This is definitely a lightened up vegetarian lasagna that always tastes fresh even though it utilizes frozen and canned ingredients.
I have adapted the original recipe a bit from when I first made it because it used to take me forever. Also, I was not a fan of buying some of the more expensive ingredients that did not add to the flavor.
Spinach & Roasted Red Pepper Lasagna
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma
For the spicy tomato sauce:
- 1 tsp. freshly ground white or black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onion
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 can (28 oz.) whole plum tomatoes with juice
- 1 can (28 oz.) chopped tomatoes with juice
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 4 lb. frozen chopped spinach
- 2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 9 - 12 lasagna noodles (depending on size of baking dish)
- 3 roasted red bell peppers, jarred
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
1. To make the spicy tomato sauce, in a small bowl, stir together the pepper, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Set aside.
2. In a large Dutch oven or other deep, heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil.
3. Add the onion and sauté until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes.
4. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook the onion until it releases its juices, about 5 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic.
5. Add the plum tomatoes and their juice. Using a wooden spoon, break up the tomatoes into 1-inch chunks.
6. Add the chopped tomatoes and their juice and the tomato sauce, and then stir in the spice mixture. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the sauce to a boil.
7. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce has the thickness of tomato puree, 15 to 20 minutes.
8. Remove the sauce from the heat and use immediately, or let cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 2 months. Makes about 3 quarts. You need 8 cups for this recipe; reserve the rest for later.
9. Squeeze out moisture from thawed frozen spinach.
10. Mix the ricotta and egg whites and stir until well combined. Stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella, then stir in the salt and pepper.
11. Preheat an oven to 350°F.
12. To assemble the lasagna, cover the bottom of a 9-by-13-by-3-inch baking dish with 4 cups of the tomato sauce.
13. Arrange 3 - 4 of the noodles on top of the sauce.
14. Cover the noodles with half of the roasted bell peppers, cutting them as needed to lay flat. There will be spaces.
15. Cover the peppers with half of the spinach, pulling apart any clumps.
16. Sprinkle half of the minced garlic evenly over the spinach.
17. Gently spread the cheese mixture as much as possible without pulling up the spinach. There will be some spaces.
18. Top with another layer of the noodles, and then the remaining peppers, spinach, garlic and cheese mixture.
19. Cover with the remaining 3 noodles.
20. Spread the remaining 4 cups tomato sauce over the top. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.
21. Bake until the pasta is almost soft when tested with a knife, about 1 1/4 hours.
22. Uncover the lasagna. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella evenly over the top.
23. Replace the foil. Continue to bake until the pasta is soft and the cheese on top is melted, about 15 minutes more.
24. Remove from the oven, uncover and let the lasagna rest for 20 minutes. Cut into rectangles and serve. Serves 8 to 10.
25. When serving, I like to spoon over the leftover tomato sauce because I like that bright tomato taste!
Lastly, I have a tip to make things a bit quicker. The part of the recipe that takes the longest is making the sauce from scratch. You could use a jarred sauce, but this one is so amazing! What I like to do is double the sauce and freeze half. The next time I make the lasagna is super fast!
I hope you like my shortcuts and you will definitely love this lasagna!
What are your favorite kitchen shortcuts?