Up the ante a bit with your next vegetarian lasagna. My Meatless Monday Spinach, Artichoke and Kale Lasagna is creamy, hearty and packed with tasty, colorful veggies.
I love a good bargain. Who doesn’t? Whether it’s shoes, paper product or groceries (but especially shoes), I get pretty excited by the discounts. I strolled by the close-outs display at the grocery store recently and found marinated artichokes labeled 50% off. I knew I’d use them (hello Spinach, Artichoke and Kale Lasagna!), so I scooped up two jars.
Long ago I worked in the marketing department of a local food bank, and I learned how grocery stores use (or don’t use) their products. I checked the dates on the jars of artichokes, and they weren’t set to expire until 2017. They weren’t damaged, either. Maybe the company that produced the artichokes changed their labels or the store decided to no longer carry the product. Whatever the case, these discounted marinated artichokes were in good shape, and they would soon be mine.
I loved the idea of making lasagna that included the artichokes, but I didn’t want to use red sauce. A creamy béchamel would do nicely for this vegetarian version. Keep in mind that my recipe for béchamel will leave you with leftovers. You can include the leftovers (add more milk to thin it) as the base for a creamy soup, or maybe a casserole. I had some kale in the fridge and thought the added greens would fit in perfectly with this lasagna. The combination of spinach, artichoke and kale leaves you with several pretty shades of green.
Meatless Monday Spinach, Artichoke, and Kale Lasagna is creamy and rich, and a lovely vegetarian meal. You’ll get 9 servings from this recipe, so invite a friend or two for dinner, or enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day.
Recipe for Meatless Monday Spinach, Artichoke and Kale Lasagna
For the béchamel
- 3 cups milk
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
For the lasagna
- 12 lasagna noodles (you’ll use 9, but I added 3 extra in case a few break or tear as they cook)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup diced yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups (tightly packed) fresh spinach leaves
- 2 cups (loosely packed) kale, chopped into 2-inch strips
- 1 (12-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- Nonstick cooking spray
For the béchamel
- Add the butter to a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Once melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until golden, about 3-5 minutes.
- Heat the milk in a separate pan. Just before the milk boils, remove it from the heat.
- Add the milk to the butter mixture, about 1 cup at a time, whisking as you go, until all the milk is added. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat, just so it’s not boiling over. Cook for about 10 minutes.
- Remove it from the heat and stir in the salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
For the lasagna
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x12-inch baking dish with the nonstick spray and set it aside. As you make the béchamel, cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions.
- Add the oil to a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until they soften.
- Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the vegetable broth and black pepper, and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Add the kale to the skillet and cook until it softens, 3-4 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the spinach. Mix and allow the spinach to wilt. Add the chopped artichoke to the mixture and toss to combine. There shouldn’t be much liquid left in the skillet, but if there is, just drain it off.
- Spread a thin layer of the béchamel mixture over the bottom of the pan (you may need to warm the sauce slightly to keep it spreadable, as it may thicken as it cools).
- Add a layer of lasagna noodles (3) over the béchamel. I trimmed the ends of the noodles so they would fit in the pan.
- Spread a thin layer of the béchamel over the noodles, followed by 1/2 the vegetable mixture. Evenly dollop 1/2 the ricotta cheese over the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese on the top.
- Repeat with 3 lasagna noodles, a thin layer of béchamel, the remaining vegetable mixture, the remaining ricotta, and the remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Finish by placing 3 lasagna noodles over the top. Spread a thin layer of béchamel evenly over the top of the noodles, not quite to the edges, and sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for about 5 minutes or until the top begins to turn golden.
- You can finish by placing the lasagna under the broiler for 15-30 seconds to turn the cheese more golden, watching carefully so it doesn’t burn.
- Remove from the oven and allow it to cool slightly before cutting and serving.