Lemony Spinach Pistou Lasagna Recipe

We're all familiar with the classic lasagna bolognese made with meaty red sauce and mozzarella — and we may also have tried spinach lasagna made with béchamel. Developer Kara Barrett, however, says her lasagna recipe has been "reimagined for spring and summer entertaining or weeknight meals" by using simpler, lighter ingredients. "Lemony ricotta," she says, "takes the place of the béchamel, adding sweetness and tartness." She also favors gouda cheese in place of mozzarella for the richness it brings, while the spinach pistou used as a sauce brings everything together in a way she feels is "both surprising and delicious."

Barrett likes to make her lasagna in a cast-iron pan; "I like it as a rustic centerpiece and the fact that you can reheat it on a grill or stovetop if needed," she says. She also notes that such a lasagna could even make for a great camping meal. If you're a meal prepper, however, you can stick to using a 13 x 9-inch pan as this is something you can stick in the freezer. Let's get cooking!

Gather the ingredients for this lemony spinach pistou lasagna

Judging by the recipe's name, you might be expecting something complicated, but it's actually simpler than you might think. All you need to make it is spinach (fresh, not frozen), olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt, ricotta cheese, lemons, lasagna noodles (Barrett opts for the no-boil kind), and gouda.

One note on the lemons: Not only will you be using the zest and the juice, but you'll even make use of the pulp, so be sure not to discard it! You'll still need to remove any seeds, though.

Make the pistou and the ricotta filling

Pistou is pretty much the French version of pesto — minus the pine nuts. This spinach pistou is made by tossing 2 ¾ cups of the spinach in a food processor along with the olive oil, garlic, and parmesan, then adding as much salt as you feel it needs. If the mixture is too thick, you might need to drizzle in a little more oil to thin it out. Barrett tells us that this pistou can be made a day or so before the rest of the lasagna, although she says you might want to add some lemon juice to help keep it bright and fresh. She also notes that "like pesto, you could make a large batch and freeze it." That way, you can always have pistou on hand to use as a dip or a sauce as well as a lasagna ingredient.

Before moving on to the next step of the recipe, you should also take a moment to stir the lemon juice and zest into the ricotta, then beat it for 3 minutes until it's smooth. Check to see if this mixture needs any salt, as well.

Assemble the lasagna

Before you start putting the lasagna together, preheat the oven to 400 F and arrange the racks so there's one in the middle and one below that. Now take ¼ cup of pistou and spread it over the bottom of your pan. Top it with 2 of the noodles, then break another noodle in half to fill in the gaps. (If you're using a rectangular pan, you may not need to break any noodles.) Use another ¼ cup of pistou to top the noodles, then follow this with a layer of ricotta, using ⅓ of the mixture. Finally, scatter ⅓ of the gouda over the top. Repeat the process with more noodles, pistou, ricotta, and gouda until you've used up all of the ingredients and have a three-layered lasagna.

To finish off the dish, chop or tear the remaining spinach and scatter it over the top. Now take the lemon pulp and spread it over the spinach for an extra bright zing.

Bake the lasagna

Before you put the lasagna in the oven, turn the temperature down to 375 F. Position the lasagna on the middle rack, then put a baking sheet beneath it to catch any drips. (With a 13x9-inch pan, there'll be more room for the lasagna to expand so the baking sheet may not be necessary.) Bake the lasagna for 30 minutes or so until it's hot and the cheese is bubbling.

Once the lasagna is done, don't take it out of the oven just yet. First turn the dial to broil, then give it another 2 to 3 minutes at this higher heat setting in order to brown the top. Now take it out of the oven and let it cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into it.

Barrett tells us that the leftovers should be good for up to a week in the refrigerator if sealed in an airtight container. She does say, though, "Like any lasagna, you can definitely wrap it well, seal it in a freezer baggie and store leftovers until needed," although she does not advise freezing the lasagna before it's been cooked.

Lemony Spinach Pistou Lasagna Recipe
5 from 56 ratings
Instead of a rich bolognese and heavy béchamel, this springy lasagna is assembled with a vibrant spinach pistou and lemon-tinged ricotta.
Prep Time
30
minutes
Cook Time
32
minutes
Servings
6
Servings
spinach lasagna on plate
Total time: 1 hour, 2 minutes
Ingredients
  • 3 cups tightly packed baby spinach, divided
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • kosher salt
  • 
2 cups whole milk ricotta
  • 
2 medium lemons (zest, juice, and pulp)
  • 8 ounces no-boil lasagna noodles

  • 4 cups shredded gouda
Directions
  1. For the pistou, purée 2 ¾ cups spinach with the olive oil, garlic, and Parmesan in a food processor, adding more olive oil if the mixture is too thick. Salt the pistou to taste.
  2. Combine the ricotta with the lemon juice and zest, then season with salt to taste. Beat the ricotta mixture for approximately 3 minutes until smooth.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 F and move the racks to the lower and middle levels.
  4. Spread about ¼ cup pistou over the bottom of a 10-inch oven-proof skillet.
  5. Top the pistou with 2 lasagna noodles, snapping a third one into pieces to fit the edges.
  6. Cover the noodles with another ¼ cup of pistou, making sure to cover them entirely.
  7. Spread about ⅓ of the ricotta mixture evenly over the pistou, then cover it with ⅓ of the shredded gouda.
  8. Repeat layering the noodles, pistou, ricotta, and gouda until you have three layers.
  9. Top the final layer with the remaining spinach, roughly chopped or torn.
  10. Spread the reserved lemon pulp over the spinach.
  11. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 F. Put the lasagna on the middle rack and place a baking sheet on the lower rack beneath it to catch any drippings.
  12. Bake the lasagna for approximately 30 minutes or until it is hot and the cheese is bubbling.
  13. Turn the oven to broil and leave the lasagna in the oven for another 2 to 3 minutes until the top is brown. Remove from oven.
  14. Let the lasagna cool for 10 minutes before slicing.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 837
Total Fat 61.3 g
Saturated Fat 25.4 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 132.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 34.9 g
Dietary Fiber 1.8 g
Total Sugars 3.2 g
Sodium 837.3 mg
Protein 37.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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