Friday, April 9, 2010

Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna Casserole

This is a terrific way to simplify lasagna. The most difficult part of making a good lasagna is dealing with those flat noodles. This version of lasagna is so much quicker and easier, you can pack more vegetables into it, and you can make it with rice pasta if you are sensitive to gluten. There is no way around the cheese in it for the lactose intolerant; however, if you have difficulty with lactose then skip the ricotta and mozzarella cheeses and substitute more hard cheeses, such as parmesan or romano, for a dish that is easier on your digestion. Using spiral or curly pasta will give this dish the same feel as a traditional lasagna.


16 oz. pasta (spiral or curly pasta is better, rice pasta can be used)
24 oz. tomato sauce
8 oz. grated cheese (use an Italian blend, such as mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan, asiago, and romano)
¼ cup grated parmesan, romano or asiago cheese for the top
¾ cup ricotta cheese
3 eggs
9 oz. chopped spinach
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. red wine
2 cups chopped mushrooms (or one large Portobello mushroom)
1/3 cup chopped onions or 2 tbsp. onion powder
2 large cloves crushed garlic
¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil or 2 tbsp. dried basil
3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh oregano or 2 tbsp. dried oregano
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley or 1 tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. black pepper
dusting of paprika
salt to taste


Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease an oblong baking dish. Boil the pasta until it is done al dente.

Sauté the onion and mushrooms in olive oil for about 3 minutes, until soft. Add the red wine and the spinach on top and put a lid on the pan to steam the spinach until it wilts. If you are using fresh basil, oregano, and/or parsley, steam that with the spinach. If the vegetables are very wet, drain off liquid before adding them to the rest of the ingredients (it’s OK to include a tablespoon or two of the liquid). Beat the eggs and combine with the ricotta cheese.

Combine all the ingredients, except the paprika and the ¼ cup of cheese reserved for the top of the casserole, in a large mixing bowl. Spread the ingredients in the oblong baking dish. Sprinkle the ¼ cup of cheese on top and dust with paprika. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes uncovered.

Other vegetables may be added, such as red or green peppers, olives, artichoke hearts, or sun-dried tomatoes. However, I recommend no more than 2-½ cups of veggies (in addition to the spinach). Otherwise the lasagna becomes overpowered with veggies. If you want more veggies in the meal, then serve this dish with a green salad or a ratatouille.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!

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