Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer Herb Lasagna

I am constantly on the lookout for new herbs to grow in our new 8' x 4' raised bed garden and in the front yard flowerbed. At last count, we have thyme, lemon thyme, oregano, lavender, rosemary, stevia, lemon verbena, bee balm, mint, green, purple, and thai basil, sage, and parsley. Please tell me if you're currently growing something else that I shouldn't live without! (I think I must add French tarragon and lemon balm to the wish list now...)

We try to use as many of these herbs as we can since they're flourishing now and also seem to grow bigger the more we pick them. So here's a shockingly bright green summer mixed-herb lasagna, much lighter than the meaty versions that are omnipresent in cold months.

Summer Herb Lasagna

olive oil
no-boil lasagna noodles (for ease; the ones you boil may be slightly better if you have the time)
one container of ricotta cheese
generous handfuls of a mix of your favorite green herbs (thyme, rosemary, basil, oregano, sage)
one egg
sea salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups of mozzarella, grated
1/2 cup of parmesan, grated
Italian seasoning
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush the inside of a baking pan with olive oil and spoon a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of it. Line up 3 or so sheets of noodles and press them lightly into the sauce. Set aside.

For the ricotta and herb layer, put a container of ricotta into the food processor along with a cup of your fresh herb blend. Add one egg and a splash of olive oil plus salt and pepper to taste. Pulse it until it is smooth and a striking green color. Spread 1/3 of this into the pan over the noodles. Add a layer of noodles, then tomato sauce and sprinkle in some of the mozzarella and parmesan and the Italian seasoning. Keep alternating until the last top layer: noodles, then tomato sauce to cover, and a copious amount of the two cheeses on top. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until top is nice and burnished. Let it sit for 5 minutes before you cut into it.

*Tips: This is fine to freeze and have on hand for later. Also, Lindsey added zucchini from her garden as another layer; she used a mandoline to cut it into thin strips.


Gen said...

Watch out for the lemon balm. It has a tendency to get invasive. Mine took over my herb garden and side yard. I had to weed most of it out and when I cut the grass it smells like lemons. Also, How do you use your stevia. I planted one but have little experience using it. Thanks!

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

You can make a syrup (see lavender syrup recipe in the peach ice cream post -- probably don't need the sugar, though!) and then it would likely be able to be used like agave syrup to sweeten tea and the like.

Using a small leaf as an accent on an appetizer might be nice!

Thanks! And we definitely will monitor the lemon balm if we get a plant or two. :)


whitneyingram said...

Look for orange mint. My mom has some in her garden and it has the most unique scent.

Mel Spillman artwork said...

I love our chocolate mint, let me or Bobby know if you want some. Ours came from Dave Evans at Underground Art and is several years old. I make iced tea with it- like two HUGE handfuls added to the steeping water...YUM!

Pam said...

Chris Davis suggested I add Mexican tarragon to my herb bed, which I did. Now it's my favorite, especially in quiche and potato salad.

Unknown said...

I had lemon basil going nuts in my garden, and co-workers of varying backgrounds asking me to cook lunch for everyone. This was a perfect light lasagna, used up my basil, and didn't weigh us down in this Phoenix heat! So yummy!