Sunday, March 30, 2008

Kalmata Vegetable Lasagna

This is a recipe I adopted from a vegetable lasagna recipe I found online. The only changes I made from the original recipe is the substitution of brown rice for mushrooms, the addition of some spinach leaves, the addition of a layer of kalmata olives, and just a little chipotle in the sauce. Oh yeah, and I found some whole-wheat lasagna noodles, too. I made it two nights ago, and it was a great success. I believe the addition of the salty kalmata made the difference in what could have otherwise been a somewhat bland dish.

Kalmata Vegetable Lasagna

* 1 (16 ounce) package lasagna noodles (whole wheat if available)
* 1 cup brown rice
* 3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
* 3/4 cup chopped onion
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 cups spinach leaves
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 2 (26 ounce) jars pasta sauce
* 1 teaspoon dried basil
* 1 (15 ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese
* 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* about 3/4 cup kalmata olives


1. Cook the lasagna noodles in a large pot of boiling water for 10 minutes, or until al dente. Rinse with cold water, and drain.
2. Cook the brown rice according to whatever variety you chose
3. In a large saucepan, cook and stir cooked rice, green peppers, onion, and garlic in oil. Stir in spinach leaves until just wilted. Stir in pasta sauce and basil; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Season with a crumbled dried smoked jalepeno (chipotle) if available
4. Mix together ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, and eggs.
5. Preheat oven to 360 degrees F. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce into the bottom of a greased (use butter) 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer 1/2 each, lasagna noodles, ricotta mix, sauce, and Parmesan cheese. Repeat layering, and top with a layer of halved kalmata olives, then remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese.
6. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
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