Lasagna Primavera

by Anne Bennett on February 21, 2017

In 1992 the makers of Newman’s Own Sauces staged a contest for the best recipe made with a Newman’s Own product. The judge? Paul Newman, who sampled the seven finalists’ entries in a New York restaurant with a napkin tucked under his chin. First prize was a $50,000 donation to the winner’s favorite charity and a kiss from Mr. Newman. Fortunately the winner was a woman.

Her entry was a meatless lasagna filled with vegetables that cooked along with the noodles in the pasta water. Our innovative cook streamlined her recipe so that there’s only one pot to wash. My kind of gal.

I’ve made this lasagna countless times over the years. Yes, I know that no-boil lasagna noodles are convenient, but there’s a method to the cook-the-noodles madness here: you add the vegetables to the boiling water while the noodles cook and then you separate the noodles out when everything is drained in the colander. Easy, and it works like a charm.

The original, prize-winning recipe called for Newman’s Own Marinara Sauce, but, unfortunately, it has added sugar. My recommendation is to find a marinara sauce with no added sugar or high-fructose-corn-syrup. They’re out there so be persistent. FYI: Trader Joe’s Organic Marinara Sauce has no added sugar. Also, my 16-oz. box of lasagna noodles yielded 18 noodles. I used 9 noodles for this lasagna, 3 per layer.

lasagna-primavera

Each serving is loaded with vegetables so you can have your pasta and eat it too!

Lasagna Primavera

1 8-oz. package lasagna noodles
3 carrots, sliced 1/4″ thick
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup zucchini, cut into 1/4″ slices
1 cup crookneck squash, cut into 1/4″ slices
2 10-oz. packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
8 oz. ricotta cheese (I used part-skim)
1 26 oz. jar marinara sauce of your choice
12 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add lasagna noodles and cook 5 minutes. Add carrots and cook 2 more minutes. Add broccoli, zucchini and crookneck squash and cook the final 2 minutes or until pasta is almost tender. Drain all in a large colander and separate out the noodles.

Squeeze liquid out of spinach. Combine spinach with ricotta cheese. In a 3-quart rectangular baking pan, spread 1/3 of the pasta sauce. Line pan with 3 lasagna noodles. Top with half of the vegetables, half of the spinach mixture and half of the mozzarella cheese. Pour half of the remaining pasta sauce over and top with 3 more noodles. Repeat layers, ending with the last 3 noodles and top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Place on a 10″x15″ baking sheet which has been lined with foil. Bake uncovered in a 400°F oven approx. 30 minutes or until hot in the center. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. (Lasagna may be prepared up to 2 days in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator until 1 hour before baking. If cold, bake for 1 hour at 350°F.)

Note: I find that a 26-oz. jar of pasta sauce is just enough to cover the lasagna. When reheating this, I sometimes open another jar of pasta sauce, heat it up and pour a little over the top of each serving.

Serves: 8
WW SmartPoints per serving: 10

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