January 21, 2012 at 8:58 pm 1 comment

My vegetarian boyfriend LOVES lasagna. However, he rarely finds a vegetarian version in restaurants other than 1.The Grit, which often serves a special “Spinach Feta Lasagna” that he orders whenever it appears on the menu. In non-vegetarian restaurants, you can’t really get a meatless lasagna; they usually have to cook it way in advance because it takes so long, so they can’t just make a single serving without meat.

I used to make a lasagna/ziti thing all the time in college. It involved browning some ground beef and mixing it into a jar of sauce, then layering the sauce with pasta and a ricotta cheese mixture and baking with mozzarella on top. I took pity on BF and tried to make a version that swapped the meat for fresh spinach. (We do have the Grit cookbook, but their recipe is more time-consuming than mine.) After trying a few different versions – using a layer of spinach in the middle of the pasta, mixing it into the sauce, etc. –  this is the one we’ve settled on as a favorite. I love this dish because it’s literally impossible to mess it up; even if your proportions are off, or you don’t have time to bake it long enough, it is still good. (We like to bake it for 40 minutes so the cheese gets brown and crusty, but 20 minutes is great if you’re in a hurry.) We call it “fauxsagna” because we never use actual lasagna noodles; it’s so much easier just to mix in some short pasta and throw it in the casserole dish.


– 1 lb short whole wheat pasta (I like penne or rigatoni; he likes elbows, even though it makes the whole thing feel pretty Hamburger Helper-y)
– 1 jar (about 26 oz)of tomato-based spaghetti sauce (We like Earth Fare’s roasted garlic marinara)
– 1 container (around 15 oz) ricotta cheese
– about 8 oz mozzarella cheese (We have used parmesan and cheddar in a pinch)
– a few handfuls of fresh spinach
– a splash of lowfat milk (optional)
– salt and pepper to taste
– dash of garlic powder (optional)

large baking or casserole dish (13×9 is fine. We used to use one 8×8 dish and 1 8×5 dish, but now we have a big casserole dish that holds everything! It’s round, so I have no idea what the dimensions are.)
– large mixing bowl
– colander
– pot for cooking pasta (and water)
– 2 mixing spoons/spatulas


 1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Boil and salt pasta water; cook according to package directions.

3. While pasta is cooking, combine ricotta, salt, pepper, about 3/4 of the mozzarella, and garlic powder (if using) in mixing bowl. Stir so it’s thoroughly mixed.

4. Place colander in sink and put all your spinach in it. When pasta is done cooking, pour pasta water over the spinach and let it sit for a few minutes (this wilts the spinach). Mix it up with a spoon so it’s distributed well.

5. Add pasta/spinach mixture to mixing bowl and stir so it’s thoroughly coated with the cheese mixture. Add a splash of milk if it seems too dry/not creamy enough.

6. Pour 1/4 to 1/2 of the spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the baking dish, and spread it about halfway up the sides. Pour the pasta/cheese on top of the sauce and spread evenly.

7. Top with remaining sauce and spread evenly over the top. Sprinkle the rest of your cheese on top.

8. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes (or shorter, if you must) and let stand 5 minutes before serving.


Entry filed under: casserole, cheese, pasta, recipes, ricotta, spinach, tomatoes, vegetarian.

Sauteed Spinach Spaghetti (aka Spinachgetti) Link: Easy One-Pot Mac & Cheese Recipe

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This is a cooking blog by someone who is not particularly good at cooking. I'm a lazy person who aspires to make simple, awesome, healthy food at home.


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