Butternut Squash, Spinach and Zucchini Lasagna. One of my most popular recipes, this delicious vegetarian recipe is rich, creamy and loved by even the pickiest of eaters!
(updated on 10/6/2017)
I’ve done it. I finally made a lasagna that I can’t wait to make again.
No seriously, as I type this, I really just want to jump right into that pan of cheesy vegetable goodness. Now, before you start thinking too much, let me just say, this was my first time photographing lasagna. ever. The layers may not look perfect, but the food and ingredients are all real. And so super delicious that I can’t wait to make it again.
So, lasagna. Usually I’m not a huge fan of ’em. Especially meat lasagna, I just can’t do it. But, for some reason, vegetarian versions always sound good to me. Maybe it’s because in my mind, no meat translates to more cheese (and I love cheese); but the real reason is probably that I don’t care for ground beef in tomato sauce. Now, in lasagnas defense, I’ve only had a handful of different beef varieties in my lifetime. Maybe I just haven’t had a good one. Growing up, my family went crazy for the stuff so I always just accepted that it wasn’t my thing.
My entire attitude toward lasagna changed after my first bite of this butternut squash, zucchini and spinach lasagna. It may not be your traditional comforting meal made up of layers of cheese, meat and noodles, but no one in my house seemed to notice. Octavian even ate it! Cheese aside, this delicious Fall dish is super healthy and bursting with flavor (and since I consider cheese to be healthy, I definitely had seconds). It’s a great meal to prepare ahead of time and warm later in the week, or freeze, thaw and bake a couple months down the road when you forget to buy groceries.
Basically, I’m obsessed.
It’s made up of layers of spinach and pureed butternut squash sandwiched between pasta and zucchini noodles. And cheese, there’s lots and lots of cheese.
(updated on 10/06/2017)
Butternut Squash, Spinach and Zucchini Lasagna
Prep Time: 1 hour| Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Recipe adapted from Julia’s Album
BUTTERNUT SQUASH FILLING
Butternut squash puree from 1 large or two small roasted butternut squash or 3 cans
1.5 cups ricotta cheese
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cups milk (more if needed)
1/4 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Spinach Ricotta Filling
3 16 ounce bags frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of all extra water
1.5 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 medium zucchini sliced into 1/8″ thick noodles (I used this)
10-15 sheets no-boil lasagna noodles (or lasagna noodle of choice)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (for the top)
Fresh basil, for topping
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
FOR THE BUTTERNUT SQUASH FILLING
- Roast and puree your own butternut squash, (see how to here) or buy it canned from the market. If neither are available to you, pureed pumpkin is another great option.
- Place the cooked (or canned) butternut squash, ricotta, garlic, milk, salt + pepper, and nutmeg in the bowl of a large food processor. Puree until completely smooth. Add more milk if needed- you want the butternut squash filling to be thick and creamy, but not runny. Season to taste.
FOR THE SPINACH RICOTTA MIX
- Remove excess water from the thawed spinach; you can do this using a mesh wire strainer, cheesecloth, or tea cloth. Transfer the spinach to a large mixing bowl with the ricotta cheese, mozzarella, fresh chopped basil, salt and pepper. Mix until fully combined.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
- Prepare your baking dish (I usually use a large, deep casserole dish, 12.38″L x 9.25″W x 2″H, but the one shown in the images is slightly larger). Spray dish with non-stick cooking spray of choice.
- Spread 1/3 of the butternut squash filling on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with a thin layer of mozzarella cheese and cover with a single, non-overlapping layer of no-boil lasagna noodles (approx. 5). Gently spread half the spinach mixture over the noodles and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Top with a layer of sliced zucchini*
- (REPEAT) Spread 1/3 of the butternut squash mixture over the sliced zucchini layer. Sprinkle with a light layer of mozzarella cheese and top with a single, non-overlapping layer of no-boil lasagna noodles (approx. 5). Spread the second half of the spinach mixture on top of the lasagna noodles. Top with mozzarella cheese and top with a layer of sliced zucchini.
- Spread the remaining 1/3 of the butternut squash filling over the zucchini and sprinkle with grated Parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle fresh basil leaves on top of the cheese.
- Cover the baking dish with a large foil “tent” and bake for approximately 20-30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden.
- Top with additional fresh basil, if desired.
*If your zucchini noodles are super thin, you can make a layer 2-3 noodles thick.
Seriously, my favorite!