My hubby is an extreme meat lover. I say extreme because he will try any meat and he will most likely like it. Now, he is not against vegetarian dishes – but whenever I have brought up a vegetarian lasagna in the past I always got the same response, “Lasagna should have meat in it.” It’s completely fair, the guy is willing to try anything I cook, and if he wants meat in his lasagna – I can do that.
Until now. Sorry babe.
When I saw this recipe at, The Other Side of 50, I knew I had to make it. I LOVE cheese, pesto, spinach and mushrooms – so of course I should love it! Hubby loves all those ingredients too – but would like to see them as a side to a big ol’ steak… haha.
So, I made this while he was at work and tried it before he got home – every good cook needs to taste test... It knocked my socks off, it is almost too good. (Is that even possible?) Then when Hubby got home he took a little, little slice to eat – if it had meat he would have piled it on his plate. He tried it… (drumroll)
His words, “This doesn’t have meat in it?”
Me: Nope. Do you like it?
Him: Yeah, this is really good for vegetarian lasagna. The best I have ever had.
Me: Yeah me too, I was thinking of adding chicken but I think it would ruin it.
Him: Meat never ruins anything.
Verdict? He liked it but would prefer meat in it. Well, in anything he is eating...
Not only is this lasagna so freakin’ delicious it is also an awesome recipe to make. Cooking is so relaxing for me anyway, but this recipe went beyond that. If you are able to take your time and enjoy the blending of the ricotta mixture or wonderful pesto and mushroom sauce – the creation of this dish will have you feeling like a chef. That may sound like I am being all emotional, crazy right now – but I promise, something about making this dish was some sort of soup for my soul.
Spinach, Mushroom & Pesto Lasagna
- 9 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package
- 10 oz chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cups diced onion
- dash of crushed red pepper flakes
- 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups Half & Half
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon basil pesto
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- Heat oven to 350, grease 9x11 casserole dish
- Mix spinach, ricotta cheese, egg, garlic powder and season with salt & pepper – set aside
- In large saucepan, over medium-high heat, add olive oil and butter. Sauté onion & crushed red pepper flakes. When onions have softened add mushrooms and garlic – sauté until mushrooms have released their moisture and most of it has cooked off. About 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle flour over veggies and stir in well. Let cook for a couple of minutes and then add milk and half & half, bring to boil – stirring occasionally to avoid burning. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened – making sure to stir. Remove from heat and stir in pesto.
- Spread the 2 tablespoons of pesto on bottom of greased casserole dish. Construct lasagna in the following order:
- 3 lasagna noodles
- 1/3 ricotta mixture
- 1/3 mushroom-pesto sauce
- 1 cup of mozzarella cheese
- Repeat 2 times for a total of 3 layers. This lasagna does not end with a layer of noodles and cheese; your final layer will be just as the others. Sprinkle parmesan cheese and parsley on top
- Cover tightly with aluminum foil, bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes or until top is bubbly and golden. Let cool for 15 minutes