Food photography is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to learn. I try to take nice pictures; sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t. One of the things you realize almost immediately when writing a food blog is that pictures can make or break your blog. People want to see big gorgeous pictures of scrumptious looking food. I’ve read a lot about lighting and composition over the last year, and I’ve tried to implement some of the things I’ve learned. I think what it comes down to in the end is talent and practice.
Every time I’ve seen a picture of lasagna in a magazine it’s had perfectly even layers, with the ruffled noodles poking out just so. My lasagna didn’t look like that. I’m pretty sure I cut off the ruffles while slicing the pieces, and my sauce and cheese layers kind of melded together. It tasted incredible, but it was incredibly difficult to photograph. My experience made me wonder if all the lasagna I’ve seen in magazines was ever actually baked.
I still have a lot to learn when it comes to food photography and styling, but when it comes to taste I think I know what I’m doing. This was the first time I tried making a vegetarian lasagna. I wanted it to be pretty packed with vegetables to make up for the absence of meat. The sauce has zucchini and mushrooms, and the cheese lmixture has spinach. I was a little nervous about leaving out the meat, but the four kinds of cheese and tons of veggies were very satisfying. I couldn’t even tell that I had used low fat cheese.
- 9 Whole Wheat Lasagna Sheets
- Olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 zucchini, diced
- 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 cup low-fat ricotta
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1 egg
- 1 packaged frozen spinach, thawed and liquid squeezed out
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup shredded gouda
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- Follow package instructions for noodles.
- In a large pan over medium high heat, heat the oil then sautee the onions for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, cook until fragrant.
- Stir in the zucchini and mushrooms, cook until the zucchini starts to brown. Pour in the red wine. Scrape up any brown bits at the bottom of the pan, then add the tomatoes. Season with salt pepper and spices. Let simmer 20-30 minutes.
- While the sauce is simmering, put together the cheese layer. In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, yogurt and egg together. Stir in half the mozzarella and gouda, as well as the spinach.
- Once the sauce has cooked assemble the lasagna. Pour a bit of the sauce in the bottom of a large glass baking dish. Top with three sheets of lasagna. Pour half of the ricotta mixture over the lasagna sheets, top with a third of the remaining sauce. Place three more of the lasagna sheets, topped with the remaining ricotta mixture and another third of the sauce. Place the final lasagna sheets, topped with the remaining sauce, then cover with the remaining mozzarella, gouda and parmesan.
- Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more until the cheese is golden.
- Let set for 10 minutes before serving.
21 thoughts on “Vegetarian Lasagna”
I, for one, think the pics looks great. Real food is messy and gooey and tasty, and I think the pictures should reflect that.
If everything looks perfect, I get a little creeped out.
Anyways, looks like a tasty recipe – I’ll have to give a shot!
Healthyandlazy is right – this looks like one amazing dish that’s bound to be ooey and gooey in all the right ways.
I LOVE the browned cheesey topping on your lasagna! No one would ever miss the meat in this one! You are most likely right about photographing uncooked lasagna….they most likely just broil the top!!
Rea food does look like this and this look amazing!
For my lasagne photo (http://www.mangiodasola.com/2010/02/lasagne-al-ragu.html), I waited until the next day and took photos of a refrigerated slice and put some sauce around it. Aside from color balance issues (I didn’t know about that stuff then haha), the photo came out nicely enough and wasn’t messy. You should try that next time. HOWEVER, I think your photo looks great. The slice of lasagne is so tempting.
I think your picture looks fabulous! Personally, that’s what I’d want my lasagna to look like in front of me if I were to be eating it! =)
I am no expert at food photography … but I am an expert at eating yummy food and this lasagna looks amazing! (That’s my expert opinion! :D)
I think we are all learning food photography in our own ways. One thing that helped me was looking at pictures of food that I really loved and trying to recreate that same “feel”. Still practicing : j Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe!
I am quite certain that those pics of lasagne on magazine covers are all styled and not actually fully cooked! I could never get my stuff to look like that. But to me, your lasagne looks fabulous! ANd real, which is always good.
Your pictures look great! That’s what real lasagna looks like. I’ve been meaning to make a bunch of lasagnas to freeze; this looks like the perfect recipe to use.
Your picture is making me hungry (mission accomplished?) :)
Fantastic! Love it! Was looking for a few veggie recipes for Lent! Thanks!
Cute post! and the lasagna looks delicious!
You are SO right… I consider myself a darn good photographer. Heck, I’ve even sold some landscapes. However… I quickly found out that food photography and landscape photography are two wholly different worlds. I’ve struggled more with this food photography than I have with anything. I’m not very good at styling which is why I do a lot of close ups, it doesn’t show the whole plate and people don’t know that I really have no style!
I also found that desserts are far easier to photograph than dinner… hence many of my desserts make it to the blog while my dinner goes unphotographed, though it was so worth posting.
Your lasagna is nicely done, nicely lit and styled. I’ll take seconds, please!! One day maybe I’ll get a lasagna photo as good as yours…
Oh my goodness, that sounds (and looks!!!!) incredibly delicious!!
Great blog; happy I found you!
That Lasagna looks delicious! Honestly I sometimes wonder if the food in recipe books is actually real and at times it looks all to polished to me. Your lasagne just looks super melty and juicy… makes you want to dig right in :-)
I love your blog! Keep up the good work!
I live in a north-facing condo with absolutely no natural light, so I have serious issues with photographing my food. I’ve recently started taking them on the balcony and that seems to be helping, but sometimes I’m not done cooking until it’s dusk and then the lighting sucks there to. Have been considering making a lightbox. How do you get good lighting? Shoot near a window?
I have a lot of light in my condo. I do move the table as close to the patio door as I can, and I only take pictures during the day. I’ve thought about using a lightbox too. If you try it let me know how it goes!
Forget food photography for a momemt. This was the first vegetarian lasagna I have ever prepared. So I was a bit apprehensive. It was left on the stove top after we all had dinner and what was a third of tray left vanished. The browned cheese topping was KILLER! Sorry the only picture available would have been that empty tray!
What size can of diced tomatoes?
just made this tonight..followed your directions, except added my own homemade marinara.
thank you! delicious