Monday, February 11, 2013

Inside-Out Vegetarian Lasagna (Meatless Monday)

Nick and I had my mom, dad, and his mom over for dinner one Saturday (a while ago) to watch the Ohio State Buckeyes beat Penn State (yeah, I had to say that).  We decided to make this delicious "Inside-Out Lasagna" because I wanted to practice making it before I demoed it at work (in front of about 20 people!).  Thankfully, it was pretty simple and it was a huge hit with our important guests of the evening.

Inside-Out Vegetarian Lasagna
Modified slightly from Eating Well
Serves 4


8 ounces whole-wheat penne **
1 Tbsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 small onion, chopped **
2 cloves garlic, sliced **
8 ounces sliced white mushrooms ** (~3.5 cups)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs **
8 cups baby spinach
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
3/4 cup light ricotta cheese **
Optional:  Add chopped, grilled tempeh for extra protein and texture

 ** NOTE:  If you are following a low FODMAPs diet, omit the garlic and onion (or significantly reduce the amounts, depending on your sensitivity) and use a tuscan or garlic extra virgin olive oil so you can still get their flavors.  You may also be lactose intolerant, which means you'll need to omit the ricotta (or use a lactose free cottage cheese instead).  The diced tomatoes may also cause an issue, because they contain Italian herbs.  You could always use plain diced tomatoes and add your own herbs separately (basil, thyme, etc.) and skip the onion and garlic, which is typically found in Italian herb tomatoes.  Also if mushrooms cause you problems just be sure to eat around them (but there weren't a lot in this recipe, so at least for me it didn't cause issues).  And of course, last but not lease, look for a gluten-free pasta.


1.  Cook your pasta according to the directions on the package.

2.  While pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.  Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms release their liquid, 4 to 6 minutes (NOTE:  you can drain some of the liquid out of the pan if you want a less watery sauce).

3.  Add tomatoes, spinach and crushed red pepper.  Increase heat to medium-high; cook, stirring once halfway through, until the spinach is wilted, about 4 minutes.

4.  Toss the sauce with the pasta and divide among 4 plates or bowls.  Dollop each bowl with 3 Tbsp. ricotta.

I just added 8 large handfuls of spinach, rather than measuring each cup.  Much easier!

Serve with a  piece of whole grain Tuscany Bread.  Delicioso!

Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1/4th of recipe

Nutrition Highlights: Check out that PROTEIN! Not bad for a vegetarian entree.  Also, an excellent source of Calcium, Vitamin C, Iron, Vitamin A (wowza!) and Fiber. 

Another benefit of this recipe?  Both the men in my life really enjoyed it, despite no meat!  What more could I ask for?!

Thanks for reading!

The Candid Rd
NOTE: I love comments!  But, be sure to come back to read any replies to questions or comments, as they do not go directly to your e-mail.


  1. What a great idea, I'm not always a lasagna person but I love this (even without the pasta). It took me 3 reads to get demoed (I'm a little slow today). food demo- my worst nightmare, can you videotape and share with us?

    1. Hey Lauren. So....I would LOVE to do that, but I'm not allowed. You know, in the corporate world many things are off limits, and that would certainly be one of them. It's a bummer. I will tell you though, practice makes perfect, so the more you do it, the better you get (obvious, I know, but it's my best advice!).

  2. Great job with this lasagna, Gina - it looks delicious! I'm sure it will be a hit when you demo it! I've never tried an inside-out lasagna, but I like the concept. And that vitamin A - wow! There are a ton of veggies in this dish! I agree with Lauren - can you tape and show us the demo? I could definitely learn a thing or two from a veteran :)

    Have a great week!

  3. Super fun idea, and I know my lasagna loving family would dig this, meatless and all :-)

  4. This looks delicious!!!! lucky family lol

  5. Yum-- love this idea! It seems like it would be a good one to demo too!

  6. it's kinda like a deconstructed dish, yes? I love it!

  7. This looks delicious. Not surprised it was a hit! Have a great day Gina.