Healthy pumpkin lasagna is deceptively subtle, holding a rich creamy and slightly spicy flavor that will make you swoon for more pumpkin sauce!
Happy New Year! I hope you are starting 2016 with powerful force, goals and accomplishments. I know I am a little late on the good wishes since we are almost a week into January – for good reason. I have taken some much needed time away from my computer to spend time with family. It has been pure enjoyment taking the holidays far from my “do list” to spend much needed family time as my mom visited for 2 weeks and my sister, her husband and friends visited for New Years weekend.We enjoyed a staycation in a rented (amazing) house in the Santa Barbara hills that roomed all 9 of us plus anyone that wanted to stay the night of New Years Eve or after:-). Staycations are always the best! You feel like you are away even though your house is within range if you forget anything!
About a week before my mom visited us, just before Christmas, Chase and I were strolling through Williams-Sonoma and we tried their pumpkin lasagna samples they were giving out. I was thrilled that Chase loved it so much he went back for seconds. So…. I decided to make my own similar vegetarian lasagna to serve for dinner when my mom was staying with us.
>Pumpkin lasagna is packed with fiber, potassium and vitamin C which all support heart health!
Some people steer away from foods like this since pumpkin and butternut have distinct sweet, thick and firm flavors. The secret to a perfect squash recipe is how you cook squash (like roasting versus boiling) that makes the difference in flavorful dishes. Or adding heat to sweet dishes (such as chili peppers and cranberries to Sweet And Spicy Brussels Sprouts) provides a satisfying blend. So what makes this lasagna so good? Combining it with sharp bitter Parmesan cheeses and creamy Mozzarella cheese. True Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is sharp, complex and nutty in taste. Inferior versions are slightly bitter. A great compliment to the sweetness of pumpkin and butternut squash finished off in fragrant buttered sage leave.
Do you have any leftover canned pumpkin in your pantry? If so you're in-luck because you already have and excuse to make this! My hubby and mom at first were slightly skeptical about trying Pumpkin Lasagna since there is no “Italian red sauce” involved. Using canned unseasoned pumpkin puree is much quicker than roasting and scrapping out a pumpkin, and it works just fine. Gladly, my whole family was quite pleased with this mouthwatering vegetarian healthy dinner recipe. Using gluten free rice pasta noodles makes it even more guilt free but use whatever pasta you choose. We like to use this Tinkyada Brown Rice Lasagne w/ Rice Bran, 10 oz.
My favorite part is that lasagna can be assembled in the morning or the night before and easily baked at dinnertime. The longer it sets the better the flavors savor together. I usually make this in the morning during naps or after Big C is dropped off at school then just pop our easy lasagna recipe in the oven an hour before dinner. Makes dinnertime so much less stressful! And all the messy preparation dishes are washed before dinner… wink, wink!
Cheers to a new year and healthier all of us!
Pumpkin Lasagna with Spinach Ricotta Filling
- 1 10 oz. package of gluten free rice pasta
- 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 15 oz. can Pumpkin puree
- 1 cup butternut squash chunks
- 1/2 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup of cream or plain coconut or cashew milk
- 1 egg
- 1 cup ricotta
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 Tablespoon fresh sage leaves chopped
- 1/2 cup of chicken stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon of oregano
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups of fresh spinach chopped
- Preheat oven 400 degrees F. In a baking pan lined with parchment paper add butternut squash, onion and garlic. Drizzle 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper on the vegetables and toss to coat. Cover lightly with foil and roast for about 20 minutes. Let cool. Remove from baking pan and transfer to a food processor or a blender and puree the vegetables with 1/2 cup of cream (or cashew milk) and 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese until smooth.
- Turn the oven down to 375 to preheat.
- Make the roasted pureed vegetable mixture: In a sauce pan on low heat combine the roasted pureed vegetable mixture, 1/2 cup of chicken stock, salt and pepper to taste. Slowly add corn starch until thickened.
- In a small saucepan on low heat saute 1 Tablespoon of butter and 6 sage leaves until fragrant about 2-3 minutes. Add the buttered sage to the sauce mixture. Blend sauce well and set aside until ready to layer the lasagna.
- In a large bowl cream together ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, oregano, and remaining 1/2 cup of cream (or cashew milk). Set aside.
- Cook lasagna pasta noodles according to package directions. Put one package of lasagna pasta into 4 qt (3.78 lt) of boiling water and add a tbsp of salt. Stir occasionally and cook for 16-17 minutes until desired tenderness is reached. Strain and run cold water over the pasta. Let drain.
- Grease a large 9 x 13 baking dish. Spread a layer of pumpkin sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Place a single layer of noodles over the sauce. Then add your creamed cheese mixture, then sprinkle spinach on top. Repeat 2 more times starting with pumpkin sauce, then noodles, creamed cheese, spinach. On the fourth layer of noodles, top with pumpkin sauce and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Place in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until the top is brown and bubbly. If the sides seem to burn, cover with foil, and remove foil for last 5 minutes of cooking. Rest at least 20 minutes before serving.
- *recipe updated 9/16
More Lasagna and Healthy Pumpkin Recipes:
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