Farmers’ Market Vegetable Lasagna

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Farmers’ Market Vegetable Lasagna is a hearty yet fresh and delicious lasagna recipe that’s especially tasty in the summer.

Farmers Market Vegetable Lasagna | iowagirleats.com

Happy Monday, hope you had a great weekend!

Ben and I had one of the best couple of days on record. Friday night he asked if he could take me to the Farmers’ Market in the morning (seriously? Swoon!) so off we went, bright and early on Saturday. It was a beautiful day and the flowers and asparagus in particular were calling our name – as well as the dozen or so people we ran into at the market that we knew. Felt like the whole town was there! : )

(Psst! Click here > to read about one of my favorite market vendors in my latest Join My Journey blog post!)

A special shout also goes out to the Zinnia vendor who took this stunning picture for me after watching me take bad photo after photo. The colors were so striking and I wanted a new summer-themed backdrop on my phone so bad, but I was too short and the flowers were too tall and, well, all was nearly lost until she took pity on me and shot the dang thing herself. Baha! Moving on…

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We decided to forego Pupusas (still slightly upset about that…) for brunch at a nearby popular breakfast joint afterwards – Waveland Cafe. This place is a Des Moines institution and I am slightly ashamed that I have never been. Located in the Drake University neighborhood, it’s no frills and slightly eclectic, plus they serve the best dang hash browns. Period. So glad I finally went!

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Home was the last place we wanted to head on such a beautiful day, so we hopped over to our new neighborhood to time distances to the grocery store and such, and check out the nearby trails.

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I feel like such a wretched traitor for saying this, but the trails near our new home kick the trails at our current home’s boo-tay. Like, slightly puts them to shame. Poor trails. I cannot wait to tie my laces up and get out there for a jog. Not much longer now!

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After that we decided to continue the fun with a round of mini golf! I chose the hottest pink ball I could find, natch.

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The last time Ben and I played mini golf, about 4 years ago, we got into the biggest argument ever. Neither of us remember what it was about (we probably didn’t even know 5 minutes after,) but thankfully this time was much more pleasant!

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The conversation, anyway, not so much the game. Gosh, I just suck at golf! My score for 18 holes, including two penalty shots for landing in the rocks at hole 4 in the water at hole 17? 65. Gulp. 

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Afterwards, Ben hit at the neighboring driving range for a bit then I convinced him to stop at Scratch Cupcakery on the way home, FTW. As if he needed any extra convincing. Devoured his chocolate chip cupcake in record time then declared it the best cupcake he ever had. HA! Ahem.

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Yesterday I worked on a bunch of freelance projects then broke to put some of my farmers’ market finds to good use in Farmers’ Market Vegetable Lasagna! 

A few months ago I helped judge a local culinary competition called Morsel Combat which benefits Meals from the Heartland, an incredible, local non-profit that provides food to starving people all over the world – right here from IA. The competition brings out well-known local chefs who cook bite-sized portions of yummy dishes for people to try, which are also judged by a panel of local foodies.

Among all the dishes that were submitted at the event, the winner we chose was a Raw Vegan Lasagna from Fresh Cafe & Market. NONE of the judges, including myself, exclusively eat raw or vegan, but we were all in agreement that the fresh, light dish complete with walnuts that tasted like Italian sausage, and cashew cheese that was a creamy as any dairy-based product, was absolutely incredible.

Farmers Market Vegetable Lasagna | iowagirleats.com

While I have no idea how to make walnuts taste like sausage, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about that lasagna, so I created a cooked version that incorporates fresh-picked veggies from the market like zucchini, yellow squash, basil, and shallots, with chewy lasagna noodles and bright marinara sauce in a fantastic, summery dish!

Farmers Market Vegetable Lasagna | iowagirleats.com

Lasagna is a bit more involved than the recipes I normally post here on IGE, but I promise this one’s worth it. Start by boiling 10oz lasagna noodles. I know a lot of lasagna recipes these days call for no-cook noodles which are incredibly convenient, but Ben hates ‘em and I’m not completely sold either. I like the thick, firm and chewy noodles of yesteryear, myself!

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After the noodles are done cooking lay them out on a nonstick sprayed baking sheet, spraying the tops of the noodles to layer, then set aside.

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Meanwhile, drain 24oz fat-free cottage cheese in a fine mesh strainer, using a spatula to press and make sure all the liquid is gone. If you con’t have a fine mesh strainer, place a piece of cheesecloth in a regular strainer.

By the way, I grew up eating cottage cheese in place of ricotta cheese in my Mom’s lasagna, and I just love it. The cottage cheese provides a lean protein punch and, furthermore, tastes really good. That being said, if you hate cottage cheese more than anything, use ricotta instead!

