Creamy and full of leafy green veggies, this vegetarian lasagna and delicious and easy to make. It will easily make a favorite weeknight dinner recipe!
I’m not entirely sure when it started, but part of my daily weekday routine has become to start preparing for dinner around 5:00. I do my best to get Eve situated with ample warnings that I will be getting dinner ready, and periodically she will let me cook without crying. While I’ll admit it does break my heart to hear her so upset, we do spend our entire days together nearly every day, and I want her to have the skillset to be able to entertain herself through books, toys, and art supplies. While I recognize that she is still a bit young to do many things by herself, I do know that she has the ability to play by herself, though at this point it seems to be rather reluctantly.
Admittedly, after a long day running around, playing with Eve and taking her to activities, and getting work done, I really relish that time alone at the end of the day in the kitchen. Plus, as a very active toddler who often wants to be by my side, I worry about Eve getting hurt. While I want to encourage creativity in her and I see cooking as an extension of that, I try to have her help me in the kitchen at other times of the day. Five o’clock is my time. It is my time to unwind, to get the kitchen which is inevitably a mess with dishes piled everywhere back in order, and to use my hands to create.
Due to said toddler who often displays her displeasure that she is not right by my side, I’m a big fan of making dinners that are easy to assemble and leave enough leftovers to get you through at least a couple more meals. I find lasagna to be pretty much fit both criteria. The one I do is a tad more labor intensive than say, my lentil stew, but that’s mostly because instead of using bottled pasta sauce I make my own.
The best part about making lasagna? You basically have all your food groups covered! Mine includes some sort of leafy green, depending on what I have in the freezer (which lately seems to be spinach). (And now that Eve seems to generally avoid the vegetables on her plate, this is a great way to get them in!)
While this particular recipe is a vegetarian lasagna, I have been known to make mine with meat as well. It’s super creamy and reheats really well, which is perfect for lunch since Eve and I are often out and about in the morning right until lunch time.
- Olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cans low salt chopped tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1-2 Tablespoons Italian spices (I use a blend of oregano, marjoram, thyme, basil)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 bag frozen leafy greens defrosted
- No-boil lasagna noodles
- 1 egg
- 16 oz. ricotta
- 3 oz. shredded parmesan cheese
- Half a bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
2. Chop the onions and the mince the garlic. Heat the olive oil on a large skillet at low. When it’s hot, add in the onions. Cook them for about 20 minutes. You want them to be clear and slightly browned, but not burned. (Inevitably I wait too late to start making my lasagna and I have to rush through the onion part). Add in the garlic and cook for a few more minutes before the garlic is browned.
3. Add in the cans of tomatoes, the Italian spices, and some pepper, stirring all the ingredients together. Simmer for about 5 minutes, then taste. If you find that it tastes too acidic, add in the sugar. (If you really have time to caramelize the onions and don’t wait until too late like I do, that might add sufficient sweetness to balance the acidity without the sugar. I have yet to find out from personal experience!)
At this point I like to let it simmer for a bit while I prepare the cheese filling. (See how technical I am with my recipes?)
4. Mix the ricotta, parmesan, and eggs in a bowl.
5. In a 8 x 8 baking dish, spoon a little bit of the sauce on the bottom. Perhaps you already know this, but I have only discovered this through trial and error that the trick to having lasagna noodles that are soft and not crunchy is a layer of sauce touching at least one size. So easy!
6. Stir the leafy greens into the sauce and season with salt and more pepper if needed.
7. Now it’s time to assemble! Lay down the lasagna noodles over the sauce, overlapping a bit if necessary. Spoon on 1/3 of the cheese, followed by about 1/4 of the sauce. Do this two more times so you have three layers of noodles + cheese + sauce. Put on one last layer of noodles, the rest of the sauce, and sprinkle the top generously with the shreded mozorella cheese.
8. Cover the pan with tinfoil and bake for about 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for another 10 or so until the cheese on top is completely melted.
Seriously, how creamy and amazing does that look? I’ve started making this a couple times a month and I really wish I had some right now.
Looking for other delicious dinner recipes? Check out my Pinterest board for more ideas!