Friday, September 5, 2008

Spinach Lasagna

This is my favorite lasagna ever! I don't love lasagnas with tons of meat; I think vegetables are a lot more interesting and flavorful (and healthy!). I use whole wheat lasagna for it. I know that sometimes you can tell if pasta is whole wheat or not, like in spaghetti dishes for example, but you will have no idea that these noodles are whole wheat.

9 dried whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (or more, if you love mushrooms like me!)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS butter
1 7-oz jar roasted sweet red peppers, drained and chopped. Don't you dare rinse those puppies! (I usually omit this since roasted red peppers are pretty expensive, but if you can buy's so worth it.)
1 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained--important!
1 15-oz container ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp dried basil, crushed
1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1 30 1/2-oz jar meatless spaghetti sauce (one with veggies already in it, like zucchini, is great!)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook lasagna noodles for 10-12 minutes (or according to package directions) till tender but still firm. Drain noodles; rinse with cold water. Drain well.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook onion, mushrooms, and garlic in hot butter till tender but not brown; stir in sweet peppers if using. Set aside.

Pat and squeeze spinach dry with paper towels. In a medium bowl stir together spinach, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, the 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, oregano, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Stir mushroom mixture into spinach mixture.

Spread 1/2 cup of the spaghetti sauce evenly in a 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles over sauce. Layer with half the mushroom-spinach mixture and 1 cup of the spaghetti sauce. Repeat layers, ending with noodles. Spoon remaining spaghetti sauce over the top. Sprinkle with the 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Bake, covered, in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake about 10 minutes more or till heated through. Let stand 10 minutes before serving to let everything set.


1 cup pitted black olives
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 tsp capers, drained
1 tsp olive oil
1 1/3 cups chopped tomatoes (2 medium)
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 TBS freshly snipped basil or oregano, or 1 tsp dried basil or oregano, crushed
1 TBS olive oil
1/8 tsp pepper
Loaf of French bread
2 TBS olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Ricotta cheese

For olive paste, in a food processor bowl or blender container combine olives, garlic, vinegar, capers, and the 1 tsp olive oil. Cover and process till a nearly smooth paste forms, stopping and scraping the sides as necessary.

For the tomato topping, in a small bowl stir together chopped tomatoes, green onions, basil or oregano, the 1 TSB olive oil, and pepper.

For the toast, cut bread into 1/2-inch thick slices. Use the 2 TBS olive oil to lightly brush both sides of each slice. Place on an ungreased, foil-lined baking sheet. Bake in a 425 degree oven about 5 minutes or till crisp and light brown, turning once.

To assemble, spread each piece of toast with a thin layer of ricotta cheese, then a thin layer of olive paste. Top each with about 2 TBS of the tomato topping and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Return slices to the baking sheet. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 2 to 3 minutes or till cheese starts to melt and toppings are heated through. Serve warm.