spinach and basil lasagna

spinach and basil lasagna

This spinach and basil lasagna is a vegetarian meal that even meat lovers will enjoy! Using a few shortcuts helped cut down kitchen time without compromising flavor or nutrition.

Lasagna is one of my favorite foods ever! My go-to recipe is filled with a meaty red sauce and I make it again and again. I usually don’t cook vegetarian meals. When you’re married to a die-hard carnivore, spending time cooking without meat becomes a fool’s errand. I wanted a vegetarian dish that came together quickly and that my resident meat lover would enjoy.

I started by using frozen organic spinach. The supermarket staple is already cleaned and chopped and doesn’t require separate sautéing. Canned San Marzano tomatoes made a fast and flavorful marinara sauce that added a welcome tang to the creamy ricotta cheese. To get dinner on the table even faster, I used no-boil lasagna noodles that cooked right in the oven. An entire cup of fresh basil paired beautifully with the spinach and rounded out the flavors of the dish.

This recipe became an immediate hit with my family. Both my dad and husband couldn’t stop raving about this instant classic and I’m so excited to share it with you. Much less work than my classic casserole, this spinach and basil lasagna is a wonderful weeknight meal the whole family will love. 

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spinach and basil lasagna


  • Author: Sepideh Esmaili Campos

Ingredients

Scale

Marinara sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1, 28-ounce can plum tomatoes, (cento brand)
  • ⅛ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil for greasing the pan

Cheese and Spinach mixture

  • 1 pound chopped frozen spinach, defrosted overnight in the refrigerator or in the microwave
  • 16 ounces full fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Assembly

  • 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 pound no boil lasagna noodles

Instructions

Make the sauce:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the red onion along with ½ teaspoon salt. Cook until the onion is softened and starting to brown along the edges, 10 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.
  4. Add the plum tomatoes and their juice along with the sugar. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low.
  5. Simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 30 minutes.
  6. Taste the sauce and add up to ½ teaspoon more kosher salt.
  7. While the sauce is simmering, preheat the oven to 375.
  8. Grease a 13X9X2 rectangular casserole dish with olive oil, set aside.

Make the cheese mixture:

  1. Place the defrosted spinach in a clean kitchen towel and wring it out over the sink. Remove as much moisture from the spinach as possible.
  2. Place the spinach in a medium bowl.
  3. Add the ricotta cheese, basil, parmesan, eggs, and salt to the bowl.
  4. Mix until fully combined.

Assemble the lasagna:

  1. Pour ½ cup of the marinara sauce in the bottom of the prepared casserole dish. Spread to cover the bottom of the pan.
  2. Lay a single layer of lasagna noodles over the sauce, break some of the noodles if necessary to fill in any gaps.
  3. Layer the lasagna as follows:
  4. Spread ⅓ of the ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles.
  5. Spread ¼ of the marinara sauce evenly over the ricotta mixture.
  6. Lay a single layer of noodles over the marinara sauce.
  7. Spread ½ of the remaining ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles.
  8. Spread ⅓ of the remaining marinara sauce evenly over the ricotta mixture.
  9. Lay a single layer of noodles over the marinara sauce.
  10. Spread the remaining ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles.
  11. Spread ½ of the remaining marinara sauce evenly over the ricotta mixture.
  12. Lay a single layer of noodles over the marinara sauce.
  13. Spread the rest of the marinara sauce over the noodles.
  14. Top with the shredded mozzarella cheese.
  15. Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil.
  16. Bake until the noodles are softened and the cheese is melted, 35 – 40 minutes.
  17. Remove the foil and continue baking the lasagna until the cheese is browned around the edges, 5- 10 minutes.
  18. Remove the lasagna from the oven, let it cool for 10 minutes to make slicing easier.
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