Sauteed Vegetable & Pesto Lasagna is a modern twist on the classic recipe with mushrooms, spinach, and homemade pesto.
Making lasagna is therapeutic to me. When you do it right, it takes time. This is not a 25 minute dinner. It’s a labor of love. The repeated layers, working with your hands, baking it all together, cutting into the deep layers to pull out that perfectly baked square and finally seeing your family’s reaction when they take the first bite...it’s a feeling you only get when your time and sweat has been invested into a recipe.
Lasagna reminds me of Christmas. Of being 8 years old, sitting on the counter top helping my mom prepare 3 trays of it. One with no meat, one with pepperoni, and one with sausage or bolognese or whatever we were craving. Being in charge of the mozzarella and grated Parmesan. Trying to be sneaky and dip cubes of mozzarella into the fresh made sauce that cooked all day. My mom giving me pasta that ripped and was deemed unworthy of being in our tray. Her saying: one for us, one for them. Repeating this same process with my grandmothers on other days.
Sometimes I need a recipe that I can get lost into - rather than rush through because it’s 7:30pm on Wednesday. I know that that’s not realistic on (sometimes) even a weekly basis, but once in awhile I make time for something special.
What’s great about lasagna is that when you think of it - it’s really just a method. You can layer anything you’d like. I mean, just google dessert lasagna and you’ll see what I’m talking about. The classic of course is pasta, tomato sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan. And most of the time, bolognese sauce.
I love this twist on the original though because it’s unexpected flavors, but in a familiar way. Squeezing in two layers to the traditional is what takes this to a totally new place. Sautéed spinach and mushrooms plus homemade pesto! Let me know how you like it.
Sautéed Vegetables & Pesto Lasagna
- ⅓ cup almonds
- 1 ½ cup basil
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 garlic cloves
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan
Mushroom Spinach Filling
- 24 ounces cremini mushrooms cut small
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 8 cups spinach
- ¾ pound of lasagna
- 3 Cups tomato sauce
- 8 oz Ricotta
- 1 Tomato sliced
To make the pesto, grind the garlic cloves and almonds in a food processor until minced. Add in basil, olive oil, water, lemon, salt, and parmesan until smooth. (Tip: If you don’t have a food processor, don’t stress. Mince garlic cloves. Put almonds into a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Combine all in the bag and blend).
Cook the lasagna according to package directions while starting the vegetables. Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Add olive oil, sauté mushrooms until browned. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Turn off heat and set aside. Once cooled, stir in 1 tablespoon of the pesto.
To layer lasagna: using a 9x13 casserole dish, start by coating the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of sauce. Line the pan with lasagna noodles, folding the ends over if they’re too long. Next, spread a small spoonful of ricotta along each piece of lasagna. Top with ⅓ of the sautéed vegetables spreading evenly. Cover with the tomato sauce. Swirl a couple spoonful’s of the pesto throughout the sauce. Repeat two more times, ending with the sauce layer on the top. To finish, line the sliced tomatoes.
Bake at 350 and cover with foil for the first 30 minutes, uncover for the last 20-30 minutes and cook until bubbly and edges begin to brown. Let it set for about 10 minutes before slicing into it.
- Adapted & Recreated from Thug Kitchen