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JeanMarie Brownson: This springtime lasagna offers warm-weather appeal

JeanMarie Brownson, Tribune Content Agency on

Lasagna in the springtime? Oh, yes. Especially when it’s light and fresh with just enough pasta to create pretty layers. Omitting meat and heavy melting cheese, and swapping in roasted vegetables, gives the classic crowd-pleaser some warm weather appeal.

Zucchini gets a bad reputation for its watery profile and blandness. The trick is to select small to medium-size specimens (no larger than about 2 inches in diameter) and roast them in a hot oven. This concentrates their natural sweet flavor and renders the vegetable meltingly soft.

Adding fresh lemon zest, along with a little fruity olive oil and crushed chile, to bottled pasta sauce remarkably lightens the overall dish. Frozen or tinned artichoke hearts add texture and springtime flavors to the lasagna layers.

Save time by purchasing roasted vegetables, such as zucchini, eggplant and/or roasted bell peppers, from the deli counter at large supermarkets; you‘ll need about 4 cups chopped. You can assemble the lasagna a couple of hours before baking. Serve with a salad of hearty greens dressed with a red wine vinaigrette.

Artichoke and Zucchini Lasagna with lemon and basil

Makes 6 servings

 

Tip: Leftovers are delicious warmed in the microwave.

4 to 5 medium-size zucchini, 2 pounds total (or a combination of zucchini and yellow squash)

1 medium-size red onion, halved, thinly sliced

6 to 8 large garlic cloves

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