Vegetable Lasagna with Spinach and Mixed Greens

Although I liked the batch of greens that I cooked up a couple of weeks ago, there are limits to how many greens that I can eat.  I received collard greens in my TaylOrganic Farms vegetable box two weeks in a row, so I was looking for something a little different to do with them.  My turnips and radishes were also delivered with greens attached, and since I haven’t yet used them in a salad, I decided I should use them, too.

Since I’ve been stepping up my running, so I’ve been trying to increase my carbs and I thought about making lasagna with a variety of greens.  While I used collards as my main green, you can use whatever greens you prefer – the amount of greens doesn’t have to be exact, either.  I had a lot on hand, so I used a lot. If I didn’t have as much on hand, you can substitute or just use less. When cooking your greens, start with the thickest, toughest green first, then gradually add the others. (So I cooked my collards for a while first, and added baby spinach last.)

I have to admit that I’ve never made a batch of lasagna with fresh ingredients in my life.  The only recipe I’ve ever used came from a Campbell’s soup cookbook, and while it tastes good it’s made with condensed cream of mushroom soup, frozen spinach, jarred spaghetti sauce, and the like. What I wanted was to make lasagna that used only fresh, natural ingredients to the extent possible. (In the middle of winter, I do make a concession and use canned tomatoes for my pasta sauce, but I do use only organic.)

This is a relatively time-consuming recipe – the sauce and greens both take a while to cook, and then the lasagna has to bake. But I’m also not good at multi-tasking in the kitchen so it’s quite possible to make this more quickly than I was able to.

For the sauce, add to a large saucepan:

  • 1 tsp. olive oil

When the oil is shimmering add:

  • 1 large onion, diced (I used a red onion, but any color is fine)

Sautee the onion about 5 minutes, then add:

  • 29-oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (I like Muir Glen)
  • 29-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

Cook until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes.  Using an immersion blender, puree it slightly – the sauce should still be a little chunky (though you can make it smoother if you like). If you don’t have an immersion (stick) blender, you can work in batches using a standard blender. Set aside.

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, or using an immersion blender, blend until smooth:

  • 16-oz. low-fat cottage cheese
  • 16-oz. ricotta cheese (when buying ricotta, pay attention to the ingredients – the best-tasting ricotta will not have stabilizers added.)
  • 1-oz. pecorino romano cheese, grated (this cheese has a pretty strong flavor so you really don’t need much of it.)

In the meantime, in a large dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil until shimmering, then add:

  • 1 large onion, diced (I used red onion for this, also)

Cook for about 5 minutes until it starts to get tender, then add:

  • 1 pound collard greens, stems removed, sliced thin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

Sautee the greens for 15-20 minutes, adding vegetable (or chicken) broth to keep from sticking as needed. When the collards are getting pretty tender, add your other greens. I used:

  • one bunch radish greens (from about 5 radishes)
  • one bunch turnip greens (from about 4 turnips)
  • one 10-oz. bag baby spinach

Sautee until all of the greens are very tender and all liquid is absorbed.  Drain well. (This is important so that your lasagna isn’t watery – I didn’t drain my greens well and while the lasagna tasted good it was more watery than I prefer.) Stir into the ricotta mixture.

Wipe the dutch oven clean, then add another 1 Tbsp. olive oil, then add:

  • 1 pound baby bella mushrooms, sliced (white button mushrooms would work well, also)

Sautee until the mushrooms are tender and all liquid is absorbed.  Stir into the greens and ricotta mixture.

Finally, cook 9 lasagna noodles according to package directions.  I used brown-rice noodles, but you can use whatever kind you prefer.

To assemble, use a large lasagna pan and layer as follows:

  • 1/3 of tomato sauce
  • 3 noodles
  • 1/2 of ricotta-greens mixture
  • 1/3 of tomato sauce
  • fresh mozzarella cut into thin slices (I used small mozzarella balls that I had in the fridge, but any type is fine), dotted over the sauce
  • 3 noodles
  • remaining ricotta mixture
  • fresh mozzarella
  • 3 noodles
  • remaining sauce

Cover with foil, place in a pre-heated 375-degree oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, then top with:

  • mozzarella cheese – dotted across the top
  • freshly-grated pecorino romano cheese

Return to oven and bake uncovered for about 10 more minutes, until the cheese is melted.  Let stand for at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

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One Response to Vegetable Lasagna with Spinach and Mixed Greens

  1. Jessica says:

    Sounds so delicious, you have me wanting to make lasagna very soon.

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