15 May 2012

Veggie Patch Lasagna with Creamy Spinach Sauce

Does anyone else think about food in the shower?  
Seriously!

I used to sing, but a girl can only take so much noise pollution in her life.  So now I think about food, recipes, projects... all that good stuff!  I'm not sure if it it has something to do with being a Pisces or is a precursor to impending insanity --  But I can tell you this:  aside from the obvious duty of cleaning my dirty mouth body, shower time is brainstorming time!  Baths, on the other hand, are for relaxation.  and wine.

One of my recent sud sessions was spent thinking about the Veggie Patch Pita Pizzas that have taken over my kitchen.  After making no less than 5 bajillion mini pizzas, I decided to take a brief pita-hiatus.  So naturally, I turned to noodles.

Veggie Patch Lasagna with Creamy Spinach Sauce
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Veggie Patch Lasagna with Creamy Spinach Sauce
[easily serves 3-4 or can be whipped up for 1-2 with extra sauce to freeze or pour over veggies!]

What's in it?
6-10 lasagna noodles
1 package of frozen creamed spinach
1 8oz package of button mushrooms, sliced
1 zucchini squash, sliced thin
1-2 roma tomatoes, sliced thin
6oz plain coconut milk [or milk, half and half, etc..]
1/4 cup grated parmesean cheese 
additional parm + mozzarella cheese for topping
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp of italian seasoning blend [basil, oregano, etc..
red pepper flakes for topping

For the filling:
1/2 a bag of baby spinach leaves, torn
15oz whole milk ricotta cheese
1/4 - 1/2 cup grated parmesean cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp of italian seasoning blend [basil, oregano, etc..
1/4 tsp salt + freshly ground black pepper, to taste

as always, add more delish herbs and spices to taste!  I always sneak an extra sprinkle or two in & taste as I go. 

Brontosaurus Chefs you can also try this amaaaazing pesto veggie filling
T-Rex Chefs feel free to add ground turkey or sausage if you'd like

Get Cooking!
The sauce and noodles can be made at the same time, followed by a super-speedy assembly, some quality time in the oven, and lastly some quality time in your mouth!  Sounds good, right?  Let's do this!

To cut down on the amount of carb-y goodness in this dish I made lasagna roll-ups instead of typical layered lasagna.  To make a roll up, break the super-long lasagna noodles in 1/2 [Its easiest to do pre-boiling] and apply a liberal dollop of filling inside the middle of each half.  Then roll!  You can't mess it up if you try.  Well, I can mess it up... but I'm special.

Break noodles in 1/2 prior to boiling for roll-ups or leave as is for layering.  Boil for 11min or however long the box of noodles specifies.  For the filling, combine ingredients, taste, and adjust seasoning to suit your palette.  For me, that means garlic-overload! =)

I simply heat the spinach and saute the mushrooms with a pinch of salt and olive oil and then combine.  To flavor the sauce, and make it a tad bit more saucy, I added 6oz of coconut milk [any dairy or non-dairy option you adore will work here!] along with 1/2 tsp of garlic powder, 1/4 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of dried minced onion [or onion powder] and a few cranks of freshly ground black pepper.  After tasting I sprinkled in a little more of each spice -- feel free to do the same if you'd like!  Grate some fresh parmesan cheese over the top [about 1/4 cup or more if you're feeling cheesy!] and stir.  Viola!  Spinach sauce!

Now that you have noodles, sauce, and all your yummy veggies prepped, embrace your inner food artist and  start painting your canvas plate.  Layer filling, veggies and noodles in a casserole dish for a colorful and hearty lasagna or skip the layers entirely by rolling the filling into halved lasagna noodles.  Regardless of your noodle selection, top them with veggies, smother them in creamy spinach sauce and throw in a little parm/mozz cheese for good measure and bake at 350F for about 20 minutes.  If you can't fathom turning your oven on in dead of summer toss it all in a pot/skillet and heat to bubbly perfection.  This dish is about as versatile as they get.

Here are a few token process shots:

vegetarian veggie patch lasagna creamy spinach sauce

Subsitutions and Such
I've made this dish countless times and ways [hence taking for. ev. er. to post it!  whoops!] so here are some variations of the dish that could very well rock your socks.  

For the spinach,  my go-to shortcut  is Birds-Eye's frozen spinach in a natural cream sauce, but homemade creamed spinach is another fabulous option!  I'll post a recipe for the scratch version if you'd like -- just let  me know if you need it!  You can also take the sauce, skip the ricotta, and make a stove top Veggie Patch Pasta instead!  

Don't forget to add asparagus... and tomato... and zucchini... and, well, you get the point =) Veg it up!

For a Gluten-Free version, simply grab a box of quinoa noodles or use veggies instead of pasta!  Slices of zucchini and yellow squash make tender and delicious lasagna layers, or steam up a bowl of your favorite veggies, pile on the sauce.

This sauce also pairs fabulously with pesto veggie manicotti + spinach stuffed shells

So... How was it?
The tomatoes add that perfect punch of sweetness and acidity while the spinach and mushrooms add an earthy edge to the dish.  And then there's the cheese -- oh the cheese!  My drug of choice, hands down.  If the fact that I make this at least once or twice a month isn't enough reason to make it, then, well -- the sheer volume of delicious veg should do it for ya.  This dish belongs in your belly.

Remember when I was waxing poetic on battling my inner perfectionist?  This was one of the posts/recipes that I've wanted to share forever but couldn't bring myself to post simply because I hated the photos.  Every time I made the dish for recipe testing and subsequent face stuffage, the sun would vanish, leaving a shadowy grey tint to all my photos.  I finally decided to embrace it.  This recipe really is too good not to share!

