagna noodles. Spread the vegetable slices out onto a kitchen towel or layers of paper towels and sprinkle them lightly with kosher salt. Let stand overnight or as long as you have to allow some of the excess liquid to drain off. Pat dry. Grill the noodles 2-3 min per side using your favorite method (I just used my George Foreman!)
Lightly coat a 6-quart crock pot with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the crock pot—the layer will seem very thin. In a small bowl, beat the cottage cheese together with the eggs.
Create the first veggie lasagna layer in the crock pot as follows: 1 layer of eggplant "noodles;" 1/3 of the cottage cheese (about 2/3 cup); 1/3 of the bell peppers and onions; 1/3 of the mozzarella; 1/2 cup tomato sauce.
Create the second veggie lasagna layer, this time using zucchini: 1 layer of zucchini "noodles;" 1/3 of the cottage cheese; 1/3 of the bell peppers and onions; 1/3 of the mozzarella; 1/2 cup of tomato sauce.
Create the final layer: 1 layer of eggplant "noodles;" remaining cottage cheese; remaining bell peppers and onions; 1 layer of zucchini noodles; 1/2 cup tomato sauce; remaining mozzarella.
Cover the crock pot and cook on high for 2-3 hours, until the eggplant is tender. To test, insert a long, thin knife into the lasagna and ensure the eggplant feels tender. Recover, turn off the slow cooker, and let stand until any remaining liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes to 1 hour. To serve, slice and scoop desired portions, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and herbs as desired.
NOTE: This recipe was made and adapted from "Well Plated by Erin" at www.wellplated.com