I’m going to start right off and tell you that I’ve been working for almost nine years to get to this moment in time. It wasn’t easy to get here, but I never gave up on my dream. And finally the moment I’ve been hoping for actually happened today. My husband ate vegetable lasagna. It was more than I could have imagined. He not only ate it, he went back for more. And then packed some away for lunch later this week. I feel like I won a little prize today. Not because the lasagna was amazingly good (it was), but because it means that little by little we’ve made small changes to our family’s diet over the years that have really impacted all of us in major ways. When I told John today that I was planning to make vegetable lasagna he didn’t even flinch. That was a first. And when I served it up for dinner he didn’t hesitate to dive right in. Because these days he knows (mostly because I never stop telling him) that food is about more than filling our bellies until we’re well beyond satisfied. In our house it’s beginning to be more about nourishment and health benefits…more about how we feel after eating the meal rather than how we feel about the meal itself. It’s about learning all we can about the diseases that run in our families (which are numerous) and what we can do to prevent those things from happening to us or our children. So you see, I’m feeling pretty darn good about this lasagna.
But it wasn’t all about the accomplishment, this lasagna surprised even me with its flavor and heartiness. Mushrooms and spinach are perfect partners in many dishes, and they worked together beautifully here. The mushrooms gave the lasagna a satisfying heartiness and earthy flavor, which is why I don’t think my husband missed the meat at all. And the spinach balances the flavor with a little bit of freshness. The cheese layer was perfectly balanced as well, using a mixture of ricotta and freshly grated whole milk mozzarella. I always recommend grating your own cheese – you’ll get so much more flavor out of it than the pre-grated kind. (Just compare the list of ingredients if you need convincing.) And it melts perfectly too, giving the dish that ooey-gooey cheesiness I remember from the lasagnas my Mom used to make.
Just because I really enjoy the mushroom/spinach combination doesn’t mean you have to. Feel free to switch those out with some of your favorite vegetables. Zucchini is a natural addition, and this is a perfect dish to make when you have a bumper crop in the garden. This freezes really well too, so you can make a few batches when the vegetables are fresh (and on sale if you don’t have a garden yourself) and enjoy the fruits of your labor for months to come.
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