I created this recipe a few years back when I was asked to provide a vegetarian dish for an event I was catering. I am a meat and potatoes kind of girl so I don’t cook many vegetarian dishes. I tested the recipe out on a few friends and my hubby who are all complete meat lovers and they all loved it. After the catering event, I kept receiving comments about how big of a hit the vegetarian lasagna was. Even though there were only a handful of vegetarians attending, the 2 giant pans I made were devoured. I know there are so many people going meatless these days so this is a great recipe to add to your collection. It is really hearty and has a great dept of flavor so even if you are not a vegetarian, you will love it.
9-12 lasagna noodles (I like the wavy kind because they give your dish more body).
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 can NON-marinated artichoke hearts
1 cup chopped onion
1 and 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
6 cups fresh spinach
1 heaping cup of mushrooms of your choice (or more if you would like), diced
3 cups cottage cheese (or ricotta if you prefer)
2/3 romano cheese, grated
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp pepper
3 cups mozzarella, grated
1 cup parmesan, grated
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Boil noodles with 1 Tbsp salt. Drain. Set aside.
Clean mushrooms by rubbing them with a wet paper towel from the top-center, down as they have tiny little fibers that get all ruffled if you go against the grain. Don’t run water over your mushrooms because they will absorb the water. When your picking out your mushrooms, make sure you choose ones that are completely sealed under the cap, are firm and have no bruises. Trim off the end of the mushroom and dice.
Drain artichokes and run your knife through them a few times to break them up.
Chop onions. Remember that the closer you get to the core on the root end, the more gases the onion releases (making you cry), so with the root side down, make 1/4-1/2″ incisions down into the onion being careful not to cut all the way through turn 90 degrees and repeat. Turn onion on its side and slice through making perfect little tiny squares. No tears.
In a skillet, over medium heat, cook mushrooms, artichokes, onions, and garlic in olive oil until onions are tender. Drain any excess liquid and set aside to cool.
Measure spinach into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for one minute. Let stand in microwave for another minute or two then remove and squeeze the spinach, draining all of the juice. You will notice that your six cups of spinach has now reduced to less than 1 cup. This is an important step because you don’t want any extra liquid in your lasagna or you will end up with soup that runs all over your plate. Chop drained spinach. If you are a spinach lover, feel free to use as much spinach as you want, just be sure it is drained thoroughly.
Combine cottage cheese (or ricotta if you choose), romano cheese, chopped spinach, salt, oregano, basil, pepper and egg. Mix just until combined. Add artichoke mixture and beat on low-speed for one minute. Some cottage cheeses are runnier than others so if your cottage cheese has much liquid in it, drain it using a mesh strainer. Just stir it in the strainer over a bowl and the milky liquid will drain out.
Spread a thin layer of sauce over bottom of 9×13 pan. This will ensure that your noodles to stick to the bottom. Lay 3 noodles down onto the sauce.
Split your cottage cheese mixture into three equal parts. Spread one part onto noodles. I find that using my hands is the most efficient method. I just kind of sprinkle it on there and then spread it evenly with a rubber spatula.
Top cottage cheese mixture with 1/3 of the remaining sauce.
Sprinkle with 1/3 of grated mozzarella and parmesan.
Repeat layering process starting with noodles 2 more times. (Okay, don’t tell anyone but I cheated and stacked 2 pieces of lasagna on top of each other for the main picture. If you want your lasagna that thick, you will need to use a deep pan like a roasting pan and double your ingredients :))
Spray a piece of aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray (VERY important, otherwise half of your cheese ends up on your foil.)
Cover and bake for one hour at 350 degrees. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes before cutting and serving, allowing the lasagna to set up properly. Serve with rosemary french rolls and a side spinach salad.