This easy-to-make lasagna uses no-boil noodles and a jar of your favorite marinara sauce. The original recipe, from Martha Rose Shulman’s Recipes for Health column in the New York Times, calls for one pound of fresh spinach that you wash, sauté in a large pan and then chop finely.
Martha’s recipes are usually loaded with fresh vegetables. She isn’t a diet cook, per se, but she is a champion of whole, unprocessed foods, hence the use of fresh spinach in this recipe instead of frozen.
I made it once with the fresh spinach and a second time using frozen chopped spinach. I couldn’t tell any difference between the two so I’m giving you my easier, frozen spinach version here. Why? Because I’m not Martha Rose Shulman and I can. Go to Martha’s recipe in the Times for directions using fresh spinach. That is, if you’ve got tons of fresh spinach in your garden or you’re a glutton for punishment.
Many lasagna recipes call for one pound of ricotta cheese and lots of shredded mozzarella cheese. Not Martha. She uses just half a container of ricotta and no mozzarella. The ricotta mixture is very spinachy — remember, this is Martha the NYT Health columnist — but you know what? It’s really good! I substituted fat-free ricotta to make this Weight Watcher friendly.
Oh, and Martha also suggests using a variety of “juicy wild mushrooms like maitakes or oyster mushrooms,” which is a great idea if you live in a big city that has markets with eclectic ingredients. I live in the American Heartland, where baby Portobello mushrooms are considered gourmet. They did the job just fine.
16 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed in a colander 1 Tbsp. olive oil 8 oz. mushrooms, cut into thick slices 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme) 8 oz. fat-free ricotta cheese 1 egg 1 Tbsp. water Pinch of nutmeg Salt and pepper 2 1/2 cups jarred marinara sauce* 7 to 8 oz. no-boil lasagna noodles 4 oz. (1 cup) grated Parmesan cheese
Drain and squeeze excess water from spinach and set aside. Heat olive oil in skillet and add mushrooms. Toss and stir in the pan until they begin to sweat, 2 to 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook over medium heat until mushrooms are soft, 3 to 5 more minutes. Remove from heat.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a rectangular baking dish approximately 8″ X 8″. Blend ricotta cheese with egg, water, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in squeezed spinach.
Spread a small amount of marinara sauce in a thin layer over bottom of baking dish. Top with a layer of lasagna noodles. Top noodles with a thin layer of the ricotta mixture. Top ricotta with half the mushrooms and then top with a layer of marinara sauce and Parmesan. Repeat layers, then add a final layer of lasagna noodles topped with marinara sauce and Parmesan.
Cover baking dish tightly with foil and place in the oven. Bake 40 minutes or until mixture is bubbling. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Note: You can assemble this lasagna up to a day ahead and refrigerate, or you can freeze it for a month before baking.
*Look for marinara sauce that contains no high-fructose corn syrup. It’s a cheap additive that’s not worthy of your consumption. Period.