Saving the World one Vegetable at a Time

Three weeks ago my daughter announced she was going to be a vegetarian. Actually a pescatarian, she’d still eat fish. Well, technically a mostly pescatarian, sliders WILL be allowed if we watch football at a restaurant on Sundays. She’s very specific this kid. My husband is joining her Monday-Friday. I’m trying but I’m also trying to not be an obese middle-aged woman and chicken is such an easy low fat protein source but whatever.

So, you know how a large number of addicts, once they kick their habit become critical of others who engage in the activity they now eschew? Yep that. She started out fine, no real comments except to remind me now and then that she couldn’t have one thing or another. But now?

“Meat makes you fat.” Oh, thank you. Thanks so very fucking much. “If you eat meat you don’t care about the animals.” Oh really little girl? You judge me when you don’t repeatedly forget to wipe your ass. Saturday I stopped at the most amazing butcher in Miami for some Sunday sausage. I realize I was asking for it, since I’d just picked her and her vegetarian friend up from musical theater, but driving in Miami sucks and I wasn’t going back again.

“Mommy you just bought meat! What is that for, meat is terrible!” Damn! Shamed! I thought if I left them in the car (relax I parked right in front of the storefront and pre-ordered) they wouldn’t really know what I was getting. But upon return I got a kid version of a scarlet letter “P”.

As annoying as she is, I am of course, proud. Especially in this volatile, unstable time in our history. President-Elect I Can’t Write That Name already has horrendous plans for climate change, and has appointed the equivalent of an environmental Nazi to head the Environmental Protection Agency’s transitional team. A team may not even be necessary our hatemongering P-E follows through with cutting the EPA.

So, my little rabble-rouser is exactly where we all need to be right now: making small choices for herself that can impact us all. With her vegetarianism and her feelings on Trump, she is my own little Rosa Parks. Except on Sundays.

 

So here’s a recipe for vegetable lasagna I recently made.

One of the worst things about a lot of vegetable lasagna people make at home is they use a bag of frozen vegetables, cover with marinara and cheese and bake, ending up with a watery, chunky lasagna. I wanted this lasagna to be close to the meat version, which means smooth and uniform. The results: Hell Yeah! That kid ate two helpings without so much as a question and wants to serve it to her friends. Success.

Vegetable Lasagna

1 package no boil lasagna noodles (preferably whole wheat). You won’t use the whole thing but what are you gonna do.

1 large jar good marinara sauce (I typically look for sauces with the least ingredients, and make sure it starts with tomatoes, not tomato sauce or paste – whole tomatoes).

2 bags frozen shitake mushrooms

4 carrots, shredded

1 onion, chopped

1 sprig thyme

2 packages pre-washed baby spinach, chopped well

3 zucchini, sliced thinly lengthwise (I use a mandolin)

5 cloves garlic

16 ounces ricotta

8 ounces cottage cheese

3 cups grated mozzarella

½ cup grated Parmesan

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

¼ tsp. nutmeg

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Sauté onion on medium high heat in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil until it starts to brown, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add Mushrooms and thyme sprig, sauté until they start to brown, about 10 minutes using frozen mushrooms.
  • Remove from stove, mix in grated carrots
  • Lightly sauté garlic in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Just when the garlic threatens to turn brown (just a couple minutes), add the spinach and sauté until cooked through
  • Cool spinach mixture, and then add the ricotta, cottage cheese, half the Parmesan and the eggs.
  • Mix spinach and cheese well, then add nutmeg, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper
  • Prepare lasagna pan by sprinkling a little oil and spreading it around
  • Boil some water in a saucepan, and run the lasagna noodles through it before making your first layer in the pan
  • Add a layer of the mushroom and carrot mixture
  • Add a layer of the spinach mixture
  • Instead of another layer of noodles, add a layer of zucchini which acts like noodles
  • Layer more mushrooms
  • Then layer mozzarella
  • Top with marinara
  • Repeat steps, alternating pasta and zucchini for the layers until you reach the top, which should be noodles
  • After putting the top layer of noodles, spread on the rest of the marinara, and then top with remaining Parmesan.
  • Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes, then uncovered for 20 minutes.

I tried to attach some images but I guess my blogging skills leave something to be desired. I’ll work on that

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Tiffany says:

    Thank you, as it is comforting to know others are having a difficult time accepting President He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named and that there are ways we can make a difference, even if it seems small like tweaking our diet. Your daughter is extremely fortunate to have your support, and I’d like to tell you to hang in there the meat shaming will get better but most likely it won’t. Just keep reminding her of the difference between local, farm raised proteins and factory farm proteins and that in all that we do, compromise is best. Happy Holidays to you and your family and thanks again for sharing!

    1. MamaBabble says:

      Thanks for your comment Tiffany, and for pointing out the importance of knowing where all our food comes from.

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