The end of summer is here and has us reliving fun moments from our vacations and summer travels. Perfect timing as the Recipe Redux theme for the month is a healthy version of a vacation-inspired recipe.
We have both had some great vacations with our families this summer so it was hard to narrow it down. In the end we choose an inspiration from Ann’s beach trip and a rare dinner we shared together at the start of the summer. Both were at vegetarian restaurants, which serve up creative, flavorful dishes.
While we aren’t vegetarians per se, we certainly enjoy vegetarian meals weekly. We always include at least one vegetarian meal in our weekly menu plans (both at home and on this site). We like to vary our protein from both animal and plant sources as part of our overall diet. So whenever we get the chance to eat a vegetarian meal out, we do!
Ann’s family spent a week at St. George Island this summer and on the way to the beach, they happened to find a great little vegetarian restaurant in Columbus, Georgia called Country Life Natural Store and Vegetarian Restaurant. Actually, Ann’s husband found it – he loves to find out of the way, unique places to eat on road trips. It was a terrific meal that even the kids enjoyed. It was cafeteria style where they had featured selections to choose from or order from a limited menu. We chose a variety of their featured entrees, one was a great pasta dish full of veggies that was reminiscent of a great lasagna, just the right balance of sauce, veggies and noodles.
It reminded Ann of the meal she had shared with Lesley at the start of summer. Although we work together almost daily and share lunch at Lesley’s house, it is rare we actually eat out together. We had just finished a menu planning class at a bariatric clinic and since both of our hubby’s were covering the kids that night we decided to seize the opportunity and actually have dinner (and a glass of wine). We chose Cafe Sunflower, which is a long standing vegetarian restaurant in Atlanta. We ended up sharing entrees since neither of use could quite decide. One of which was a vegetarian lasagna that was layered with all kinds of vegetables and a cashew cream that was delicious.
So when this month’s challenge came around, and we reminisced on the summer, we couldn’t get the vegetarian lasagna out of our heads. Lasagna is one of Ann’s favorite foods – it is hard for me to pass it up as it just oozes comforting goodness. I’ll eat it in just about any form, though I must admit, I still love using noodles as part of it. I can’t quite get on board with the low carb craze of using zucchini ribbons in place of the noodles. I want the noodles as well as all of the veggies! And this lasagna does just that. It is pretty heavy on spinach, so you could cut it back a bit if you wanted and still have a great lasagna. Cheese can also be added on top if you aren’t vegan though I must admit that I was surprised I didn’t even miss it. And because this makes a lot, you can freeze extra servings to thaw and reheat later for a quick lunch or dinner. Even better!