Lasagna with spinach

«Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.»  (Author Unknown)

You have probably heard about the disparaging comments Guido Barilla made on a radio show that his company would never feature or market his product directly to gay couples.  Well, he should have thought well before opening his mouth, as millions of his customers are now boycotting his products.

Greek Lasagna

Italian Lasagna (which is a flat sheet of pasta, originated in Ancient Greece, see an older post of mine),  are long stripes of wide pasta, with or without curly edges.  In many parts of Greece the term «lasagna» refers to thin stripes of pasta, similar to tagliatelle, made with eggs and milk whereas the Italian pasta dough is made with lots of eggs and water.   When using the word in plural it is called Lasagne.

To make lasagne you will of course nead «Lasagna Sheets» or as they are also called, noodles, which you can make them yourself or choose between no pre-cooking lasagna or those which need to be pre-cooked.  I always use those which do non need pre-cooking because it’s much easier.  Then there is a selection between wheat lasagna, whole wheat lasagna, spinach lasagna, organic lasagna, even vegan quinoa lasagna.

Since lasagne is a layered dish, you will need to add something between the layers.  Learning the basics about the dish, you will be able to create your own recipe, with ingredients you use in your daily cooking.

Are you vegetarian?  Think, what vegetables you like best and add them in your recipe. Do you like spinach, artichokes, leeks, courgettes, eggplants, butternut squash, cauliflower, why not peas with carrots and corn and bell peppers?

What about cheese?  In Italian recipes you will naturally see Italian cheese, such as mozarella and ricotta used.  However, these may cost a fortune  in your country. Ricotta is usually used in most lasagne recipes but surely you can substitute ricotta with other low fat cheese.  Ricotta is a low fat whey cheese.  Almost all countries producing cheese have a similar whey cheese.  Think anthotyro, myzithra, anari, cream cheese, farmer’s cheese, queso fresco, paneer, cottage cheese and surely goat cheese, such as chevre can act as substitutes.  In my recipes I use Greek cheeses, such as anthotyro, feta, myzithra, graviera, halloumi and some times katiki Domokou is used. Substituting with similar local cheese, will make the dish much cheaper.   Although I have never used tofu, I have seen it Lasagne recipes.

If you are not vegetarian and prefer to add meat in your filling, you can add any kind of meat sauce:  beef, veal, pork, chicken, turkey.  You can also add bacon, pancetta, sausages, or cooked chicken, fish or seafood.   The combinations are endless.

Finally you need something to top the dish:  you can add béchamel sauce on top or a much easier version by making a cream with eggs mixed with cheese, or a meat or tomato sauce or event a combination of meat sauce or tomato sauce with cheese.

Now that we have that clear, I will share four five recipes I have made.  Some recipes were made from scratch and some were made using leftover ingredients, such as Marinara sauce, Bolognaise meat sause, Stroganoff sauce, Soutzoukakia (spicy sauce), Kokkinisto sauce etc.

What sauces do you use in your cuisine? If you are American how about Cajun, Chipotle or Tex-Mex, Enchilada or Chili sauce if you are Mexican, if you are Indian a Curry sauce, Sofrito if you are Spanish, a Greek yoghurt combined with cheese sauce, or spicy Soutzoukakia or kokkinisto sauce, if you are Greek like I am.  You get the picture what my point is.  Think outside the box and use your imagination.  If you are too lazy or very busy to make the sauce from scratch, you can choose from the selection on the shelves of your supermarket.

Each time I want to post a recipe, I spend hours looking in my «Recipes to Post» file and each time I see so many recipes, it’s hard to decide especially when some recipes have been cooked a few years ago.  While I was debating which one to post, a friend on Facebook came to my rescue, when he asked my opinion about a cannelloni recipe he is planning to cook on Sunday.

The only cannelloni recipe I make is one we love the most and I make the same over and overy again.  George was debating whether to add a béchamel  sauce on top of his cannelloni or cook them using Marinara Sauce.  That reminded me of the lasagna recipes I have and the filling can surely be used to stuff cannelloni, so I promised him to post the recipe.  At the time I did not realize that I had four lasagna recipes to post.  I decided to post them all as if I don’t, they will probably stay in my files forever.  

