This Pumpkin and Spinach Lasagna is just about the perfect meal if you love creamy pastas that melt in your mouth and seem way more indulgent than they actually are. And if you hate baking up those full-size lasagnas that take forever to make and then last forever and a week.
I made this lasagna on a weeknight and it took me no more than 45 minutes to put together (plus baking time). I used those no-boil noodles that cut down on the prep time quite a bit and the 7-inch noodles also fit perfectly in my little baking dish.
There are two kinds of fillings that you need to make for this dish, but they come together easily. One is a pumpkin bechamel sauce that is smooth and velvety and fragrant with nutmeg. I used almond milk for the bechamel but you can use any nondairy milk. The spinach filling is rather like creamed spinach -- in fact if you were looking for a vegan creamed spinach recipe I bet you won't find a better one. I used cashew cream in place of the dairy cream and it was just perfect.
To top the lasagna I used some grated potatoes because I love potatoes and I love the crunch they add to the creamy lasagna. You could go with breadcrumbs mixed with a little oil and herbs if you'd rather.
This lasagna is an extraordinarily healthy indulgence, as you can see from the nutrition label at the end of the oost. A single serving packs nearly 11 grams of protein, more than 8 grams of dietary fiber, and more than 400 percent of your daily requirement for Vitamin A. Although I called this a lasagna for two it could easily feed four people. Or you could brown bag leftovers to lunch, like we did. The only problem is, once you've licked off the last of the crumbs you might be left wishing you had made more.
Creamy Pumpkin and Spinach Lasagna
(Makes 4 servings)
6 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 potato, zapped in the microwave for a minute, then peeled and grated and mixed with 1 tsp olive oil
For the pumpkin bechamel:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
A generous pinch of nutmeg
2 cups nondairy milk like almond or soy
2 tsp olive oil
Heat the oil in a saucepan. Over medium heat add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour glistens, about two minutes.
Add the nondairy milk, stirring constantly with a whisk to prevent lumps from forming. Add the pumpkin puree and continue to whisk. Cook the sauce for 10 minutes. You want it to be thick but fluid, about the consistency of pancake batter. If the sauce gets too thick, add some more nondairy milk.
Add salt and pepper to taste and the nutmeg. Stir well
For the creamed spinach:
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cashew nuts, blended with 1/2 cup of water until very smooth and creamy
8 ounces of frozen, chopped spinach, thawed in the microwave
Salt and pepper to tase.
Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onion and garlic.
Saute over medium heat until the onions turn translucent. Add the flour.
Cook, stirring, about two minutes until the flour glistens. Add the cashew cream and stir well.
Add the thawed spinach and continue cooking about two minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add some water. Add salt and ground pepper and, if desired, a dash of nutmeg.
Turn off the heat.
Zap a potato in the microwave for a minute, then peel and grate it.
To assemble the lasagna:
Spread a ladleful of the pumpkin bechamel on the bottom of a 8 X 5-inch baking dish with sides that are at least 3 inches deep.
Arrange two no-boil noodles on top of the sauce, then pour half of the pumpkin sauce on the noodles and spread evenly.
Place two more lasagna noodles on the pumpkin mixture, pour the the spinach mixture on top and spread evenly.
Place two more lasagna noodles on top of the spinach and spread the remaining pumpkin sauce over the noodles.
Top with the grated potato or breadcrumbs. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes remove the tinfoil and continue to cook. Then turn on the broiler and broil until the potatoes turn golden-brown and crunch, about 5-10 minutes. Keep a close eye on the lasagna at this stage because you don't want the top to burn.
Remove from the oven. Serve the lasagna hot or at room temperature-- it's perfect either way. This recipe would also make a perfect meal for a delicious vegan Thanksgiving.
(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.
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