Oh man folks - rainbow lasagne is basically my new favorite food group! My first test of this recipe was made when we had some friends coming over for dinner. There may be little better than pulling what appears to be a simple cream sauce lasagne from the oven - then lifting a slice out to reveal the impressive interior. It's sure to impress, visually and in flavor!
I'll be the first to admit, making this dish is a bit of a commitment since you have to make three different fillings instead of the one typical of most lasagnes, but I can guarantee it's worth the extra effort. And as long as you're not feeding a huge crowd, a lasagne means plenty of leftovers - filling your life with color all week long!
I started this recipe off with my homemade pasta dough. It might seem obsessive, but I always make lasagne with homemade pasta dough. The flavor is unbeatable, and the sheets of pasta can be rolled extra thin for a version like this one with 6 layers! These gorgeous eggs and a pile of flour seemed like the perfect place to start a rainbow lasagne. I'm forever grateful for sweet farmers raising pastured eggs in picture perfect pastels. They're so magical!
Then, we have our rainbow of fillings. Roasted beets and carrots are pureed with fresh thyme, caramelized onion and garlic, and a little stock for a rich and flavorful puree. Spicy greens (I've made this with both arugula and mustard greens!) are turned into a bright green pesto for the top layer - packed with bright flavor and brilliantly colorful.
I think that this time of year, when (in Michigan at least!) the ground hasn't yet sprung to life and the trees remain leafless, finding the foods that can bring us a bright dose of color is SO important. With a great supply of hoophouse-grown greens, this recipe can be made from 100% local ingredients, even this bleak time of year! If you live somewhere a little luckier in the arrival of spring department, think of this as a way to celebrate the colorful world around you!
Assembling this beauty is all about creating nice and even layers. Grab an offset spatula (you won't be sorry!) and spread those gorgeous colors gently over the noodles. It's just like frosting a cake... but so much healthier!
So soak in these gorgeous colors, cut yourself a big slice of lasagne, and settle into a meal shared with the people you love most. For this is the type of dish that was designed to be shared with friends, served with a big salad and a glass of wine, and enjoyed with an evening of engaging conversation and laughter.
Rainbow Veggie Lasagne
4 large beets
8 medium carrots
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup white wine
stock (vegetable or chicken) or milk to thin the puree
2 Tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
salt & pepper
1/2 cup shelled pistachios, cashews, or almonds
1/2 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
5 oz arugula, mustard, or another spicy green
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
6 Tbsp butter
6 Tbsp flour
3 cups whole milk (ideally warmed slightly)
1 Tbsp coarsely ground pepper
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 tsp salt
1 recipe homemade pasta OR 1 box lasagne noodles
2 cups grated parmesan
2 cloves garlic, minced
Vegetable Puree Fillings
- Peel and chop the beets and carrots into a large dice. The smaller you chop them, the faster they'll cook. With the beets on one pan and the carrots on another, drizzle them with a bit of olive or vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat with oil.
- Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until soft.
- While the veggies are baking, sauté onion over medium heat with a little oil or butter. When they're translucent and just starting to brown, add the garlic and continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes. Stir often throughout the process. When the onions are starting to look caramelized, add the white wine and use the liquid to scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan (this is called deglazing, and makes sure all that great flavor comes off the pan!). Set aside.
- In a blender or food processor, puree beets, 1 Tbsp thyme, half of the onion and garlic mixture, salt and pepper to taste, and as much stock or milk as you need to not overwork your machine.
- Clean the bowl/pitcher and repeat the process with the carrots.
- Set the fillings aside.
- In a food processor or blender, puree nuts, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt until the nuts are in very small pieces.
- Add about half of the greens to start, blending until they're mostly broken down. Then add the rest of the greens and the parmesan cheese and puree until all the greens are incorporated.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, start by melting the butter. Once melted, add the flour and immediately start whisking until it's fully incorporated. Let the mixture cook for about 30 seconds, then slowly pour in the milk while whisking. Continue whisking to thoroughly combine the milk and the butter mixture.
- Add the pepper, thyme, and salt.
- Continue cooking for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened.
- Remove from heat and move on to assembling your lasagne right away.
Assembly and Baking
- Now it's time to layer it all up! The dish I used is 7x10, but a 9x9 square would work great as well.
- I always make my lasagne with freshly made pasta, taking it straight from the pasta roller to the pan, but you can also make this recipe with par-boiled lasagne noodles from the store. I rolled my noodles to #6 on my Kitchenaid pasta roller, ensuring a thin pasta layer and that there would be enough for the whole pan!
- Start by pouring half of the cream sauce into the bottom of the dish, and spreading it evenly. Then we're going to create two layers of each filling, starting with the beets, and sprinkle in a little cheese with each one. So it goes like this: noodles, half the beet filling, a little cheese, noodles, repeat. Then half the carrot filling, a little cheese, noodles, repeat. Then half the pesto, a little cheese, noodles, repeat. Over the top layer of noodles, pour the second half of the cream sauce.
- Cover the lasagne with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes, until it's nice and bubbly.
- Remove from oven and remove the foil. Sprinkle a little more cheese on top, along with those last two cloves of minced garlic.
- Bump the heat up to 450, and bake for another 10 minutes, until the top is golden.