It's also what I'm having for lunch today:

Veggie Patch Lasagna with Creamy Spinach Sauce
Veggie Patch Lasagna with Creamy Spinach Sauce

Oh yes - I highly suggest serving veggie leftovers over even more vegetables.  

Veggie Patch Lasagna with Creamy Spinach Sauce

And if you wind up with leftover sauce?  
Make the pizzas!

vegetarian veggie pita pizza hummus spinach feta tomato


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47 comments:

  1. omg, this looks so good. pinning it . . . .. : )

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  2. Laura @ Sprint 2 the TableTuesday, May 15, 2012

    I have been so excited for you to post this!  Love all the spinach in the filling.  For a vegan version, you could do tofu "ricotta."  I did that to make rollatini before and you really couldn't tell it was tofu!

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  3. I like the photo. It looks kind of aged. Sepia-tinted. You were going for a vintage vibe, right? ^_~ When in doubt, say it's artsy.

    Also, I need some of that lasagna. For my lunch. Today. Want to send some to me?

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  4. Haha thanks Kim! I will always and forever claim "artsy" on my photo goofs! haha

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  5. Can I come over for lunch?!  Roasted red pepper sauce is my favorite - it would go well with all this spinach too!

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  6. Its so flipping good ;) I have to brave the tofu version next! I have a block in my fridge waiting for some heavy experimentation!!!!

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  7. Come on over Claire!!!! =) Roasted red pepper sauce would roooock in this! I have a jar in my pantry that I'm going to be making soup out of -- I should totally save some for the lasagana too! Love ya!

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  8. Finally girl! I've been waiting for this recipe since you first teased us with a picture. It looks ah-mazing!!!!! ...and your pics aren't bad at all; they made my mouth water anyways :D

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  9. Hahaha...I'm still a shower singer.  But if I got ideas like this for food in the shower, I might think about it then too! This looks awesome!

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  10. i'm glad you finally shared this because it needs to get.in.my.belly. omg, looks so good! :)

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  11. Yummm I can't wait to try this! Looks simple enough that even I cannot screw it up :p

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  12. Oh - oooooh. Oh this looks orgasmic! :)

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  13. Becca @ Amuse Your BoucheTuesday, May 15, 2012

    This seriously looks sooooo good!

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  14. This looks fantastic, I love all that spinach.  I agree with Laura the tofu ricotta is kicking, give it a try sometime.  I love that last photo with the asparagus underneath.  Cool.

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  15. StephsbitebybiteTuesday, May 15, 2012

    This looks incredible!! The spinach looks so creamy. I want!

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  16.  What a fabulous recipe, this looks absolutely delicious! :)

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  17. You're talking my language...creamy spinach sauce. OMG yum. There is a not-so-frequented place in the city called Artichoke that has to die for pizza and this reminds of it...in a healthier way of course!

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  18. Great idea of serving the leftovers over a veggie like you did. I swear there should be a blog dedicated to using the leftovers of all the awesome recipes you see online and want to make.

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  19. This sounds so good and not as complicated as lasagna usually is!  Need to Try It!

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  20. beautiful! this looks so wonderful, I adore veggie lasagna and the more veggies the better! thanks for sharing

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  21. I think about food everywhere. Shower included!

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  22. haha yes!!! glad I'm not alone in this!

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  23. I love that you served it over asparagus and  love your gf options. Great job!! :)

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  24. Yum!! Oh how I love veggies! This looks superb! 

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  25. I think about food pretty much all the time ... including the shower. ;)  Especially when I'm taking my morning shower and I'm starving for breakfast!

    This lasagna will definitely be made once we're finally out of this hotel.  It looks absolutely amazing!

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  26. ohmygosh YES!!!! The morning shower makes me STARVING!!!! How much longer in the hotel motel holiday inn? =)

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  27. Whaaaaaat. This looks so good.

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  28. Lasagna is one of the most perfect foods!

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  29. Gorgeous! The colours, the flavours, the sound of it - everything! Can't wait to try :)

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  30. Making this without a doubt! Must find whole wheat lasagna layers...

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  31. I pretty much think about food all of the time.  This is going on the menu list, so many perfect options for the spring veggies coming up.

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  32. I think this is genius idea..not only that I love the color, combination of the ingredients, your photos and presentation but man that look like it tasted fantastic! Got to try this idea soon! Thanks for sharing!!!

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  33. You are my new food hero for sharing this...thank you. nom, nom, nom. ~Deirdre

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  34. oh my. that looks awesome! i love the idea of freeform rolling the noodles. i'm having my parents over for dinner sometime next week... i wonder if i could make half this, and then half pasta + cheese + red sauce only for my papa. hahaha.

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  35. Looks fabulous!  I'd be very happy with a big plate of that for dinner!

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  36. Looks seriously amazing! Anything with cheese makes me hungry.

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  37. Your creamy spinach sauce is a winner...I'd like to try kale or kale and spinach, I'm not sure yet. Hope i can find good veggie varieties in the produce market in a while. Looks really delicious. Thanks!

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  38. Wow, I just got really hungry & I just had breakfast haha This looks amazing!

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  39. Thanks Val!!!!!! I try to post as many leftover recreations as I can b/c they really are worth their weight in gold! Cook once eat all week? yessss please!

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  40. Definitely! Something behind, melt some cheese on it and serve. ;)

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  41. Yum, yum, yum!! I'm always looking for new ways to make lasagna :)  This looks freaking delicious!

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  42. What a FUN blog!!!! I am planning on signing p for your What I Ate Wednesday....I love it!!! Off to read more!!

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