Spice Up Your Life: Cap off this week with a yummy spinach mushroom lasagna

Spinach mushroom lasagna is a filling, flavorful dinner while being completely vegetarian. Paired with a thick slice of bread, this dinner is a crowd pleaser.

By Lindsey Young, Harvey County Now

I bought so many mushrooms this week.
And when I tell you that even the cashier at our local grocery store asked me what was up with the mushrooms, you know I definitely bought more than a normal person does.
What can I say? I love a good sale. And this sale included big, beautiful portabella mushroom caps. Who can resist?
I felt like the find was serendipity, considering I just purchased a clearance container of ricotta cheese earlier in the week. The universe was telling me to make lasagna, and who am I to deny divine providence when it comes to my dinner menu?
So the recipe I tried comes from one of my absolute favorite food blogs, “Damn Delicious.” It’s written by Chungah Rhee, and I have seriously never tried one of her recipes that failed. She makes really, really good food. You can find the original post for this recipe at https://damndelicious.net/2015/03/07/creamy-spinach-and-mushroom-lasagna/. I added more garlic and doubled the seasonings in my version.

Spinach Mushroom Lasagna
Sauce Ingredients
1/4 cup butter
1 small yellow onion, diced
6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced (I used portabellas)
1/4 cup flour (might need more)
3 cups milk (I used skim)
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried parsley
pinch nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste

Other Ingredients
9 lasagna noodles
15 ounces ricotta
1 tablespoon dried parsley
20 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
3 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
3/4 cup grated parmesan, divided (use fresh or the bottled stuff)
salt and pepper, to taste

Start with the sauce. In a Dutch oven or stock pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until it is getting soft. Add in the garlic and mushrooms, and continue sauteing for a few minutes until the mushrooms reduce down and soften a bit.
Stir in the flour, making sure to soak up any butter or juices from the vegetables. (If there is still liquid in the pot, add more flour, a little at a time, until it’s all soaked up.) Continue stirring to cook the flour taste out of the mixture for about two minutes.
Gradually add in the milk while stirring. Continue stirring constantly, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot, until the sauce thickens slightly. That should take around five minutes or so.
Stir in the basil, oregano, parsley and nutmeg, along with salt and pepper. Remove the sauce from the heat.
In another large pot, boil the lasagna noodles according to package directions.
While the noodles cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Stir the dried parsley, along with some salt and pepper into the ricotta. Also add salt and pepper, to taste, to the chopped spinach.
When the noodles are done, spread about one cup of the sauce in the bottom of a deep nine-by-13-inch baking dish.
Lay three lasagna noodles over the sauce. Top that with half of the ricotta cheese, then half of the spinach, then one cup mozzarella and one-quarter cup parmesan.
Repeat those layers.
Finish the lasagna off with a layer of noodles, the rest of the sauce and the rest of the cheese.
Bake, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes or until the lasagna is bubbling. Turn the broiler on high for about two minutes to brown the top.
Let the lasagna sit 10 to 15 minutes before serving, and refrigerate any leftovers.

This was very, very good, and it was filling, too. I paired it with a loaf of Italian bread, and there was no way we were even considering dessert after dinner. The mushrooms make this meatless meal feel substantial, and using the portabellas (you could also use creminis or baby bellas or another meatier mushroom) gave a depth of flavor to this that didn’t make you even think about the lack of animal protein.
Plus, it ended up making a ton of leftovers that Joey and I have been enjoying throughout the week, and it reheats really well. And the good news is I still have a few more big mushroom caps to use this week. Shopping the grocery sales is often an adventure and rarely a disappointment.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly recipe column by Lindsey Young, who describes herself as an enthusiastic amateur cook and can be reached through her website at spiceupkitchen.net.