Squash and Spinach Lasagna
Like most people, I love Italian food and loving Italian food, I love lasagna. However, over the years, I tired of making the same old lasagna recipes so about 7 or so years back, I started sampling some of the vegetable lasagnas and pasta recipes available at some restaurants. I was pleased to discover that I loved them! There is something so delicious about butternut squash and pasta that it has become one of my favorites. Add to that spinach in my book, and you have a winner.
I found these recipes years ago in a Cooking Light magazine and have kept them as my standards for vegetable lasagna. This one is particularly great for any vegetarians out there or if you are having trouble coming up with a pasta meal to serve catering to vegetarians. This recipe freezes like a dream (see below) and I have always gotten rave reviews on it. You can also substitute other squash similar to butternut in texture for a different taste but my favorite will always be butternut.
For yet another butternut squash recipe, try my butternut squash pizza recipe.Public Domain image
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cups chopped leek (about 4) – I substitute onion or shallots
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups (1/2-inch) cubed, peeled butternut squash
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water (or broth)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach – thawed, drained, squeezed dry (the video has a great idea on how to use fresh spinach)
3 tablespoons flour
2-1/2 cups skim milk
1/4 cup fat free cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Black pepper to taste
Rest of ingredients
1-1/4 cups mozzarella or combination shredded Italian cheeses
3/4 cup shredded sharp provolone cheese
12 cooked lasagna noodles
Fresh sage or fresh basil if desired
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with vegetable spray.
For filling, heat oil or use vegetable spray in a large nonstick skillet. Heat over medium heat. Add the leek or onions, sage, and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes.
Add squash, wine, water. Cover and cook for 20 minutes – or until squash is tender. Stir occasionally. Stir in pepper and spinach.
For the sauce, place four in a large saucepan and gradually stir in the milk – whisking until smooth and blended.
Place over medium heat and cook until thick (about 10 minutes – stir constantly to avoid burning.
Remove from heat – stir in the cream cheese, nutmeg, and more pepper to taste – stir with a whisk.
Combine the cheese shreds and provolone cheese, set aside.
Spread 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish. Place 3 lasagna noodles over the sauce.
Top with 2 cups of vegetable filling, 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture and 1/2 cup sauce.
Repeat these layers, ending with the last set of noodles.
Spread the remaining sauce over the noodles.
Cover and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
Uncover – sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese mixture and bake 10 more minutes.
Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
If desired, garnish with fresh herbs above.
This lasagna freezes like a dream – prepare through baking – only use a disposable lasagna pan with a lid. Apply lid after completely cooled. Wrap in freezer paper and secure with freezer tape.
When ready to use, simply thaw during the day in the refrigerator and pop into the oven at 250 or so degrees and heat through. Or cut and microwave individual slices.
It tastes as great from the freezer as freshly made!
Serve with French Bread or Wheat French Bread and a salad for a wonderful Italian feast! And for a light and delicious dessert, try Biscuit Tortoni.
Vegetables Are Good For You!
In short, lasagna isn’t just a meat dish any longer and the varieties of vegetable lasagnas are many and varied. This is one particular one that I have had great success with and that everyone really seems to love – even those folks who are tried and true meat lasagna lovers! There are many other pastas you can make with squash and spinach and I think you will find the subtle yet almost sweet taste of the butternut squash really makes a wonderful pasta dish.
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