Green Veggie Lasagna with Spinach Pesto
I’m what you’d call a “mixer”—give me a big bowl of different ingredients or a casserole layered with all sorts of stuff, and I’m all set. My husband, on the other hand, straight up eats his sandwich from top to bottom; first piece of bread, followed by all the toppings, then the other piece of bread. It’s a sight worth seeing, let me tell you.
Despite his abhorrence of mixing foods together, he actually loves lasagna! I’ve shared a couple of tasty recipes with you before, including my Customizable Mini Lasagnas and Spinach & Mushroom Pesto Lasagna.
As I was planning meals the other week, I started to think about how I could make a lasagna that’s as healthy as possible. In my mind, that lasagna would include lots of green veggies; this recipe does just that, “sneaking” cups of spinach into the basil-laden pesto. Broccoli and peas, along with sautéed mushrooms and onions, bring this flavorful lasagna together. So skip the guilt and dig in!
INGREDIENTS - PESTO
2 1/2 c. basil
3 1/2 c. fresh spinach
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 T. water
1/3 c. shredded parmesan
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 T. olive oil
Juice of half a lime
1 T. white wine vinegar
Lots of pepper
15 oz. ricotta cheese
4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 box of lasagna noodles (see note in step 4)
2 heads broccoli, chopped into florets
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 t. Italian seasoning
1 bag of frozen peas
1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Add the chopped broccoli to a pan, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss well to coat. Cook for 15 minutes, toss, then cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
2) Place all pesto ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
3) Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the yellow onion, garlic, mushrooms and Italian seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally, until you’ve sweat the moisture out of the onions and they’ve become translucent.
4) Note: there’s not enough moisture in the sauce for “no boil” lasagna noodles (like Explore Cuisine’s Green Lentil Lasagna Noodles, which is what we bought) to cook thoroughly. You’ll want to soften the noodles in boiling water before layering in the lasagna. Be sure to only insert one noodle at a time (use tongs to remove) or the noodles will stick together. Otherwise, use traditional noodles that require boiling.
5) Cook the frozen peas according to package directions and drain. At this point, the broccoli has likely cooled enough to chop it more finely (this helps to maintain smooth layers in the lasagna), so go ahead and do so.
6) Add a bit of the pesto into the bottom of a 9 in. x 13 in. glass dish and spread evenly to cover. Cover the bottom of the dish with a layer of lasagna noodles, then add dollops of ricotta cheese. Add half of the mushroom/onion/garlic mixture, half of the broccoli and half of the peas. Use a wooden spoon to spread the veggies evenly and press down the dollops of ricotta. Pour on a bit more sauce.
7) Add another layer of lasagna noodles and repeat the process above.
8) Add the final layer of lasagna noodles and drizzle with the remaining sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
9) Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella cheese. Cover with the foil again and bake for 10 minutes.
10) Remove the dish from the oven, remove the foil, then place back in the oven and cook for 10 more minutes uncovered. Allow to cool before serving.