Lasagna is one of those dishes that seems like it is going to be tricky and time consuming to make, but is actually quite easy to prepare. It makes a big batch, so it is a great dish to make to feed a crowd, but it is also a good option for a smaller group, since you can slice it up and freeze portions, ready to reheat a few days or weeks down the line for a quick (yet still homemade) dinner!
I’m not a big fan of lasagnas that go overboard with cheese. Instead, I prefer lasagnas that have a good balance of meat, veggies and spices in them to keep them interesting. This lasagna is a good example, as it incorporates ground beef, spinach, mushrooms, onions and garlic into it. It isn’t heavy on cheese, although it does use ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, which I think keeps it a little lighter and a little healthier than some other recipes. I cheated a little bit and used good quality jarred marinara sauce as a base, as well as no-boil lasagna noodles, which saved on prep time.
About 1 hour after you start cooking, you’ll be ready to sit down to eat. The sauce for this lasagna is meaty and flavorful, with lots of nice garlic flavor and a hint of spice from the red pepper flakes. Add in more pepper when you’re preparing the sauce if you like things spicier. You can actually taste the spinach in the spinach filling because the ricotta and parmesan cheese that it is mixed in with don’t overwhelm it. Mozzarella on top, of course, adds a classic lasagna look to everything.
Beef, Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups crimini mushrooms, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1-lb lean ground beef
salt and pepper, to taste
2 16-oz jars marinara sauce
10-oz chopped, frozen spinach, defrosted
16-oz ricotta cheese
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
9 no-boil lasagna noodles
Preheat oven to 375F.
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat, add olive oil and saute onions for 2-3 minutes, until just beginning to soften. Add mushrooms, garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, until mushrooms are softened. Add ground beef and cook just until meat is no longer pink, breaking it up with a spatula as it cooks. Add marinara sauce, turn heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
While the sauce simmers, combine spinach, ricotta and parmesan in a large bowl and mix well.
Take out a 9×13-inch baking dish. Cover the bottom with about 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce. Evenly space 3 no-boil lasagna noodles on top of the sauce layer. Top noodles with about half of the spinach mixture, spreading it into an even layer. Top with about 1/2 of the remaining sauce. Top this sauce layer with 3 more noodles, followed by the ricotta spinach mixture, followed by the remaining noodles. Pour all of the remaining sauce over the noodles and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil.
Bake for 30 minutes (you may want to put your baking dish on a baking sheet to catch any drips), then uncover the lasagna and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until sauce is slightly bubbly.
Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before slicing.