I have always failed at making lasagna. The first time I made it, it was a huge watery mess with mushy spinach. The second time, it was rock hard. I read up a little about lasagna, and found out some interesting things that I had been doing wrong. First off, I didn’t make sure to cover all of the pasta, so it was turning out super crunchy in some places on top. Second, I was using frozen spinach like many recipes suggested. Ugh. I found that fresh spinach is much better, and will leave you with a thick, lasagna like sauce instead of a watery tomato juice. Lastly, make your own sauce. Why not? You can personalize it and add a little spice if you really want. Now that lasagna and I are at peace, I’d like to share.
- 1 (12 oz) box lasagna noodles I used about 12 pieces of pasta total
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 1/2 cup sun dried tomato paste (or another 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes)
- 2 red bell peppers, halved and roasted
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3-4 cups fresh spinach, I do not recommend frozen, seriously.
- 2 tablespoons oregano
- dash of basil
To make :
First, preheat your oven to 350. De-seed, and cut your red peppers in half. Roast them for around 40 minutes, or until soft. (I usually get them in the oven, go chill out for about 20 minutes, then come back and prepare the sauce)
Boil the noodles until they are soft. Keep them in the pot in the hot water until the very end, when you get ready to put the lasagna together. You do not want them to dry out while your preparing your sauce.
In a small pan, cook your onions for around 4 minutes, add garlic and cook for an additional 4 minutes. Be careful not to burn.
When the peppers are done roasting, put them in the food processor along with the oregano, basil, sun-dried tomato, the paste, and the vegetable broth. Mix until smooth and well incorporated. Pour into a bowl. When all was said and done, I added some jarred pasta sauce that I had taking up space in my ice box. I ended up with this stunning sauce :
Add a shallow, even layer of sauce to a 9×13 inch baking dish and then alternate thin layers of noodles, spinach, sauce and onion mixture. I ended up with about 4 layers I think.
Make sure you save enough sauce for the very top, so you can make sure you completely cover all of the exposed noodles to prevent hard bits after baking. Bake for 30- 35 minutes, covered on 350. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes.
For more nutrition you can also :
1) Make a simple tofu and spinach mixture to act as a cheese substitute. Here’s a simple recipe, and it can easily be cut in half :
- 2 LBS. soft tofu, drained
- 1/4 to 1/2 c. frozen or fresh spinach
- 1/4 c. fresh [italian] parsley, chopped fine
- 4 TBSP nutritional yeast powder
- 2 TBSP lemon juice
- 1 tsp. salt
- sprinkle of pepper, to taste
Blend it all together until smooth and layer into your lasagna next to the noodles preferably.
2) Add baked eggplant, mushrooms and peppers
Depending on how big of a dish I use, and how many other variations I am adding, sometimes I end up using quite a lot of eggplant. By the time you bake it and sear it, you end up losing a lot of the mass it had when you started, so it’s quite easy to add a ton, it’s delicious and it’s super awesome for you.
For the mushrooms and peppers, I just end up sautéing them for a few minutes, still leaving them a tad under- cooked and tossing them in randomly.
And lastly, number 3) You can always add olives, spinach leaves or tomatoes to the top for an extra kick.
Remember to wait until the last 10- 15 minutes to add anything to the top of your lasagna that you think might burn.
Enjoy ~ and eat well !