Autumn Goodness: Pumpkin Lasagna (Vegetarian)

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.” — Henry David Thoreau

If you’re anything like me you probably have customs; things you do to welcome the return of Fall. For me it’s decorating the home with pumpkins, cozy candles, pillows and blankets. Other things on my list are planning Thanksgiving, a visit to the pumpkin patch, carving jack-o-lanterns with family in October, Fall themed movie nights and plenty of comfort food cooking.

Tonight I made fresh Pumpkin lasagna with ricotta and spinach. For the pasta I combine a cup of flour and 2 eggs. I let the dough sit in a ball on the counter for 25 minutes then run it through my pasta maker to create lasagna sheets. Nothing beats the flavour of homemade pasta. I recommend trying it if you have the patience.

If Autumn had a flavour it would have to be root veggies, colourful squash and pumpkin. Join me in the kitchen, it’s time to cook!

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • For the noodles:
  • For fresh noodles – 1 Cup Flour + 2 Eggs OR
  • 6 boxed lasagna noodles cooked in boiling salted water.
  • Ricotta Cheese Mixture:
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bag spinach
  • 1 large container of Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder or to taste (I always add extra)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt or more to taste.. I find ricotta quite bland so I sprinkled extra salt over the ricotta while assembling the lasagna.
  • Freshly ground white or black pepper
  • For Pumpkin Layer:
  • 1 can of Pumpkin puree (398 ml)
  • 1/4 cup Almond Milk or regular Milk
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice – You can also just add 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice mix if you have it. Yes, the same one you use for pumpkin pie.
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt or to taste
  • Freshly ground white or black pepper
  • For The Layers:
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • To garnish:
  • Fresh chopped parsley or fresh chopped sage leaves. I picked 3 sage leaves from the garden and used them.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees for fresh pasta or 400 degrees F for boxed lasagna.
  2. Grease a baking pan.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the lasagna noodles. If you’re using fresh lasagna like me, 90 seconds will do. You’ll need too cook boxed noodles for about 6 minutes and drain. Run cold water over the drained pasta so that you can assemble the lasagna immediately without burning your hands.
  4. Cook the spinach in a shallow pan. Add ½ tablespoon olive oil over medium heat and cook spinach, season with a little salt and pepper and cook until spinach wilts down. Add to a medium bowl and allow to cool for a minute or two.
  5. Add the Ricotta to the bowl with spinach as well as the egg, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper and set aside.
  6. Next make the pumpkin mixture by adding the canned pumpkin, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, salt and pepper to a bowl and mix all together. Taste and add more salt or spices as you see fit.
  7. To assemble the lasagna, spread a cup of the pumpkin mixture to the bottom of the baking dish. Place 2 lasagna noodles on top of the pumpkin mixture.
  8. Spread half of the spinach-ricotta mixture on top of the noodles, then top with ¾ cup shredded mozzarella.
  9. Next, add the rest of the pumpkin mixture on top of the mozzarella and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese.
  10. Repeat layers once more: adding 2 more noodles, remaining spinach-ricotta mixture, ¾ cup shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Finally, top with remaining 2 noodles + shredded mozzarella cheese.
  11. For fresh homemade noodles, place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes then broil for a few minutes to brown the cheese overtop. For boxed noodles cover pan with foil and bake covered for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15-20 minutes until cheese starts to brown just a bit.
  12. Garnish with extra parmesan and chopped sage and/or parsley. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

What a wonderful twist to an Italian staple. The pumpkin gives this recipe an earthy spiced flavour. It’s very mild and you’ll enjoy this one if you’re not a huge fan of tomato sauce.

Thanks for joining me today.

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With gratitude.

Love,

Jennifer

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