I found this recipe while searching for a freezable recipe to bring to a friend who recently had three beautiful babies. I was intrigued by the idea of a vegetable lasagna that also had tomato sauce. Most veggie lasagnas seem to be drenched in bechamel, which is delicious, but not exactly nutritious. I was also attracted to this recipe’s use of kale and butternut squash, two locally in-season ingredients that we get regularly through our CSA.
I doubled this recipe, making a pan to freeze for my friend and a pan for us to eat last week for dinner. It was very easy to prep ahead of time; I kept our dish in the fridge for a day and had Jeff slide it into the oven as I was driving home from class one evening. I haven’t given away the frozen pan yet, but hopefully the recipient will find it delicious.
A few notes about the recipe itself- I see absolutely no reason to go through the trouble of boiling and draining lasagna noodles when no-cook noodles are available. I couldn’t find these in whole wheat though, as the recipe calls for. Also, since they are thinner than regular lasagna noodles, I added an extra layer of noodles between the first layer of squash and kale. Also, I am not the biggest fan of ricotta and will likely cut the amount in half next time I make this dish, as I felt it obscured the taste of the butternut squash. If you feel the same way, you might consider making that change yourself on your first go-round.
Lasagna with Butternut Squash and Kale
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
3 peeled garlic cloves (1 minced, 2 left whole)
2 cans (14 oz. each) crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
About 1 tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper, divided
6 cups (about 2 lbs.) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-in. cubes
1 pound kale, torn from the center ribs and into pieces, rinsed
12 no-cook lasagna noodles
1 container (15 oz.) part-skim-milk ricotta cheese
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
Preheat oven to 400°. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a 2- to 3-qt. pot over medium heat. Add onion and minced garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent, 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer until thick and flavors are combined, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
While sauce is cooking, in a 12- by 15-in. baking pan, drizzle squash with remaining olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic cloves and toss squash mixture to coat with oil. Bake until soft, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, bring 3 qts. salted water to a boil in a large pot.
Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Transfer squash and garlic to a food processor and purée until smooth.
Boil kale until soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain; let cool. Squeeze out as much water as possible.
In a bowl, mix ricotta, nutmeg, 1 cup mozzarella, and remaining 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper.
Coat the bottom of a 9- by 13-in. pan with 1/3 of tomato sauce (about 1 1/2 cups). Lay 3 noodles in a single layer over sauce. Top noodles with squash, spreading evenly. Add three more noodles on top of the squash. Sprinkle 1/2 of kale evenly over noodles. Arrange 3 more noodles on kale and top with ricotta, spreading evenly. Top with remaining kale and noodles. Cover noodles with remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella.
Bake lasagna until juices are bubbling and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.
Adapted from Sunset magazine