Friday, June 29, 2012

Lasagna Primavera (Vegetarian)

Mom keeps a 3-ring binder of recipes, filled with those clear document protectors, filled with handwritten recipes, newspaper clippings, recipes from jar labels, and torn out pages from magazines. I inherited a few recipes from this binder once I was out living on my own and cooking for myself. One of the main ones I ALWAYS wanted, though, was her lasagna recipe.

This is THE lasagna that my Mom has made for the family for as long as I can remember; she never would serve use frozen/Stouffer's lasagna, with the neon orange meat sauce and greasy cheese. Her lasagna was always filled with colorful vegetables, and, though her recipe was meatless, you never did miss the meat.

Plus, you know how much I love "primavera". 

I couldn't recall WHERE she got the recipe, but, for some reason, I always thought it had something to do with Paul Newman. After consulting with Detective Google, I found that the recipe was the $50,000 grand prize winner, created by Janet Sutherland, from a 1992 contest sponsored by Newman's Own, founded by Paul Newman, who was also the judge of the contest. 

So, 20 years after it started making the rounds in my family, I'm sharing it with you and yours!

Lasagna Primavera
adapted from Newman's Own

1 8oz package lasagna noodles
3 carrots, peeled & sliced 1/4" thick
1 cup zucchini, sliced 1/4" thick
1 cup crookneck (yellow) squash, sliced 1/4" thick
1 cup broccoli florets
2 10oz packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 26oz jar marinara sauce with mushrooms
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the lasagna noodles and cook 5 minutes. Add the carrots (don't remove the lasagna noodles) and cook for 2 minutes. Add the zucchini, squash and broccoli; cook for 2 minutes or until the pasta is almost tender.

Drain the noodles and vegetables together in a large colander; separate the noodles and set aside.

Squeeze the liquid out of the thawed spinach and combine with the ricotta cheese.

NOTE: The original recipe calls for baking everything in a 13x9" baking dish.  I prefer to split up my lasagna into two 8x8" square baking dishes; this recipe freezes remarkably well, and I'm usually not cooking for more than 2 people at once. I usually use my glass 8x8" dish and a disposable foil baking dish; the foil portion gets frozen and can be baked directly in the foil. I also like to use the foil dish in case I give the lasagna away, as the recipient doesn't have to worry about returning my dish. 

Spread 1/2 cup of marinara sauce along the bottom of each baking dish. Top with 1 layer of cooked lasagna noodles; you will probably have to cut the noodles to get them to fit.

Cover the noodles in each dish with 1/4 of the cooked vegetables. Then, top the vegetables in each dish with 1/4 of the spinach/ricotta mixture.

Next, top the spinach/ricotta layer in each dish with 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella. Cover with 1/2 cup of marinara sauce per dish, then cover with another layer of lasagna noodles.

Repeat the layering with the remaining vegetables, spinach/ricotta and mozzarella. Top with a final layer of lasagna noodles, then cover with the remaining marinara.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Look at all those layers!

Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, or until hot in the center. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Letting the lasagna cool before cutting makes it easier to cut. You can also change the direction of your noodles when assembling. Go up-and-down on the first layer of noodles, then left-to-right on the next layer of noodles, and so forth.

You can make the lasagna up to two days in advance, and keep it refrigerated. Or, for longer storage, simply freeze the lasagna. When cold or frozen, simply bake the lasagna for 1 hour at 350 degrees. 

Today, I baked the lasagna in the glass dish, but have the second portion in this throwaway foil dish for another day!


  1. Thank you thank you thank you for this recipe!!! It is beyond amazing and the only lasagna I will ever make now!