Saturday, February 12, 2011

Lentil Lasagna

Sometimes I crave a delicious, juicy hamburger, but mostly these cravings are few and far between.  Usually in my meal portions I prefer a high ratio of vegetables, and a tiny piece of meat, if at all.  Lasagna is one dish in particular I would never order out in a restaurant for fear of getting an obscene and mammoth amount of meat on my plate. 

I love making veggie lasagnas, but one day I began dreaming of a lentil lasagna, and decided to create my own recipe to incorporate all the flavors and ingredients I love.  Today I am pleased to share this creation with you.  I hope you will experiment with it, and add your own special touches and share your experiences with me.  Just like the lentil tacos, I think this recipe demonstrates quite well how the lentil can hold its own against ground beef in recipes.  It adds protein and body to the dish, to create a hearty, nutritious meal that won't weigh you down and leave you feeling regretful.

Lentil Mixture

1/2 onion chopped
2 celery sticks chopped in small dice
2 carrots chopped in small dice
2 cups lentils
water to cover

Heat some olive oil, add the chopped veggies and cook until softened.  Add water and lentils, bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until the lentils are soft (about 25 minutes).  Remove half of this lentil mixture and puree using an immersion blender.  Add pureed lentils back to pot and cook mixture uncovered until it is a thicker consistency and not so soupy that it would be ridiculous to attempt to add the mixture to a lasagna. 

I decided to blend part of the lentils to give this mixture a more cohesive structure.  I think this blended part helps it give uniform structure to the lasagna while the remaining whole lentils give it body and texture like ground beef.  If you like the way your lentils look whole, you could also try using them like that.

Tomato "Sauce"

1 28 oz can chopped tomato
oregano, thyme, italian spices
salt pepper
olive oil

Mix ingredients together and let marinate for 1/2 hour before lasagna assembly.  I used this seasoned tomato mixture instead of sauce because I was worried about making a lasagna that was too wet and soupy.

Ricotta mixture

chopped fresh spinach
1 egg
container of ricotta

Mix this up until blended

Also need

grated mozzarella
uncooked lasagna noodles

Directions for assembly

This is a no bake lasagna recipe, so don't even worry about fiddling with the noodles beforehand.  I am always a little scared about this no-bake proposition, but it really works just fine, and it saves a lot of time and trouble.   Also, don't worry about using special no-bake noodles.  I use regular Wegmans lasagna noodles from the box and they are just fine.  I am however intrigued by the fresh lasagna sheets from the refrigerated section.  If anyone has tried these please comment about your experience.

Basically you just need to layer all the ingredients you have prepared.  First put down a little of the "sauce," then add a layer of noodles, spread the noodles with a little more "sauce" and 1/2 of the ricotta mixture, layer over that 1/2 the lentil mixture, then sprinkle with a generous amount of mozzarella.  Repeat with remaining ingredients and end with a layer of noodles covered only in "sauce" and mozzarella.

Here is a picture of the beautiful lentils, and lasagna construction mid-way through assembly.

Bake, covered in foil, in a 375 F oven, for 40 minutes.
Bake an additional 15 minutes uncovered.
remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.


  1. This was delicious! I used a similar lentils-as-ground-beef trick to make a Lentil Shepherd's Pie... maybe I can guest blog about it some time?

  2. Absolutely! I remember that delicious pie. Please email me your submission and I will devote a whole guest post to your creation.