I know that some of my recipes you may not be able to cook because I make good use of  the ingredients I have.  You do not have to go and cook Stroganoff to make the recipe, but it is added as an example to show you that your leftovers may be used in a creative way.    

 Note:   You will notice that in my recipes not all the cooking times are the same.  This is something which we must have in mind because not all ovens bake the same way and time.  Some were cooked in my old oven in Athens and some in my new oven, which is fan forced and the cooking time is less than baking in a conventional oven.

In the first recipe I made it with Spinach, Anthotyro and Feta, also using some leftover Bolognaise sauce.  Be cautious with salt, as feta is salty and that’s one of the reasons I usually add Greek anthotyro, which is without salt and balances the saltiness of feta.

Lasagna with spinach3

Bolognaise Lasagne with Spinach, Marinara Sauce & Feta

Serves: 8

Ιngredients:

  • 20 lasagna sheets
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 leeks, only the white part, finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 500 grams fresh spinach
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 250 grams feta (divided) 150 + 100
  • 135 grams anthotyro or ricotta
  • 1 ½ cups leftover bolognaise sauce
  • 2 cups Marinara sauce

Directions:

  1. Prepare Marinara sauce.
  2. In a skillet heat the olive oil and sauté leeks, onions, and garlic until they are tender.   Add spinach, salt and pepper and cook until the spinach wilts, for about five minutes.   Remove from the heat and mix in parsley.  Set aside to cool and then crumble  the biggest amount of feta and anthotyro and mix.
  3. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C / 350 degrees F.
  4. Use a 35 x 22 cm / 14 x 9 inch pyrex dish, add a layer (1 cup) of marinara sauce.  Add 5 lasagna on top, breaking one in the middle to cover the gap in the middle then half of the spinach – cheese mixture.   Add 5 more lasagna breaking one in the middle and add all the bolognaise sauce.  Spread and add 5 lasanga and the remaining spinach-cheese mixture.  Add 5 lasagna and top with the remaining marinara sauce.  With a box grater, grate the remaining feta on top.
  5. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated oven for abou 1 hour or until golden.
  6. Cool 15 minutes before serving.

Lasagna with Minced pork

The second recipe was made using plain Lasagna.  In this recipe I made the meat sauce from scratch and used courgettes and halloumi.  I added a  béchamel sauce on top.
lasagna sheets

Courgette Lasagna with Ground Pork and Béchamel

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 9 – 12 lasagna sheets
  • ½ cup grated halloumi
  • 6 courgettes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

For the meat sauce:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely cut
  • 500 grams ground pork ( substitue with beef if you prefer)
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • ½ cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1 can (400 grams) finely chopped tomato
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup water

For the béchamel sauce:

  • 500 ml milk
  • 40 grams olive oil
  • 40 grams all purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 ml Greek Yoghurt
  • ½ cup grated halloumi

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan heat the olive oil and sauté the onion until translucent.  Add the garlic and mix a couple of times.  Add the ground meat and sauté until it turns from pink to white.  Add the carrots, celery, tomato, tomato paste, salt, pepper, bay leaf and water.  Bring to a boil, cover with lid and lower heat.  Simmer for about 30 minutes.
  2. Meantime in a non stick frying pan heat the olive oil and sauté thin slices (5 – 6 for each) of courgettes.
  3. Prepare the béchamel sauce.  In a small pot heat the milk and set aside.  Whisk the eggs.  In another pot, heat the olive oil and add the flour, salt and nutmeg.  Mix to make a roux.  When it begins browning add the milk and mix with a balloon whisk until the sauce thickens.  Add the eggs and mix until incorporated.  Remove from the heat and mix in the yoghurt and halloumi.
  4.  In a 23 x 33cm / 9×13 inch baking  dish spread 4 heaped tbsp béchamel cream.  Cover with 3 lasagna sheets. (If you like you can break one more in each layer to cover the gaps).  Add 1/3 of the meat sauce, half of the courgettes on top and some halloumi cheese.  Repeat two more times.  Finish with a layer of lasagna and top with the béchamel cream.
  5. Sprinkle some halloumi on top.
  6. Preheat oven to 180oC / 350oF and bake for about 30 – 40 minutes or until golden on top.

