My husband is a serious meat eater. I mean, if I suggest a meal without any meat, he scoffs at me like I just proclaimed the most insane thing ever. He thrives on getting the meat sweats. So when I make a no-meat dish and he actually likes it?! Big time win. I think I’ve made one other lasagna in my lifetime. For some reason, lasagnas always seemed kind of daunting, I am not a fan of ground meat, and I would honestly rather have a bowl of pasta. But I decided to try my hand at it anyway, and I’m so glad I did. This lasagna is the shit. Seriously guys, it’s so yummy. We were so eager to tear into it, and enjoyed so much of it, that I did a total blogger fail and forgot to take a picture of the whole thing when it was fresh out of the oven. It wasn’t until after we devoured most of it, and only one slice remained that I remembered this fact and did what I could to capture the finished product….and failed miserably. All I got was this shitty picture of a cooled down slice:
Luckily for you, you can check out the much more beautiful photos over at Julia’s Album, where I adapted the recipe from.
I did change it up a bit based on what we had on hand. I always keep a block of frozen chopped spinach because it’s good in a pinch, so I used that instead of wilting my own. I also had to change up the cheese ratios to make it work. Even with some slight substitutions, you really can’t mess this up.
I would love to be able to tell y’all how long it takes to make this dish start to finish. But I made this while home with a newborn on maternity leave, and started many hours before dinner so that I could do bits and pieces between feedings and naps. Cook the squash, feed baby…Defrost spinach, change baby…Puree squash, naptime…Mix up spinach and cheeses, feed and snuggle baby. It wasn’t until hubs came home that I was able to boil the noodles and assemble the dish. So no idea how long it would take a mom that’s got life all figured out, or happens to have six hands, but I can at least say it’s not as daunting as it seems 🙂
To begin, bake your butternut squash, then puree it once mostly cooled. (Scoop out the stringy mess, cut in half, and bake cut-side down for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees). I think it’s waaaaay easier to peel butternut squash once baked, but it’s also messier. So do whatever floats your boat. An average whole squash is going to give you more than you need, but it freezes nicely. There are lots of other yummy butternut squash recipes to try out, or I might even use it for homemade baby food in another month 😉
Combine the puree with the ricotta, milk, salt, and nutmeg.
In a separate bowl, mix your spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, garlic, salt, and pepper.
Cook your noodles according to package instructions, then rinse them with cold water. With the dish I used, it took 12 noodles. Grease the bottom of your baking dish – I used a 2.5 quart casserole dish. Spread 1/3 of your squash mixture on the bottom to hold the noodles. Sprinkle with some mozz. Top that with a layer of noodles to completely cover. Next spread with half of your spinach filling.
Top that with a little more mozz and your next layer of noodles. Spread another third of your squash mixture onto the noodles with a little more mozz.
Then add another layer of noodles. Spread on the rest of the spinach and…you guessed it, more mozz. Top with the final layer of noodles and the rest of the squash mixture. Finish it off with the rest of the mozzarella and parmesan. I topped mine with some fresh thyme and paprika.
Cover and bake about 30 minutes at 375. Remove the foil and bake another 10.
Drink pairing: This dish pairs wonderfully with a good Chardonnay. I LOVE me a buttery Chard, and it really brings out the richness in this dish. One of my favorites is Souverain Chardonnay. Yum!
What other veggie dishes have converted the most stubborn meat lovers? Let me know below!