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After the cottage cheese is drained, add it to a large bowl then stir in 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup packed fresh basil that’s been roughly chopped. Mix then set aside.

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K – time to get your chop on! Chop up 4 cloves garlic, 2 large shallots (or 1 small sweet onion) and 2 medium-sized zucchini and summer squash.

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Heat 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a very large skillet over medium heat then saute the shallots until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 30 more seconds then turn the heat up to medium high, add the zucchini and summer squash, and then saute until they barely start to turn translucent, seasoning with salt and pepper.

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Next add 24oz of your favorite marinara sauce. I used Ginos, of course!

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Turn the heat down to medium and let the veggies simmer in the sauce until they’re crisp-tender. Don’t let ‘em get mushy!

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Assembly time! Normally I’d make this lasagna in a 9×13″ dish, but I decided to split it into 2-8×8″ dishes so I can freeze one for an easy, post-baby meal. First spread a small amount of the veggie sauce in the bottom of the nonstick sprayed dish.

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Top with 3 lasagna noodles and 1/3 of the cottage cheese/basil mixture.

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Spoon on 1/3 of the remaining veggie mixture, and then top with shredded mozzarella cheese.

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Repeat the layers 2 more times, top with a bit of parmesan cheese then bake for 20 minutes covered with foil and 15-20 minutes uncovered.

Farmers Market Vegetable Lasagna | iowagirleats.com

Allow to rest for 15 minutes before slicing (or 5 in my case – I was starving!) then serve!

Farmers Market Vegetable Lasagna | iowagirleats.com

Farmers’ Market Vegetable Lasagna

Print this recipe!

Feeds a crowd, though can be easily halved

Ingredients:
10oz lasagna noodles
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large shallots, chopped (or 1 small sweet onion, chopped)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium zucchini, chopped
2 medium yellow summer squash, chopped
salt & pepper
24oz marinara sauce
24oz fat-free cottage cheese, drained well
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup packed fresh basil, chopped
8oz shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Add lasagna noodles to a large pot of salted, boiling water. Cook until al dente then drain and lay on a nonstick sprayed baking sheet. Spray tops of noodles to stack on top of one another if necessary.
  2. Heat extra virgin olive oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and saute until translucent, 3-4 minutes, then add garlic and saute for 30 more seconds. Add zucchini and summer squash, season with salt and pepper, then saute until just slightly starting to turn translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add marinara sauce, turn heat down to medium/medium-low, then simmer until zucchini and squash are tender, 5-7 minutes (a splatter screen is helpful.) Do not over-cook or vegetables will be mushy. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl combine drained cottage cheese, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, and chopped basil then set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees then spray a 9×13″ pan (could use 2-8×8″ pans) with non-stick spray. Spread a small amount of the vegetable mixture into the bottom then layer in 3 cooked lasagna noodles followed by 1/3 of the cottage cheese mixture, 1/3 of the remaining vegetable mixture, and 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers 2 more times.
  5. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup parmesan cheese on top then cover pan with nonstick sprayed foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil then bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
  6. Tip: My favorite marinara sauce (Ginos) tends to get a little watery when heated. Spoon out extra watery-liquid from the zucchini/squash/marinara mixture before layering lasagna to prevent a watery lasagna.

Farmers Market Vegetable Lasagna | iowagirleats.com

This lasagna was light yet filling, and I loved, loved, loved how the zucchini still had a bit of a bite since I didn’t cook it too long in the sauce.

Farmers Market Vegetable Lasagna | iowagirleats.com

Serve with a side of crusty bread for dipping, and enjoy the flavors of summer. Have a great week!

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Comments

  1. Every time we’ve moved, we love to find the new grocery, new parks, etc. So happy for you that you’ve found great trails! PS ~ This Veggie Lasagna will be a great way to get veggies into my family in a delicious way! Can’t wait to try this.

  2. Tieghan 06.10.2013

    What a pretty lasagna! All those veggies look so yummy!

  3. This looks SO good. I am such a fan of lasagna, and the more veggies the better :).

    Your breakfast from Waveland Cafe looks awesome. Thanks for the recommendation. I will have to check it out the next time that I am in Des Moines.

  4. Those cupcakes look heavenly! And I’m glad you ended the post with a veggie based lasagna so I’m not left craving sugar. ;) I’m awful at mini golf too but at least it’s still fun!

  5. Yum! I love throwing veggies into pasta dishes (good way to hide them for picky eaters!).

    On a side note – I was just in touch with Scratch in CF as they are doing their summer Curbside tours with their cupcake truck and they are coming to Muscatine (where I work). I’m so excited to show that town one of our FAVORITE desserts!

  6. Laura 06.10.2013

    What part of town are you moving to? I live in the Urbandale/Clive area and have lots of trails nearby!