Lasagna with eggplants

In this recipe I used spinach lasagna and made a meat sauce and added eggplants and feta and a cheese sauce on top.

Meat lasagna

Other times I add bechamel on top.

Spinach Lasagna with Minced Meat, Eggplants and Feta

Ingredients: 

  • 12 spinach lasagna
  • 100 grams anthotyros (or other low fat cheese)

Meat sauce:

  • 400 grams minced veal and pork
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp Greek spice mixture
  • ½ cup red dry wine
  • 2 cups fresh tomato
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped

Fried vegetables:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 5 small Tsakonikes (Japanese style) eggplants, cut into thin slices
  • 2 mushrooms, cut  into slices
  • 6 courgettes, cut into thin slices

Topping:

  • 100 grams feta, crumbled
  • 200 grams mixed low-fat yellow cheeses which melt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Freshly grated black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180o C / 350o F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onion until translucent, add the garlic and cook together for 1 minute.  Add the ground meat, salt, pepper, spice mixture and cook until the ground meat changes colour from pink to white.  Add the wine and cook until the alcohol evaporates, for 2 – 3 minutes.  Finally add tomato and tomato paste, mix and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and mix in the parsley.
  3.  In a non-stick frying pan add a tbsp olive oil and sauté the courgette slices until lightly browned on both sides.  Remove to a platter, add another tbsp olive oil and sauté the mushrooms.  Remove to a platter and add another tbsp and cook the eggplants adding more olive oil until they are all browned.
  4.  Pour one-fourth of the sauce into the bottom of your 23 x 33cm / 9×13 inch baking dish.
  5. Add 3 lasagna sheets on top of the sauce.
  6. Spread another one-fourth meat sauce on top of the lasagna sheets.
  7. Place half of the eggplant slices, courgettes and mushrooms. Crumble half of the low-fat anthotyros cheese.
  8. Repeat with another layer of lasagna, one-fourth meat sauce, vegetables and cheese.
  9. Add 3 more lasagna sheets on top as well as the remaining meat sauce.
  10. Crumble feta and mix in the remaining cheese, milk and pepper.
  11. Pour on top of the lasagna sheets.
  12. Bake for about 40 minutes, depending on your oven or until cheese is golden on top.

Lasagna with eggplants and ground meat

This is a recipe I made two and a half years ago but never managed to post it.  I used leftover Veal Stroganoff Sauce.  The sauce was so delicious which was a pity to waste it, so I used it when making the lasagna dish.  Instead of making a meat sauce, I cooked some chicken breast, which I incorporated in the dish.  I do not expect that you cook Stroganoff Veal to make this dish but it is merely an example to show you how to make good use of your leftovers.  You can substitute it with any other sauce you like.  The spinach filling is similar to the one I use when I make spanakopita.  On top, instead of making bechamel, I added graviera, which is similar to Gruyere and low-fat Milner cheese.

Chicken stroganoff lasagna

Chicken Stroganoff and Spinach Lasagna

Serves: 6

 Ingredients:

  • 18 lasagna sheets
  • 250 grams of grated graviera and milner cheese

Spinach Mixture:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 500 grams spinach, squeezed
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 – 3 tbsp dill, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 150 grams anthotyro
  • 120 grams feta

Chicken:

  • 1/4 cup  olive oil
  • 700 grams chicken breasts
  • ¼ cup white dry wine
  • 2 cups leftover stroganoff sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Wash and dry spinach.  Sprinkle with salt.  Let it rest for 15 minutes and squeeze to remove water.
  2. In a sautéing pan heat the olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic, until translucent.  Remove half and add the spinach.  Mix for 3 – 5 minutes until the spinach and onions are mixed.  Remove to a bowl and set aside to cool.  Crumble anthotyro, feta and mix in parsley, dill, salt and pepper.
  3. In a skillet heat the olive oil and sauté the chicken on both sides.  Add the reserved sautéed onion mixture mix and then add the wine.  Cook for 1 – 2 minutes and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add the leftover sauce, mix and cover with lid.  Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. In a 33 x 23 cm (13 x 9 inches) Pyrex dish, add a layer of sauce from the chicken and then add six lasagna noodles.  If the baking dish is rounded around the corners, break the four lasagna to fit in the corners of the baking tin.  Add 2/3 of the chicken.  Add another six lasagna and then add the spinach mixture.  Arrange the remaining chicken on top, as well as remaining sauce.  Add the last six lasagna sheets and then spread the grated cheeses on top.
  5. Preheat oven to 180oC / 350oF and baked until golden, for about 30 – 40 minutes.

