This Spinach & Ricotta lasagne dish is easy to prepare and makes a great family vegetarian meal. I used to do this as a canelloni, but found that a lasagne is much quicker and less fiddly to prepare! If you can't get hold of ricotta cheese, you can use mascarpone instead, which at the moment seems to be more readily available. I use fresh lemons in this recipe which go so well with the cheese. I also use passata on the top and bottom of the lasagne as it's quicker to prepare and also keeps the dish relatively light.
You will need a square or rectangular oven proof dish. I use a lasagne dish that is 26cm x 18cm (internal measurement) as I can fit 3 lasagna sheets across without having to break them. This is big enough for 4 people. You can of course use dishes that are other sizes. You should try not to have lasagne sheets overlapping as they won't cook as well. If you do need to break them, score them with a sharp knife first. Don't worry if it looks a bit messy, once the sauce is poured over them, they won't be seen.
What do you put on the bottom layer of lasagne?
Basically, you don't want the lasagne to stick to the bottom of the dish. The easisest thing to do is to start off with a layer of sauce. In this case, spread half of the passata over the bottom of your lasagne dish.
How many layers is best for lasagne?
Different lasagnes will need a different number of layers of lasagne sheets. More lasagne sheets are not necessarily better as it can make the dish quite dense. It also very much depends on your filling. The filling in this Spinach and Ricotta lasagne for example is not that chunky so we can use more lasagne sheet layers than in for example our Leek Cauliflower and Kale Lasagne You want to fill your dish to just below the top so the sauce doesn't bubble over. Always top off the lasagne with a final layer of sheets, then the sauce (not the filling) then the grated cheese. This will stop the filling from burning and give a nice crust on the top.
Should lasagne be covered in the oven?
A lasagne should cook in the oven for 35 - 40 minutes so you shouldn't need to cover it as the top will not burn in this time. If you are keeping a lasagne warm in the oven or are re-heating it, you might want to loosely cover it to prevent the top from browning any further.
Spinach can be bought all year round, but is in season March until June. Spinach has a high water content so reduces to about a quarter when cooked. If you have slightly more spinach than the quantity quoted in the recipe, use it up. It won't make much difference and is better than it going to waste. Spinach will keep in the fridge for 3 -4 days. All the ingredients in this recipe are available as organic. Organic produce has a lower environmental impact. For more information about organic produce, have a look at my Eating Sustainably page.
Did you know that lemons are now available as Fairtrade? If you can't buy them locally, do encourage your local shop to stock them. Fairtrade nutmeg powder is sourced from Sri Lanka through the Small Organic Farmer Association.
You can prepare this Spinach and Ricotta Lasagne up to 24 hours in advance if you need to. Keep it in the fridge. Once cooked, it can be stored in the fridge for 2 - 3 days.
How to reheat cooked Lasagne
Ideally, you want to defrost your lasagne before reheating. If you're not able to do this, you can defrost it in the microwave on the defrost setting for about 5 minutes. Once defrosted, cover it with foil to stop the top from burning or browning further. Place it on an ovenproof dish and reheat in the oven at 190°C / 375°F/ gas mark 5 for 20 - 30 minutes. The lasagne should be piping hot before serving. To check this, place a fork in the middle of the lasagne for a few seconds. If the fork is hot, the lasagne is also hot in the middle. The middle will be the last bit to reheat.
Spinach and Ricotta Lasagne
- 2 tbsp olive oil organic, fairtrade
- 2 onions organic, peeled, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic organic, peeled, crushed
- 300 g spinach organic
- 1 dash nutmeg organic, fairtrade
- 1 lemons organic, fairtrade, zested and juiced
- 500 g low fat ricotta cheese organic or use mascarpone
- 100 g Parmesan cheese organic, grated
- 1 dash black pepper organic, fairtrade, freshly ground
- 12 lasagna sheets organic
- 500 g passata organic
- 320 g green salad organic, to serve
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Add the olive oil to the pan and fry the onion over a medium heat until soft. Add the garlic together with the spinach and nutmeg and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Add in the ricotta cheese with the lemon zest, juice and half the parmesan. Season with black pepper
- Spread half the passata on the bottom of an oven proof dish. Place a layer of lasagne sheets on top. Add a layer of the spinach and ricotta mixture, cover with another layer of lasagne sheets and repeat until all the mixture is used up. Add a final layer of lasagne sheets.
- Pour the remainder of the passata over the top and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. If you are using a larger dish, you may need more cheese.
- Bake in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is golden. Serve with the green salad.