This recipe came about after managing to score a package of spinach lasagna noodles at the grocery store. Some days you just get lucky in Quito!
I didn't want to "waste" them on regular lasagna that is heavy and can't be saved into seeming healthy simply by using green noodles. So it was time to put to use a recipe that I'd been avoiding for some time. It was a delicious recipe but one that seemed finicky and like lots of work. Maybe because last time I made individual lasagna wrap-ups it WAS a lot of work.
But I decided to go for it. And then I guess I decided not to. Because I took all those yummy ingredients and turned them straight back into a 9x13 old school lasagna - but with all the bright, fun, healthy flavors of the original recipe. And truth be told I'd do it again in an instant because it was both delicious and easy.
And nobody cried that these weren't cute little wrap-ups. Instead they asked for seconds.
Portabella and Spinach Vegetarian Lasagna
Adapted from The Cozy Apron
4 medium portobello mushrooms (stems and gills removed), each sliced into 9 slices
22 ounces ricotta cheese (about one and a half 15 ounce containers)
3 ½ cups shredded mozzarella, divided use
4 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped, divided use
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce (recipe below)
12 spinach lasagna noodles, cooked
2 cups, packed, baby spinach leaves
Preheat the oven to 350°, and set aside a large baking/casserole dish (13 x 9)
Place a large, non-stick pan over medium-high heat, and add about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil; once the oil is hot, add in about half of the portabella slices along with a pinch of salt and black pepper, and briefly saute them for about 2 minutes, just until barely softened (they will finish cooking in the oven); turn the slices out onto a plate to hold, and repeat the process with the remaining portabella slices; set the portabella slices aside for a few moments.
Next, in a small bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella, 2 tablespoons of the chopped parsley, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper, and set aside for a moment.
-To assemble, begin by adding about 1 ½ cups of the Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce to the bottom of the baking/casserole dish. Next, place 4 cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of the pan; add 1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture to the lasagna noodle, 1/2 of the portabellas and half the spinach. Repeat with another layer. Add the last 4 noodles to the top, liberally add more of the tomato sauce and then top with the remaining mozzarella cheese
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is gooey and melted; to finish, sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley over top, and serve immediately while hot.
Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, quartered and sliced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon dry oregano
Pinch red pepper flakes
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
¼ cup white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 (14.5 ounce) cans organic fire-roasted tomatoes with juice
1 (15 ounce) organic tomato sauce
2 teaspoons salt
Place a large, heavy-bottom pan or pot over medium-high heat, and add the olive oil; once the oil is hot, add the sliced onion, the Italian seasoning, the black pepper, the oregano and the red pepper flakes, and saute them together for about 10-12 minutes, or until the onion slices are lightly golden; next, add in the garlic and stir, and once it becomes aromatic, add in the white wine and reduce for about 30 seconds; next, add in the tomato paste and stir, cooking it for a moment or two to cook out the raw flavor; finally, add in the fire-roasted tomatoes and the tomato sauce, plus the salt, and gently stir to combine; gently simmer the sauce for about 20 minutes, uncovered; use while hot, or allow it to cool completely, and keep in the fridge until ready to use.