Greek Stroganoff Lasagna

When writing all the above recipes I was craving a Lasagna dish.  Yesterday I bought some Greek sausages, had courgettes, eggplants and cheeses, so I prepared the dish and stored it in the refrigerator.

Lasagna with Greek sausages

I cooked it this morning and this is what we had for lunch today.

Sausage Lasagna2

Lasagna with Greek Sausage

Serves: 6

 Ingredients:

  • 11 lasagna sheets

Filling:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 5 medium Tsakonikes (Japanese) eggplants, partly peeled and cut into 3 slices
  • 6 small courgettes, cut into 5 slices each
  • 200 grams anthotyro
  • 50 grams feta

Sausage Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup  olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 170 grams Greek sausage
  • ¼ cup white dry wine
  • 2 cups fresh tomato, grated
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped

Topping:

  • 2 eggs
  • 150 grams anthotyros
  • 100 grams feta
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • Cinnamon to sprinkle on top

Directions:

  1. Remove the casing of the sausage and cut it into small pieces.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan.  Sauté the courgettes first on both sides, then the eggplants.
  3. In the same frying pan add more olive oil and sauté the onion, until translucent.  Add the sausage and cook on both sides.  Add the wine and cook for a few minutes until the alcohol evaporates.  Add tomato, tomato paste and water and cook for ten minutes.  (If you like you can season the sauce but I prefer the taste of the sausage as it is).   Remove from the heat and mix in the parsley.
  4. In a 33 x 23 cm (13 x 9 inches) Pyrex dish, add a layer of sauce from the sausage and then add three lasagna noodles.
  5. Add half of the sausages and half of the sauce.  Add half of the fried eggplants, half of the courgettes and sprinkle some salt on top.  Crumble half of the cheese on top.
  6. Repeat with another 3 lasagna noodles, the remaining eggplants, the remaining courgettes, the remaining cheese and the remaining sausage with sauce.
  7. If the baking dish is rounded around the corners, break the corners and break two more lasagna to fill the gaps.
  8. In a food processor add the eggs, cheese, milk and flour and mix to make a cream.  Pour the cream on top of the lasagna and sprinkle some cinnamon on top.
  9. Preheat oven to 180oC / 350oF and bake until golden, for about 30 – 40 minutes.

So, how do you make Lasagne?  I’d love to hear about your own varaiations.

Sausage Lasagna

Other relevant recipes:

Pastitsio Lasagne

Greek Style Lasagne with Anthotyro

Artichokes Lasagne Pastitsio

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Χωρίς σχόλια on How do you make Lasagne?

  1. Ο/Η gloria λέει:

    I love lasagna and this look fantastic, I love with salads too!
    gloria recently posted..Banana and strawberries pudding (postre de plátanos con frutillas)My Profile

  2. Ο/Η Nadji λέει:

    J’aime beaucoup les lasagnes et ta version me plait beaucoup.
    Je note.
    A bientôt

  3. Ο/Η Angie from Angie's Recipes λέει:

    I haven’t had lasagne in ages…you know..trying not to consume too much carbs. Now looking at all those delicious lasagne recipes, I am HUNGRY!
    Angie recently posted..Gluten Free Pumpkin Soup BreadMy Profile

  4. Ο/Η Reeni λέει:

    Oh goodness Ivy all of these have my mouth watering! What a delicious collection of lasagna recipes! I wouldn’t even be able to pick a favorite – I’d love a taste of each one.
    Reeni recently posted..Lemon Chicken Orzo SoupMy Profile

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