Spinach Lasagna with Raisins and Walnuts
I rediscovered this recipe from my 1981 edition of EATER’S GUIDE—NUTRITION BASICS FOR BUSY PEOPLE, while searching for a good “make ahead” recipe for a dinner gathering of friends. The original recipe was simplified by substituting oven-ready lasagna noodles for the homemade manicotti crepes in the original recipe. I also added spinach to the cheese filling for more fiber, magnesium, and other protective compounds including folate and antioxidant carotenoids.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lg onion, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
- 2 lg carrots, peeled & chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
- 12 oz fresh mushrooms, washed, chopped (about 4 cups)
- 3 lg cloves garlic, minced
- 1 28-oz can tomato puree
- 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes, preferably low-sodium
- ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
- ½ cup fresh basil, chopped (or 1 tbsp dried basil)
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp thyme
- ½ tsp allspice
- 1 cup red wine
Cheese & Spinach Filling:
- 16-oz carton full-fat ricotta cheese (2 cups)
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated coarsely
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 lb frozen spinach, loose pack (equals about 3 cups cooked or 6 half-cup servings spinach)
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 12-oz. oven-ready lasagna noodles (I used Trader Joe’s Italian)
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (reserve for topping)
Heat oven to 350-degrees.
To make the Tomato Sauce, saute the onions, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic in the olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add the tomato puree and diced tomatoes, along with the parsley, herbs, spices, and wine. Simmer together for 5-10 minutes while you prepare the Cheese & Spinach Filling.
To make the Cheese & Spinach Filling: Mix together the ricotta and mozzarella cheese with the eggs. Stir in the spinach. It’s OK if the chopped spinach is still frozen; just be sure to break up any large chunks). Then blend in the nutmeg, walnuts, and raisins.
To assemble, oil a 9×13-inch oven-safe pan with olive oil. Coat the pan with about 1/3 of the Tomato Sauce. Add a layer of noodles. Now add a cheese layer and cover this with another layer of noodles. Spread more Tomato Sauce over the noodles. Add another layer of the Cheese & Spinach Filling. Cover with another layer of noodles. Top with the rest of the Tomato Sauce. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese. You can store the lasagna in the refrigerator until ready to bake. It is also safe to store unrefrigerated for several hours if you prefer not to get the assembled dish too chilled in the refrigerator, as that will increase the time required for baking.
About an hour before your guests arrive, bake the lasagna in a 350-degree F. oven. for 45-60 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling & the cheese on top is melted, but not too brown.
Serves 10. Each serving provides about 560 calories, 26g protein, 25g fat (10g sat), 95mg cholesterol, 57g carbohydrate (18g sugar, 7g fiber), 435 mg calcium, 95 mg magnesium, 750 mg sodium, 1085 mg potassium.
Please note that nearly 25% of the calories in each serving come from the pasta, so you might consider reducing the noodle layers and using only 8 oz (half package) of the pre-cooked lasagna noodles (for 515 calories/serving version).