Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Spinach Black Bean Lasagna

Back in the day when hubby and I were glowing and engaged, we had the great joy of planning our wedding and the most fun of all: the reception menu. With the carnivores in charge (our families and hubby) we of course, had Filet Mignon as the main act. For my sake, we added a Lobster Tail as the supporting act. For the sake of our 3-5 vegetarian friends, we decided to offer the option of a vegetarian plate on the RSVP cards.

A ridiculous number of invitations went out (big families all around), and finally, I had a wave of relief after surviving several wedding invitation disasters. After practically dancing and skipping out of the post office, I came home and looked lovingly at one of our extra invitations.


That’s right, ladies and gents. 300+ of these babies went all across the country & over the Pacific Ocean to Asia asking my dearest friends and family if they were “vegeterian.” Ever since then, I’ve had it against vegeterians :)

#2 of the Carnivore’s Vegetarian Menu:
Spinach Black Bean Lasagna

Though I absolutely love black beans, I wasn’t quite sure I wanted them in my lasagna. Where’s all the creamy cheese and ground meat? Well, the cheese is still there. Black beans stand in for the usual ground turkey or beef and make both the sauce and filling hearty with a little dose of protein for good measure. The beans are mashed into the pasta sauce so their taste, while still present, is much more subtle than you’d expect. Spinach, red pepper, mushrooms and onion round out the filling with zesty Mexican cheese topping each lasagna layer. Though it may not look all that appetizing below, I promise it is!

Ricotta/Parm/Spinach/Pepper/Mushroom Goodness:

I usually like to make my own pasta sauce, though it typically simmers for about 2 hours; the lasagna takes 1 hour to bake so unfortunately, I didn’t have 3 hours to dedicate to dinner this go-around. I cheated and used two jars of pasta sauce: 1 Mushroom Marinara and 1 jar of Newman's Own Sockarooni sauce. If you are lucky enough to have a big batch of homemade sauce in the freezer, this would be a perfect time to bring it out!

Kevin from Closet Cooking is hosting Presto Pasta Night this week so hurry up and get your entry in!

Spinach Black Bean Lasagna

Lasagna Filling
½ large red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon chili powder
1 tsp olive oil
½ cup sliced mushrooms
2 large eggs, beaten
1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese (lowfat is OK, but don’t use nonfat)
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ cup fresh Parmesan
4 cups shredded Mexican Cheese blend (or Monterey Jack), divided

Black Bean Lasagna Sauce
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 (26 oz) jars pasta sauce or approximately 5 cups homemade pasta sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper (approximate, add more to taste)
9 precooked lasagna noodles (can use no-boil lasagna noodles, if available)

chopped fresh cilantro , for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 13 x 9 baking dish with nonstick spray.
Heat olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add red pepper, onions, and ½ teaspoon cumin and the chili powder; sauté until tender about 6 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, stir together mushroom, eggs, ricotta, spinach, cilantro, salt, Parmesan cheese and 1 cup of the Mexican cheese. Add red pepper / onion mixture. Set aside.

Mash black beans with a potato masher or a hand held immersion blender (I have neither and tried using a fork – not recommended without high levels of patience!) Stir in pasta sauce, cumin and black pepper, to taste. Spread 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Layer with 3 noodles, half of spinach filling mixture, and 1 cup Mexican cheese. Repeat next layer with sauce, 3 noodles, remaining filling and cheese. Top with remaining noodles, sauce and cheese.

Bake, covered, at 350° for 1 hour. Uncover and top with remaining cheese. Bake 5 minutes or until cheese melts and is bubbly. Garnish, with chopped cilantro.


La Bella Cooks said...

I love lasagne, whether it has meat or not. There doesn't seem to be a bad way to make it and yours looks fantastic. All those flavors make you forget the lack of meat. Beautiful, Sharon!

Elle said...

I could totally do this and not miss the meat. It looks amazing! Even if it is vegeterian. ;) I'm sure no on even noticed!

You could have always blamed the printing company.

Trulie Scrumptious said...

Yummy! It looks so good:)Meatless lasagna and pizza were my favourites even when I ate a lot more meat. I will be trying this for sure.

Anonymous said...

This looks fab, I think my hubby might even like this!

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Haha!! Sorry, but I find it hilarious about the spelling vegetarian wrong ;0) Ah well, it happens. That lasagna looks FANTASTIC!!

Katie said...

That looks great!

Jennifer said...

All I can say is YUM!!! I am going to have to try this one out.

test it comm said...

That lasagna looks good! It sounds just as tasty as any meat version and a lot healthier. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights!

Aimee said...

Filet mignon - one of my favorites! This lasagna sounds interesting. I don't care for black beans, so I'm not sure I would like it. Unfortunately, FI doesn't eat cheese, so I won't get to try it out. Well, unless I plan on eating the whole pan. That's not going to help me lose weight! :-)

Anonymous said...

Looks great! I've been playing around with quinoa as a ground meat substitute lately, but I haven't given beans a try yet.

Anonymous said...

Vegeterians...they eat lunch in the vegeteria, I believe :)

Emily said...

I love lasagna! I always eat it "vegeterian". I really do. Do feel too bad about your mishap! I spell stuff wrong all of the time. Hey, you're human.

This looks great!

grace said...

as an ardent lover of black beans, i can be sure that i'd adore this version of lasagna. heck, if i had options like this for every meal, i'd never eat meat again!

Prudy said...

That looks unbelievably good and I love your hilarious story of misspelling. The filling has me drooling...

Sharon said...

bridgett - In the past I haven't experimented with lasagna flavor combinations. Now I'm looking forward to the next dish. However, we need to have some guests over so we can finish this huge pan!

elle - I think I'd like to start adopting the vegeterian word. I like the ring!

trulie - I'm with you. I love meatless pizza. The one exception is bbq chicken.

noble pig - my hubby definitely liked it and as I've mentioned he's the ultimate carnivore.

veggie girl - I agree. Once I got over the initial shock, I ended up calling people and asking them if they noticed. No one had until I blabbed my big mouth :)

katie- thanks!!

jennifer - maybe at a gno get together? I wish I could attend one!

kevin - thanks for hosting! It's quite appropriate with all the yummy pasta dishes you make.

aimee - I feel like I'm eating the whole pan (which is humongous) b/c hubby is starting to get tired of beans and vegetables :) It's not a pretty sight!

marc - I'm definitely interested in experimenting with quinoa as well.

lynn - you crack me up!

emeline - yea, I suppose if you stare at something long enough, the word vegeterian might not pop out!

grace - black beans are my savior. It's the one thing I could eat again and again and again. Oh, besides cookies.

prudie - thanks! Glad the filling picture didn't gross you out. It looked so good in the bowl, but I wasn't sure how it translated in photo.

Anonymous said...

wow sharon. that looks really good. my bestfriend makes fantastic lasagne but never vegetarian really..this is so yummy i bet.

Ruth Daniels said...

Sounds lovely. I've never tried black beans in lasagna, but if it will help the carnivores in my house...especially me, eat less meat, I can't wait to give it a try.

Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights. Hope to see you back ofgten.

Anonymous said...

This is a vegetarians dream! It's got protein, flavor and it just looks delicious! I could eat this every day, really I can. I absolutely love lasgana but have never had black beans in it. Will have to give it a try!

Sarah said...

What a delicious sounding lasagna! As a vegetarian :-) I'm always on the lookout for delicious recipes that replace the more common meat with something else.

I too am a newlywed, my anniversary is July 14th. When were you married?
It's not easy combining to different diets in one household, it's great to meet others who are similar.