Guest Post: Spinach Lasagna

Had I posted this a day earlier, it would have made for a great Meatless Monday post!  Oh well.  So for all you veg heads out there, here you go!

I can’t take credit for this recipe.  My sweet friend (and neighbor!) brought this scrumptious lasagna over last week.  I love how light it is; it doesn’t taste heavy like lasagnas normally tend to do.  It’s a fabulous vegetarian meal.  You can complete the meal with a salad of mixed greens and crusty bread.

Light Spinach Lasagna

Adapted From:  America’s Test Kitchen

For the Sauce:

  • 1 onion, minced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups 1 percent low-fat milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry, and chopped fine
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
  • pepper

For the Layers:

  • 8 ounces low fat cottage cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles (Barilla)
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 6 ounces Italian fontina cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)

1.  Combine the onion, olive oil and 1/8 teaspoon salt in large saucepan.  Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in 2 3/4 cups of the milk, bay leaves and nutmeg.  Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.

2.  Whisk the cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup milk together, then whisk into the pot.  Continue to simmer, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 6 minutes.  Off the heat, remove and discard bay leaves.  Stir in the spinach and Parmesan until incorporated and no clumps of spinach remain.  (You should have about 3 1/2 cups sauce.)  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover to keep warm, and set aside.

3.  Adjust an oven rack to be 6 inches from the broiler element, adjust a second oven rack to the middle position, and heat the oven to 425 degrees.

4.  Process the cottage cheese, egg and salt in a food processor until very smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

5.  Pour 1 inch of boiling water into a 9×13 broiler-safe baking dish, then add the noodles one at a time.  Let the noodles soak until pliable, about 5 minutes, separating them with the tip of a sharp knife to prevent sticking.  Remove the noodles from the water and place in a single layer on a clean kitchen towel.  Discard the water, dry the baking dish, and coat the interior with vegetable oil spray.

6.  Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce evenly over the bottom of the baking dish.  Position 3 of the noodles on top of the sauce.  Spread 3/4 cup more sauce evenly over the noodles, sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan and top with 3 more of the noodles.  Spread 3/4 cup more sauce evenly over the noodles, sprinkle evenly with 3/4 cup of the fontina, and top with 3 more of the noodles.  Spread 3/4 cup more sace evenly over the noodles, followed by the cottage cheese mixture.  Finish with the remaining 3 noodles, remaining 3/4 cup sauce and remaining 3/4 cup fontina.

7.  Cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna on the middle oven rack until bubbling, about 20 minutes.  Remove the baking dish from the oven and remove the foil.  Heat the broiler.  Transfer the baking dish to the upper oven rack and broil the lasagna until the cheese is spotty brown, 4 to 6 minutes.  Let the lasagna cool for 15 minutes before serving.

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