Vegetarian Lasagna

I have taken a hiatus from posting to enjoy the holidays and get back into the routine of the new year. I would like to wish everyone who follows my blog a very Happy New Year! Your support and precious time reading are a motivation for me to continue sharing my healthy recipes!

I was able to catch up on some reading during my time away from work during the holiday season. It seems that everyone is advertising their new years resolutions and things they plan to change for 2013. Personally, I don’t believe in new years resolutions because they usually involve dramatic changes in your daily life and, for me, that’s not always realistic. I prefer to make small changes that over time make a big difference.

Since many are getting the habit of following the “Meatless Mondays” philosophy I wanted to share this recipe with you. For several years my husband and I did not eat meat and my recipes became more creative (and delicious). I also found that we were eating many more fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Going meatless for one (or more) days during the week will force you to look up new recipes and try something new! Nothing is worse than getting in the rut of making the same couple recipes for dinner over and over! Going meatless will also give you positive health benefits such as increased nutrient intake, lower cholesterol in your meals, and sometimes even fewer calories overall! Going meatless doesn’t have to be boring or tasteless; explore your favorite cooking website for foods from different areas of the world and be creative. Sometimes the strangest combinations give the best culinary rewards!

This lasagna recipe has been a tried and true favorite in my family and it is so easy to make! It is a great make-ahead meal for a busy week, a pot-luck, or to give to a friend. Serve this casserole with a big green salad for a well rounded vegetarian meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 package oven-ready lasagna noodles
  • 1 (10 oz.) package chopped frozen spinach, thawed and excess liquid squeezed out
  • 8 oz low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 c. Italian blend shredded cheese (or mozzarella)
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1-2 jars tomato basil pasta sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl add ricotta cheese, chopped spinach, 1 c. Italian blend cheese, 1/4 c. grated Parmesan, egg, chopped herbs, oregano, and salt/pepper. Mix together until well combined; you will be able to see the flecks of green spinach running all through your filling mixture.

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In a large, deep casserole dish (9×13) place 1/2 c. or so pasta sauce and layer your first set of lasagna noodles. Usually I fit 3-4 across depending on the size of the dish. Break the pieces to fit if necessary. Next add 1/2 the ricotta mixture and spread into a thin, even layer.

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Top with a thin layer of tomato basil sauce and your next layer of noodles; you need the extra layers of sauce to make sure there is enough moisture to cook your noodles in the oven. Spread the other 1/2 of the ricotta mixture on the noodles, more sauce, and another layer of noodles. Finally you are ready for your last layer of sauce; sprinkle the remaining Italian cheese and Parmesan on top.

Looks good already!
Looks good already!

Cover with tin foil and bake for 1 hour until the lasagna is hot all the way through; you can remove the foil for the last 15 minutes to brown the cheese on top, if desired. I apologize I don’t have a photo of the finished product, but I assure you it was hot, bubbly, melty (my own invention), and very inviting (you will see when you remove your lasagna from the oven).  Enjoy your very satisfying vegetarian dinner!

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