Fragrant and Cheesy Vegetable Lasagna

This is not your traditional lasagna, and I like it even better. It is layered with butternut squash, garlicky spinach, and nutmeg-scented ricotta. Add some browned mozzarella cheese on top, and I’m in heaven. I love this lasagna so much because it is interesting to eat. Every bite can be a little different depending on what you get on your fork. The nutmeg fragrances the entire dish and unites the different flavors, but it is not overwhelming at all. It is just enough to make me feel cozy. And somehow, despite all of the cheese, this lasagna is filling without ever bordering on heavy. I simplified this recipe as much as possible, but the flavors are anything but.

Start by peeling, cubing, and steaming half of a butternut squash. Put the cubes in a microwave safe pot with a little bit of water, cover the pot, and heat it for about 8 minutes or until the squash can be easily pierced with a fork.

While the squash steams, brown 2 minced garlic cloves in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add 5 big handfuls of baby spinach leaves to the pan, and stir them around until they wilt. If the spinach doesn’t fit in the pan all at once, just add a few handfuls at time until the spinach wilts and makes room for more. Season the spinach with salt and pepper.

While the spinach wilts, mix together 15 ounces of ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese, 1 egg, and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg. Lightly oil an 8×8 inch baking dish, and preheat your oven to 400ºF.

Open a large can of diced tomatoes, and spread 1/4 of the tomatoes in the bottom of the baking dish.

Top the tomatoes with a few no-cook lasagna noodles. I did two alternating layers of two noodles each for maximum coverage.

Spread half of the ricotta mixture over the noodles.

Top the cheese with an even layer of butternut squash. Season the squash with salt and pepper.

Top the squash with another 1/4 of the tomatoes. Then add another layer of noodles. You can push down on the noodles to maximize space in your baking dish. Top the noodles with the second half of the ricotta mixture. Then, spread the wilted spinach leaves on in a single layer.

Top the spinach with another 1/4 of the tomatoes. Add a layer of noodles. Push down on them if you like. Top the noodles with the last of the tomatoes. On top of the tomatoes, layer some sliced fresh mozzarella. Top the mozzarella with 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese.

Put the dish on a cookie sheet and bake the lasagna for 35 minutes until the cheese is golden brown. It will smell incredible.

Let the lasagna rest for about 10 minutes before you cut into it. A little squash here. A little spinach there. A little cheese everywhere. Any leftovers reheat perfectly in the microwave, which makes this lasagna the perfect weeknight plate of happiness.

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine.

Shopping List:

  • No bake lasagna noodles- about 12 noodles
  • Diced tomatoes- 1 large can
  • Whole milk ricotta- 15 ounces
  • Parmesan cheese- 1/2 cup grated
  • Fresh mozzarella- 1 log
  • Egg- 1
  • Nutmeg- 1/4 teaspoon
  • Butternut squash- 1/2
  • Baby spinach leaves- 5 handfuls
  • Garlic- 2 cloves
  • Olive oil- 1 tablespoon
  • Salt and pepper
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Fragrant and Cheesy Vegetable Lasagna — 2 Comments

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