meatless monday: spinach lasagna

Spinach lasagna…on a weeknight? Yes it’s possible. And yes it’s possible to eat before 11pm.  The night I made this, I worked until 6, went for an hour-long run, came home, went to the store, and had this ready with time to kill by the time Manfriend got home from his basketball game around 9.  Crazy, right? Yes, I am slightly crazy, but it’s also crazy that it’s possible.

Basically, you prepare all the ingredients separately then just layer it all in a bowl. And while I didn’t run the nutrition facts, this has got to be decidedly healthier version than the baked version.

I made two major modifications to the original recipe (from the gods over at Bon Appetit)–1. I made my own sauce  (really very easy and so much better) and 2. I didn’t blanch the spinach (i feel the same way about slimy spinach that i do about bananas).

A little more about the spinach: yes, you put it in there raw. On top of hot pasta and then layer hot sauce on top. What happens here is you get a great little wilted spinach situation–the leaves remain in tact, providing some nice fresh texture.  AND, then when you assemble your leftovers the next morning for lunch, you can just pop the whole thing in the office microwave and the spinach will be cooked–not overcooked. Brilliant. But despite what you’re thinking, I am not, in fact, a Rhodes scholar. Just a hungry girl-on-the-run. 🙂

full disclosure: I wrote this recipe the same way I actually prepared it all in the kitchen. I’m all about efficiency.  If it makes your head spin, click the source link and Framed has it written in a more sane manner.

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Working Girl’s Weeknight Lasagna

adapted from Framed (who adapted the original from Bon Appetit)

Ingredients:

  • Sauce:
  • 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or put through a press
  • 1 palmful dried basil
  • 1 slightly smaller palmful dried oregano
  • good dash of garlic powder
  • good dash of onion powder
  • healthy pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • Everything else:
  • 12 ounces baby spinach
  • 8 lasagna noodles, broken in half
  • 1 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Chop your onion and garlic. Break your pasta sheets in half. Fill a stock pot halfway with water.
  2. Heat 12-inch skillet (should have relatively high sides) over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to coat bottom.
  3. Add onion. Sauteed until slightly softened and translucent (NOT brown–if onions start to brown, reduce heat). Should take about 5 minutes. (Use this time to open your tomato cans and get your spices).
  4. Add garlic, cook 1 minute. Add spices. Cook 1 more minute (this will smell like HEAVEN. thats when you know it’s good.)
  5. Add both cans of tomatoes. Stir it all together. When it starts to bubble, turn the heat down so they are only baby bubbles. Let this guy go, stirring occasionally, until you’re ready to assemble.
  6. Add palmful of salt to the water in the stockpot. Turn that puppy to high.
  7. Now–cheese. Heat the ricotta and mozzarella in a small saucepan over lowwww heat. It will heat pretty quickly, just keep an eye on it. Add some fresh ground pepper. No salt. Stir your tomato sauce.
  8. When water boils, add noodles to the boiling water and cook until just tender, about 6 minutes (will be less than it says on the box because you’ve broken them in half.)
  9. While your pasta is cooking, grate the parmesan.
  10. Time to assemble! Line up 4 soup bowls and ladle a quarter cup of sauce into each bowl. Place one noodle on top of sauce. place a handful of spinach on top (try to keep it on the noodles). Add a dollop of cheese. More sauce. One more noodle. Spinach, cheese, sauce, 3rd noodle. Little sauce on top. Sprinkle some parmesan on top.
  11. Pour yourself a large glass of wine (if you haven’t already) and dig in!

For storage–store all components separately. For leftover lunch: assemble it all in a tupperware the next morning.

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