Lasagna in the summer?
I don’t usually think of making lasagna in the summer, but I’m still trying to find ways to use up our delicious home grown heirloom tomatoes. When you add a couple layers of these juicy slices of heaven, suddenly lasagna is transformed into a summer dish! I love making a dinner that I can do early in the day (before it gets too hot to be cooking!) and pop in the oven when I am ready. That means less racing to get dinner done and more wine sipping and magazine reading during the pre-dinner hour. I also love that lasagna almost always means left overs!
I added a ton of greens (kale and spinach) and some mushrooms to this lasagna. I found baby kale at the market that is already washed and ready to eat…less prep work! I also used fresh lasagna noodles…no boiling first! You can use regular noodles and par-boil them first or use no-boil noodles as well. My other time saver is a store bought marinara. Just look for one that doesn’t have a bunch of junk in it (like Prego & Ragu do).
When it comes to the greens, you can sauté them as is (especially if you can find washed and trimmed kale), or you can chop them like I do. I do them in batches in the food processor (just pulse until roughly chopped). My kids are o.k. with greens if they are chopped really small. It’s an extra step that you don’t need to take if everyone in your house loves the greens. You can also go with all spinach if you aren’t a fan of kale (which would just be crazy :)).
I could not live without my food processor!
I love the earthy flavor that you get from mushrooms!
A layer of sauce goes on top of the olive oil in the bottom of your baking dish.
Then a layer of lasagna noodles and a layer of the ricotta cheese mixture.
Next goes the greens and mushrooms mixture topped with sliced tomatoes.
The finished product topped with a final layer of noodles, sauce, and cheese.
This dinner was a really big hit with all of my boys (the little ones and the Hubs!). They were claiming the left overs before the dinner was even finished!
Lasagna with Heirloom Tomatoes, Spinach and Kale
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 8 ounce package of mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped small
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 ounce package of baby spinach
- 5 ounce package of baby kale OR one bunch of kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
- 4 cups of store bough or home made marinara sauce
- 3 cups ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup of fresh Italian parsley, chopped fine
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped fine
- 8 ounces of fresh mozzerella cheese, drained, patted dry and thinly sliced
- 2 cups of grated mozzerella cheese
- 4-5 (depending on size) assorted heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- 8 ounces of fresh lasagna noodles (if using dried pasta, par-boil first)
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Optional: Pulse spinach and kale in a food processor until chopped small (not as small as you would do for pesto, more of a rough chop).
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Add a couple turns of olive oil to a medium pan and saute mushrooms with a pinch of salt and some pepper over medium/high heat to brown. Once they have released their liquid and browned (best way to do this is not to mess with them too much), remove them from the pan and set aside to cool. Add a little more olive oil and saute the onion for about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Turn up the heat and add the greens (either as-is or chopped) and some salt and pepper to the pan and stir to evenly wilt and cook off some of the liquid (about 3-5 minutes). Once the greens are done, add the mushrooms back to the pan and mix to combine. Taste to make sure it is all well seasoned and set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, beaten egg, chopped parsley and basil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and some fresh ground pepper and set aside.
Now you are ready to assemble. In a large baking dish (I use a deep 9×13 lasagna pan), drizzle a little olive oil (about 3 tablespoons) on the bottom. Next add 1/3 of the marinara sauce followed by a layer of noodles. Spread 1/2 of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles followed by 1/2 of the greens/mushroom mix. Next add a layer of sliced tomatoes, then 1/2 of the fresh mozzarella (you will not have enough to fill the pan, just space it out), and 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella. Top off with another 1/3 of the sauce. Repeat with a layer of noodles, ricotta mixture, greens/mushrooms, sliced tomatoes, fresh and shredded mozzarella, and another 1/3 of the sauce. Finish with the last of the noodles, the last of the sauce, and top with the rest of the shredded mozzarella and the rest of the Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake immediately for about 45 minutes (uncover for the last 10 minutes), or refrigerate until ready to bake.