Three things happened to make this the perfect recipe for me to make over the weekend. The first thing actually happened a few months ago when my 19 year old daughter announced that she was a vegetarian. It was really no surprise, although I have seen her wolf down an order or two of chicken nuggets. She has always preferred veggies, even when she was little, dipping her carrots in ranch dressing. Sounds a little like a Hidden Valley Ranch commercial, n’est pas? At any rate, it’s not a huge deal for me, except that now I was on the lookout for vegetarian recipes.
The second thing happened when my friend, Michelle Cadieux Tibbs, posted a pumpkin lasagna recipe on FaceBook. Her mouthwatering description of it on her status update prompted a comment from me and she was nice enough to provide me with the details.
Interestingly, the lasagna recipe was made in a crock pot, which brings me to the third thing: I won a brand new digital crock pot from the lovely Liz Brooks over at Examiner.com. It arrived just about the same time I printed out the recipe! Karma. It had to be made.
Isn't it a beauty?
Truth be told, the original recipe was called Chèvre & Pumpkin Lasagna (chèvre being goat cheese, for the uninformed). My daughter might have tried goat cheese, but I knew my husband wouldn’t go for it, so that was my one modification. Here is the recipe as written:
Chèvre Pumpkin Lasagna
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 large onions, halved and cut into thin slices
4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
¾ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
1 teaspoon dried ground sage
1 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon flour
1 ½ cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, divided
1 can (15 oz) 100% pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
¼ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/3 cup finely chopped pine nuts
¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided
12 lasagna noodles, cooked and cooled in cold water
8 oz fresh chèvre, broken into small pieces (I used ricotta cheese)
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Yum--I love onions.
I mixed the flour and spices in a cup first.
This is where I started whifting the smell up with my hands like they do on the Food Network.
Mix the pumpkin, eggs, breadcrumbs, pine nuts, 1/2 cup parmesan, and the remaining parsley, and garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium mixing bowl.
Coat the interior of the crock of a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Spoon a fourth of the onion mixture over the bottom of the crock, top with 3 lasagna noodles, a third of the pumpkin mixture, and a third of the chèvre.
Spoon a third of the remaining onion mixture over the chèvre, top with 3 more noodles, half the remaining pumpkin, and half the remaining chèvre. Spoon half the remaining onion mixture over the chèvre, top with 3 more noodles, the remaining pumpkin, the remaining chèvre, and the remaining onion mixture. Top with 3 remaining noodles. Cover the crock with 2 kitchen towels and the lid. Cook for 3 to 4 hours on low. When the lasagna is done, the edges will be browned and the center will be barley set.
Top with the remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and cover until melted, about 1 minute. Remove the crock from the cooker and let rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Cut into 8 portions and serve.
Now here is where I goofed up. This new crock pot is awesome because it is digital--you can set the time and it will switch over to the warm mode when the time runs out. Well, the instructions call for 3-4 hours on "low" and this crockpot switches to "high" if you go under 7 hours. Of course, instead of just keeping it at 7 hours and manually turning it off after 4, I set it on high. The result was some pretty burned edges. Really, though, it didn't matter---it turned out fantastic! Both my husband and my daughter raved.