If you can find fresh pasta sheets, definitely use those, otherwise normal lasagna noodles or the no-boil ones work really well. Of all the lasagna I've made, the ones that turn out the best include whole-milk ricotta, good quality aged parmigiano-reggiano and plenty of fresh herbs. You really can't go wrong if you use high quality cheese, especially the ricotta. A few months ago I made a lasagna with skim-milk ricotta and it was pretty awful - tasteless and dry instead of rich and creamy. This recipe is like most though and substitutions abound. Spicy sausage or ground meat would be a nice alternative, as would adding mixed roasted vegetables. This recipe makes a 9x13 pan so there's plenty to freeze for later!
Black Bean and Spinach Lasagna
- 12 no-boil lasagna noodles, or 9 long lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 (16 oz) jar medium chunky salsa
- salt and pepper
- 1 pkg frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15 oz) container whole milk ricotta
- 1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup shredded monterey jack
In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, and parmigiano. Add a little milk or cream to loosen the mixture a bit, so that it spreads easily. Season with black pepper. Drain the set aside both the black beans and the spinach. Taste the tomato sauce, adding salt, pepper or more spice, if needed. The sauce can taste a little acidic but it will balance out once combined with the pasta and cheeses. Stir in the cilantro and turn off the heat.
Put a ladle full of sauce over the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Put down a layer of lasagna noodles, then half the ricotta mixture. Next, sprinkle on half the black beans and spinach, some shredded mozzarella and monterey jack and top with a small amount of tomato sauce. Repeat by layering the noodles, ricotta, beans and spinach, shredded cheese and sauce. Top with final lasagna noodles, the remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle with a generous covering of cheese.
Bake, covered, at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes. Remove the foil/cover and bake another 15-20 minutes, or until browned and bubbling. Serves 8.