  7. Kelsey 06.10.2013

    I’m an Iowa girl living in Wisconsin and I get teased for using cottage cheese in lasagna but it’s my favorite! Just how mom makes it. Thanks for the yummy recipe!

  8. You Saturday sounds just about perfect – Farmer’s Market, brunch, mini-golf and CUPCAKES!!! Oh that chocolate chip-covered cupcakes looks like Heaven :) I can’t wait to try your veggie lasagna recipe. I love the idea of throwing in veggies from the farmers market!

  9. Ashley 06.10.2013

    That lasagna looks delicious! I use zucchini instead of noodles to lower the carb. count, but I love the idea of Farmer’s Market lasagna! I also love cottage cheese in place of ricotta! YUM! P.S. Those cupcakes look amazing and those flowers are beautiful!!!

  10. Haha I love mini golf but in my experience it ALWAYS ends in an argument ;) this lasagne looks so fresh and tasty, perfect for all the warm weather we’ve been having!

  11. Kristin from MN 06.10.2013

    Congrats on the new house and the new baby! Where did you get your cute jacket?

  12. Love the look of this fresh vegetable lasagna!!! Nothing like fresh veggies from your local farmers’ market!!!

  13. Such a scrumptious looking lasagna, and I love all the fresh veggies you used from your weekend trip to the farmer’s market! Great recipe, thanks for sharing!

  14. Tracy 06.10.2013

    Looks delish! And what a fun weekend, too!

  15. Love this! Such a great way to use up fresh summer veg!

    And the pictures of you two golfing are too cute (with your hot pink golf ball)!!

  16. oh, the day my husband voluntarily takes me to the farmer’s market…i’m still waiting, although he’s normally a good sport when i drag him there.

  17. Kristin 06.10.2013

    LOL, cottage cheese in lasgna is such a Midwestern thing. Just like Miracle Whip instead of mayo. (Says this MN girl who has lived in the South most of my adult life). I’m afraid of how watery the lasagna would be from using so much squash and zucchini. Maybe I would salt and drain it in a colader first.

  18. I love vegetable lasagna, and yours looks perfect! Let’s talk more about those cupcakes though… woah! :)

  19. Julie 06.10.2013

    this looks yum. Probably a dumb question, but do you have to drain the ricotta, if you decide to go that route?
    Smart to freeze one post-bebe. You wont feel like cooking, or have free arms :)

  20. So excited that it’s Farmers Market season again! So many gorgeous fruits and veggies to be enjoyed :) This lasagna looks scrumptious!

  21. Lindsay 06.10.2013

    That sounds — and looks! — soooo good. Pinning for later this week :D

  22. Kristin 06.10.2013

    Hi there! I have enjoyed your blog so much! Also love to see that you spell your name right ha ha! My mom is from Iowa, and we both are in love with reading your great posts!
    I found the recipe for the vegan lasagna…here is the link:
    http://www.rawmazing.com/raw-vegan-lasagna/

    Thanks for talking about it…my cousins are vegan and I will try it out for Christmas dinner for them. The walnut “sausage” sounds interesting!

  23. Chef Amber Shea 06.10.2013

    There’s an awesome recipe for Italian sausage walnut “meat” in this book!: http://bit.ly/PracticallyRaw :)

  24. This lasagna looks very fresh and delicious. I have never tried cottage cheese in place of ricotta, but they do have similar textures so it makes sense. I’ll have to give that a try!

  25. heather 06.10.2013

    my mom has always put shredded zucchini and spinach in the meat sauce(or meatless, on Lent and after I gave up meat in HS) in her lasagne; as a kid I *adored* veggies in baked pasta. This looks so effin’ good, LOL.

  26. I have always used cottage cheese in lasagna, too! Bite for bite, it just has more flavor and chew than ricotta.

    What a summery looking dinner!

  27. This looks like a fantastic veggie-packed lasagna! And I must say, you’re looking so fantastic with that growing belly of yours!

  28. Nancy 06.10.2013

    Your recipe sounds similar to mine, but after some experimenting, I have found an even easier way – don’t boil the noodles and don’t pre-cook the vegetables. The liquid from the vegetables is enough to cook the noodles when it is baked in the oven. I just put a thin layer of sauce in the baking dish, lay down my regular lasagna noodles (NOT the no-boil kind), layer on the fresh vegetables and cheese (I use ricotta with an egg mixed in) as well as some fresh mozzarella shredded for more goodness. Make sure your sauce covers all the noodles or you’ll get some uncooked crunchy bits. I also like to add fresh spinach and fresh mushrooms too.

  29. Lauren 06.10.2013

    I hope you meant to describe the restaurant as eccentric instead of eclectic! :P

    I keep seeing summer-y veggie lasagnas popping up in Blogland and it’s convincing me that I should make some (for the very first time!).

