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Easy and Delicious Meat-Free Dinners for the Whole Family, Part Three: Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna

Photo: meal makeover moms/flickr


Whether you’ve been following the news lately on the WHO's information about meat and health, or you’re just trying to get more vegetables into your family’s diet, these dinner recipes are for you.  All vegetarian and completely satisfying, this series of easy and delicious meals offer a meat-free alternative for even the hungriest of appetites.


Butternut squash and spinach lasagna

Lasagna might not typically be classified as an easy recipe, but this one uses no-boil noodles and replaces béchamel sauce with store-bought ricotta cheese to make it a delicious and deceptively simple dinner. Kids love the sweetness of the squash, which the sage leaves complement with an earthy and herbaceous depth of flavor.  Feel free to substitute other greens here; chard and kale both work marvelously.

Serves 8

1 medium butternut squash

1 bunch of spinach (or other greens), washed and trimmed

1 15oz tub ricotta cheese

1 cup grated parmesan, divided

Salt and freshly ground pepper

12 no-boil lasagna noodles

12 large sage leaves

½ cup grated mozzarella


Peel the squash, remove the seeds and string from the inside, and cut into 1” chunks.  (Timesaving tip: Many grocery stores sell butternut squash already prepped to this stage.)  Place squash in a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer until squash is tender, around 20 minutes.  Drain and, using either a blender or food processor, blend to a smooth puree, then set aside.

Again fill the large pan with water and place over high heat.  Once water is boiling, add the spinach and blanch for 1 minute.  Drain, then once cool, use a paper towel to squeeze out excess moisture.  Chop spinach, then set aside.

Heat oven to 375°F.  Place ricotta cheese into a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.  Add half of the grated parmesan and the chopped spinach and mix well.  Season with salt and pepper.

Grease a 13” x 9” dish and spoon in one quarter of the pureed squash, spreading it until it forms an even layer.  Follow with a layer of 3 noodles.  Top noodles with a quarter of the ricotta mixture and spread until mostly smooth.  Repeat squash-noodles-ricotta layers three more times.  Take the sage leaves and place them evenly around the top of the lasagna, then sprinkle the mozzarella and the remaining parmesan on top.

Cover dish with foil, then bake for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and continue baking for around 15 minutes more, until cooked through and golden on top.


Check out the other recipes in this series:

Three-Bean Chili

Thai Green Curry


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