Vegetarian Mushroom and Spinach Lasagne

vegetarian mushroom lasagne

You're a vegetarian, guests are coming over for dinner, and you know that at least one of those diners is an avid carnivore — the fuss and fidgeting begins as you start in on a meal plan. I think most longtime vegetarians have come across that nagging question posed by meat enthusiasts: just what do you eat anyway? Visions of bland salads and blocks of tofu dance uncomfortably in the minds of the skeptical. Of course, a cook wants everyone to come to the table excited and leave it satisfied.

vegetarian lasagna

Bring in this lush vegetable and mushroom lasagne. One of the earliest one-dish meals that I perfected shortly after becoming a vegetarian, the staunchest meat lovers surely wouldn't throw away their forks in frustration — unless of course, they detest succulent mushrooms in a rich and zesty fresh tomato sauce and generous slices of cheese tucked into delectable sheets of pasta noodles. It's been a classic to serve up for a long time and I've perfected the dish over the years to make it even more tempting with additional layers of flavors.

Light and creamy ricotta pairs well with the more robust and earthy textures and flavors present in this dish resulting in a sumptuous meal with a balanced elegance.

vegetarian lasagna

I can attest that everyone I have served this lasagne to has never left the table with a grimace on their face and usually second helpings are in demand. Happy diners and a happy cook.

I served it up with classic Southern-style buttermilk biscuits.


Vegetarian Mushroom and Spinach LasagneVegetarian Mushroom and Spinach Lasagne
Recipe by
Cuisine: Italian
Published on October 8, 2013

Classic, rich and sumptuous lasagne with creamy ricotta cheese, spinach and a zesty homemade tomato mushroom sauce

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Sauce:
  • 5 to 6 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 oz (14 g) dried wild mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
  • 2 to 3 fresh chilies or jalapeƱos, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 cups white or cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 6 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 5 1/2 oz (160 mL) can tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil (2 teaspoons dried)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano (2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • generous amount of fresh cracked black pepper
Lasagne:
  • 4 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 9 to 10 sheets fresh or dry lasagne noodles
  • 1 2/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)
  • 9 oz (250 g) fontina or mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions:
  • Soak the sun-dried tomatoes and dried mushrooms in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes, then drain and chop.

  • To prepare the sauce, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Toss in the garlic and chilies or jalapeƱos, and continue to stir for 2 minutes. Add the ground cumin and cayenne, stir a few times to coat the vegetables, and add the fresh and dried mushrooms to the pan. Cook, stirring often, for a few minutes.

  • Now add the fresh and sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, thyme, salt and black pepper. Simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, until thickened — about 10 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, lightly grease a 9 × 13 inch glass baking dish. Set aside.

  • Begin preparing the lasagne by boiling the spinach in water for just a few minutes until wilted. Drain thoroughly, squeezing out the excess water.

  • If using dried lasagna, cook until al dente according to package instructions in a large pot of salted water. Drain and rinse under cold water and set aside. (If using fresh pasta, there is no need to pre-cook.)

  • In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta, parsley and egg if using.

  • To assemble the lasagne, spread about 2/3 cup of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Arrange half of the noodles over the sauce, and then spread half of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Follow this with half of the spinach, half of the remaining tomato sauce, and then half of the sliced fontina or mozzarella cheese. Repeat from the noodle layer. Sprinkle the top with the Parmesan cheese.

  • Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 30 to 40 minutes until thickened and nicely browned on top. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

vegetarian mushroom and spinach lasagne

If you enjoy this dish, surely you won't want to miss out on these other pasta delights:
Ricotta Pesto & Mushroom Lasagne
Penne with Ricotta, Parmesan and Tomatoes
Vegetarian Mushroom Bourguignon
Linguine with Pea-Basil Pesto and Mushrooms

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Audio Accompaniment: Marsen Jules

4 comments:

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

That looks heavenly Lisa. I just want a slice right now. That's what's frustrating about food blogs sometimes. *bookmark*

Amy said...

Sounds delicious! I wish my kids liked mushrooms...maybe someday...

Stephanie said...

What biscuits did you serve with the lasagna? Thanks. Peace, Stephanie

Lisa Turner said...

These southern-style biscuits. I just posted the recipe now:
http://foodandspice.blogspot.ca/2013/10/classic-southern-style-buttermilk.html