Noodling with noodles

As you might know, I enjoy cooking easy one-dish meals baked in my toaster oven (previous posts include Casserole Season Is Here and Crazy Mixed-Up Casseroles). What I love about this preparation process is that all of the active time is up front, and I can relax or do something else while the dish is cooking.

With autumn in the air, I’ve been drawn to whole-wheat lasagna noodles. My noodle creations are simple because I add uncooked, regular (not no-boil) lasagna noodles to my casseroles. As long as I add a small amount of liquid (wine, broth, vinegar, water, etc.) or choose vegetables that give off juices (tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach or other greens, etc.), the noodles cook just fine with the rest of the ingredients.

My recent creations with layers of wide whole-wheat lasagna noodles:

  • Slices of potato, onion, shallot, cauliflower, and mushrooms; sunflower seeds; plenty of black pepper, ground chipotle chiles, and fresh parsley; with shaved Manchego cheese on top
  • Chopped green onions, zucchini, green pitted olives, sweet peppers, jalapeño chiles, golden beets, home-canned tomatoes with their juice, and fresh mozzarella on top

My usual process:

  • Slice and layer vegetables by type between the noodles -OR- chop vegetables into similar size pieces, mix together in a big bowl, and layer with the noodles.
  • Add flavorings:  pitted olives, capers, seeds, nuts, chiles, fresh and/or dried herbs, ground spices, and so on.
  • Make the top layer either noodles or potato slices.
  • Cover and bake at 375 for 35–45 minutes. Test with a fork to see if ingredients are soft. If not, return covered for 15 minutes and check again. If soft, uncover.
  • Add shredded cheese (or breadcrumbs for vegan) and return to oven until browned, about 10 minutes.
  • Let cool 10 minutes or so before serving.

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