Lasagna is one of those meals that everyone loves – layers of cheese and pasta combined with layers of sauce and other ingredients. This lasagna is a vegetarian dish you will love even if you’re not vegetarian. The sauce for this recipe is made from pumpkin, and it’s wonderful.
Make sure when you purchase pumpkin in a can, you look for the 100% pure solid pack pumpkin. This means that it’s pure pumpkin with no other ingredients. (Some canned pumpkin is, in fact, pumpkin pie filling which includes all the ingredients for a pumpkin pie – don’t pick this up by mistake.)
Pumpkin is high in Vitamin A, beta carotene and other vitamins and minerals. Combine that with the vegetables and cheese (ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella are all lower in fat and calories than some other cheeses), and this is a very healthy way of enjoying lasagna.
Pumpkin Lasagna Recipe
Ingredients for Pumpkin Lasagna:
12 wide strips of flat lasagna pasta
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups grated carrots
- 1 whole red bell pepper, diced
- 5 cups raw spinach
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded (divided)
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- 15 ounces pure pumpkin
- 3 cups milk
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- Salt/pepper to taste
For the top:
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
Directions for making Pumpkin Lasagna:
Boil the pasta in salted water according to the directions on the back of the box – but cook it 2 minutes less than directed. Put the pasta in a colander to strain out the water. (Before it cools completely, separate the pieces so they won’t stick together.)
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the onion and minced garlic. Cook together – stirring occasionally – for 5 minutes or until the onion is limp. Add the grated carrots and red bell pepper. Continue cooking until tender. Add the corn and the spinach -- cook until the spinach is limp. Put the cooked vegetables in a bowl and set aside. (You can reuse the skillet to make the pumpkin sauce.)
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, the egg, ¼ cup of the parmesan and the nutmeg. Set aside.
Make the pumpkin sauce by melting the butter over medium heat and whisking in the flour. Cook together stirring continually for about 1 minute more (it will be clumpy, but that’s okay). Add the milk and whisk together until thickened. Add the pumpkin. Stir in about 1 tsp. each of salt and pepper – or less for your particular taste.
Assemble the dish by preheating the oven to 375 degrees. Spread just a little pumpkin sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Arrange a single layer of the flat pasta, spread with half of the ricotta cheese mixture, top with an even layer of half of the veggie mixture, top with 1/3 of the pumpkin sauce, sprinkle with half of the mozzarella. Then cover with another layer of the pasta, and repeat ending with another layer of the pasta. Cover completely the top layer of pasta with the pumpkin sauce. Stir together the 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon. Sprinkle the top of the lasagna evenly with the mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
After baking, remove the lasagna from the oven, remove the foil, and sprinkle with the remaining ¾ cup of shredded parmesan cheese. Return to the oven uncovered for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sit on a hot pad away from the oven for at least 15 minutes prior to cutting in squares to serve.
(Adapted from about.com)
Other delicious lasagna recipes:
Easy lasagna rollups recipe – easier than lasagna, with all the great taste
CLICK ON “SUBSCRIBE” ABOVE!