Vegetarian Lasagna Recipe with Caramelized Onions & Spinach

Last night we (my mom and I) were in the mood for some traditional Italian food. Born and brought up in Staten Island, I can say I know a thing or two about homestyle Italian cuisine. So I decided to make vegetarian lasagna, but of course with some Priyanka updates! I’m not a huge fan of regular marinara sauce (plus I’m getting older and eating too much tomato sauce causes acid reflux, ew!). Anyways, back to my lasagna creation- I made it 2 layers, each filled with a slightly different mixtures, used low-fat and fat-free ingredients (to keep it healthy of course) and I used a yummy rustic vegetable sauce that added texture and flavor. It was so traditional yet untraditional at the same time! Spicy ricotta filling combined with sweet caramelized onions and garlicky spinach made this lasagna extra flavorful and delicious! This is definitely a dish that the whole family will love. Plus it’s PACKED with nutrients (iron, calcium, etc) and is easy to make!

Vegetarian Lasagna Recipe:

Ricotta Filling:

  • 1 15oz Fatfree Ricotta (I used Polly-O Brand or Vegan Substitute)
  • 2 red roasted pepper slices- diced (I used peppers packed in oil)
  • 1 tbsp dried basil (use fresh if you have it on hand!)
  • 1-2 tsp dried italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp red crushed pepper (adjust to your spice level!)
  • coarse black pepper- few grinds
  • 1 tbsp salt

Caramelized Onions:

  • 1 large white onion- sliced into thin rainbows
  • 3 cloves garlic- crushed and minced
  • 1 tbsp red crushed pepper (or to taste!)
  • coarse black pepper- a few grinds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • PAM olive oil flavor
  • 1-2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (try to use a good brand!)

Garlicky Spinach:

  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach (or 1 package frozen spinach)
  • 3 cloves garlic- thinly sliced
  • 3-4 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • coarse black pepper- few grinds
  • PAM olive oil flavor

Remaining Ingredients:

For the Ricotta Mixture:

1. In a small bowl mix all the ingredients together and set aside. It’s best to make it ahead of time, as the ingredients can mingle together and become really flavorful!

For the Onions:

1. In a medium-sized non-stick skillet spray with PAM and add oil, set over medium-low heat. Add garlic and saute for about 1 minute until fragrant and golden. Add sliced onions and saute for about 1 minute. Add all the seasonings and saute. Set over low heat and saute until really soft, golden-brown and caramelized. This will take about 15 minutes. You want all the onions to be soft, not burnt, and sweet. Set aside when finished.

For the Spinach:

1. Spray the same non-stick skillet with PAM and set over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant and golden about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add spinach and cook down. After 1 minute add seasonings and keep sauteeing. After about 3-4 minutes, add 1-2 tbsp of the water and cook covered. Open, and check if the spinach is tender and garlicky. If it still is not completely tender, add remaining tbsp of water and cook with a lid until tender and garlicky. Once finished, set aside.

To layer:

1. Preheat oven 400 degrees. Spray a large rectangular oven-safe dish.

2. Stir the half & half with the sauce until creamy (I like to keep my sauce rustic and chunky, but you can smooth it if you like!). Place 1/4 of the sauce on the bottom of the dish. Layer the dish with 3 lasagna sheets.

3. Place a hefty dollop of ricotta mixture on each sheet and coat each sheet evenly. Top each sheet with the spinach mixture, making sure each sheet has an equal amount.

4. Add the next lasagna sheet layer. Add the remaining ricotta mixture evenly onto each sheet. Top with caramelized onions, making sure each sheet has an equal amount.

5. Top with the last lasagna sheets. Pour remaining sauce all over the lasagna, making sure to cover everything. The lasagna sheets are raw, so make sure to add enough water so its not dry and the sheets have enough water to cook! Cover with foil and place in the 400 degree oven on the middle rack. Bake for about 30-35 minutes.

6. Carefully uncover a portion of the lasagna and using a fork, check to see if the sheets are cooked (if the fork goes through smoothly, with no resistence, then its cooked!

7. Once the sheets are cooked through, remove from oven and uncover. Place all of the mozzarella and parmigiana cheese on tops, spreading evenly. Place back into the oven, uncovered and bake for about 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbling.

8. Remove from oven and let stand for about 2-4 minutes. Using a knife and spatula cut a nice big square and place on a serving dish. Serve with garlic bread and a dollop of pesto (if desired). Enjoy!

Serves about 6-10


3 thoughts on “Vegetarian Lasagna Recipe with Caramelized Onions & Spinach

  1. Sounds yummy! I also made Italiano the other day: parpadella with garlic, tomatoes, onions, basil, serrano peppers and roasted eggplant in a chicken boullion and wine sauce. It was yum (I think) and healthy. I needed however a certain cheese to garnish it — any ideas?

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