Layered Vegetarian Lasagna with Butternut Squash, Spinach and a Ricotta Mozzarella Cheese Blend
This dish was a result of having very few (and very random) foods in my house due to quarantine, along with my love for all things butternut squash - and especially butternut squash combined with pasta. It turns out, these flavors came together beautifully and I now have a new favorite meal to add to our rotation! I used "No Boil" lasagna noodles made from wheat (because I'm all for simplifying things in the kitchen - especially these days!) but you can use a traditional lasagna noodle (boiled) or a gluten free alternative, if needed. This dish provided us with many leftovers, so we were able to enjoy it throughout the week. As I like to say, "make once, eat a bunch!" so you can limit time spent cooking and cleaning. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do in our house!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Equipment Needed: 8x8 casserole dish, food processor stovetop, oven
*I used my Cuisinart Mini Food Prep Food Processor
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Ingredients (yields 9 servings):
24 oz butternut squash, chopped into cubes (about 4 1/2 C or 1 1/2 pounds)
3 Tbsp oil (I used olive oil)
16 oz frozen spinach (no salt added)
2 C ricotta cheese (I used whole milk ricotta)
2 C mozzarella cheese, shredded (I used whole milk mozzarella)
~5 oz lasagna noodles (I used 8 sheets of the 365 No Boil Lasagna Noodles out of a box that contains 27 sheets. If you prefer to use lasagna noodles that need to be boiled, cook the pasta according to package directions)
1/2 tsp salt (divided into 2 servings of 1/4 tsp each)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper (divided into 2 servings of 1/4 tsp each)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Nonstick cooking spray
*This recipe can be made to be gluten free if you swap the traditional wheat lasagna noodles for a suitable gluten free variety. I recommend using certified GF products if all potential sources of cross contact need to be minimized, such as in the case of celiac disease.
*This recipe is not low FODMAP, as the amount of butternut squash and ricotta cheese per serving is high FODMAP (butternut squash is high in GOS and mannitol in the serving present in this recipe and the amount of ricotta cheese used is high in lactose). However, you could swap the lasagna noodles for a brown rice GF lasagna noodle (or another suitable low FODMAP alternative) and enjoy this dish if you have completed the low FODMAP elimination and reintroduction phases and tolerate GOS, mannitol and lactose well. This lasagna does not contain garlic or onion.
Warm oil in a medium sized pan over medium-high heat. Add chopped butternut squash, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Sauté until squash is fork tender, about 20-25 minutes, mixing occasionally so it does not burn. Once cooked, turn off stove and remove from heat. *If you are using lasagna noodles that require boiling, I recommend cooking them according to package directions as you are doing this step. You may need to brush olive oil over the cooked noodles and/or lay them separately once they are finished, so they do not stick together.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
Cook spinach according to package instructions and drain any excess water. I used the microwave, cooking it on high for about 7 minutes and giving it a stir halfway through, at about 4 minutes. Drain any excess water (as there will likely be a lot of excess water), allow spinach to cool down a bit and squeeze it dry with paper towel or cheesecloth.
Transfer spinach to a medium sized bowl. Add ricotta cheese, about 1 1/2 C of the shredded mozzarella cheese (reserve about 1/2 C for the topping) and remaining salt and pepper (1/4 tsp each) to spinach and mix with a spoon until ingredients are well combined. Set aside.
Transfer the cooked butternut squash to the food processor. Add nutmeg and purée until smooth.
Spread a few large spoonfuls of the butternut squash purée along the bottom of casserole dish. You will ultimately spread 3 layers of the butternut squash, so use about 1/3 of the squash and reserve about 2/3 for the other layers.
Add two lasagna noodles side by side over the butternut squash. This should fill the 8x8 casserole dish from side to side, so if your noodles are a different width, adjust accordingly so they form a full layer.
Spread about half of the spinach mixture over the noodles.
Layer with two lasagna noodles again.
Repeat steps 6 through 9 once more, so there is another layer of butternut squash and then another layer of noddles, then another layer of spinach (using the remaining spinach), then another layer of noodles.
Spread the remaining butternut squash purée over the lasagna noodles. Top with the remaining shredded mozzarella, distributed evenly over the lasagna.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven, covered, for about 40-45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake, uncovered, for another 10 minutes. If using the no boil noodles, the noodles should be soft and cooked through - individual oven times may vary. Divide lasagna into 3 rows of 3 squares with a spatula, in order to yield 9 servings and enjoy! We enjoyed ours with salad, but you can serve this with soup, roasted veggies, or as a side with chicken or meat.
Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:
Calories 314 calories, Total Fat 17 g, Saturated Fat 8 g, Cholesterol 41 mg, Carbohydrates 25 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 18 g, Sodium 419 mg, Calcium 382 mg