  30. Lauren Williams 06.10.2013

    I love Zinnias and just recently planted some for a pot by my front door! Looks like a splendid weekend, but boy Mini-golf sure is frustrating..Haha!

  31. nessa 06.10.2013

    This looks incredible!

  32. I’m always so ashamed to admit I’ve never made a lasagna before! My Italian great grandma is rolling over in her grave…lol. You make it look pretty simple though, and I love that this is packed with veggies!

  33. Lindsay 06.10.2013

    The Des Moines Farmer’s Market is the bomb! My mom and I decided that getting there at 7 is definitely the best time. I nap later in the day :)

    This lasagna looks nommy.

  34. tripp 06.10.2013

    My stepmother (who is a much better cook than my Mom…shhhh! don’t tell her that) always used cottage cheese instead of ricotta, and I still prefer it to this day. Much better consistency! This looks great, and I’m sure I’ll make it soon.

  35. Debtgirl 06.10.2013

    Won’t be long!!!!

  36. Maggie 06.11.2013

    Wow… this lasagna looks so delightfully tasty. I am desperate to try this out. I just had breakfast and your photos made me hungry. :o) Thank you!!!

  37. Yum that lasagne looks so good. I love how packed full of veggies it is :)

    Also those cupcakes did look incredible!

  38. Sandy 06.11.2013

    This vegetable lasagna looks delicious like all your fantastic recipes. I am a big fan of your blog – great pictures! But… Iowa Girl, you lost me at jarred marinara sauce. It is one of the easiest things to make home-made and so far superior to anything in a jar. All you need are plum tomatoes, (San Marzano are the best), olive oil, garlic, onion, basil and oregano. That’s it! Plus, it is a lot cheaper. Make it ahead and freeze or you can jar your sauce using a canning process if you have the time.

    • Gino's Fan 06.11.2013

      Spoken like someone who has never tried Gino’s!

  39. Now I have to make this! I received a jar of Gino’s from my Foodie Penpal in Iowa and I’ve been meaning to use it… ;-)

  40. Shari W 06.11.2013

    The Waveland ROCKS! (and the snarky servers? Yep, luv em!) Kristin – I’m thinking you must be moving nearer to my neighborhood as those trails look pretty darn familiar to me. And the Waveland is just a hop, skip & a jump too.

    So many exciting things – new house, new baby…and AweSome blog. (ofc!)

    Keep

  41. This looks wonderful and easy enough to make! Thanks for sharing; I will definitely be trying this soon.

  42. Melissa B 06.15.2013

    I enjoyed reading your post, the Cupcake store looks great! =)
    I have some Vegetable lasagna cooking in my crockpot this afternoon, and Im going to definitly try the part in your recipe about mixing drained cottage cheese, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, and chopped basil..YUM! =)

  43. Dana Callahan 06.17.2013

    I love your site. I am an IOWA girl who lives in Oklahoma and I miss IOWA so much. Thank you for your wonderful site. Happiness always!

  44. […] got the inspiration for a summer veggie lasagna from Iowa Girl Eats and her Famer’s Market Lasagna. Except I wanted to tie in this bad boy that we purchased (kind of on a whim) from the farmers […]

  45. Danielle 07.21.2013

    Looks fantastic! Quick question…do you cook the second pan of lasagna before freezing? Or do you assemble and freeze, then bake it later on when you eat it?

    Thanks as always for another great recipe!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 07.21.2013

      I froze before baking, then I’ll let it thaw in the fridge overnight and bake per the directions. Good question! :)

      • Danielle 07.21.2013

        Great, thank you!!

  46. Caitlin 08.29.2013

    Hoping to make this up this weekend and freeze some up for my little brother at college (shhh he doesn’t need to know it’s vegetarian ;-)), do you think spinach would go well into the batch? Frozen maybe? Thanks!

  47. […] Recipe and photo credit to iowagirleats.com  […]

  48. […] In other news, the city’s annual art festival is this weekend so I’m looking forward to enjoying that sometime in the next couple of days. One of my favorite photographers, Lisa Kristine, usually makes an appearance and I’m anxious to see what she’ll bring this year. Hoping to finally get out on a walk around the ‘hood, too. We haven’t been out on the trails since before we moved in! […]

  49. katie 08.12.2014

    hi there,

    quick question – i want to prepare this dish on weds but then cook it on thurs night, do i have to freeze it overnight or can i just let it sit in the fridge and then cook it on thurs night? will it be ok in the fridge overnight?

    thank you!

    • Kristin 08.21.2014

      Hi Katie! It *should* be ok sitting in the fridge overnight. That said, lasagna noodles are notorious for sucking up excess moisture so I might add a bit more sauce to the recipe if it’s going to be sitting uncooked overnight!

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