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Spinach Lasagna with Walnut Pesto

Serves8
IngredientsPasta, Vegetables, Nuts
Day PartDinner
Menu PartEntree
Cuisine TypeItalian
walnut lasagna

Source: California Walnuts

An ounce of walnuts contains four grams of protein, and when combined with the cheese in this meatless lasagna, the recipe makes a protein-rich vegetarian menu item. 

Ingredients

Lasagna:

Olive oil
2 lb. fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried
1 cup Cilantro Walnut Pesto (recipe follows)
2 lb. nonfat ricotta cheese
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/3 cup minced walnuts, lightly toasted
2 3/4 cups marinara sauce
16 fresh, uncooked spinach lasagna noodles
1/2 lb. part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated

Cilantro-Walnut Pesto:

3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
3 large cloves garlic
1/3 cup lightly-toasted walnuts
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper, to taste
 

Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9 by 13-in. baking pan. Finely chop spinach.
  2. Prepare Cilantro-Walnut Pesto: Place basil leaves and garlic in a food processor or blender; pulse to mix well. Add walnuts; continue to blend until nuts are finely ground. Keep the machine running while drizzling in olive oil. Process until smooth paste forms; transfer to bowl and stir in Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Place ricotta cheese in large bowl. Stir in chopped spinach, Cilantro-Walnut Pesto, garlic, salt, pepper, half the Parmesan and walnuts. Mix well.
  4. Spread half the marinara sauce in bottom of oiled pan. Place a layer of lasagna noodles over sauce; Spoon about 1/3 the ricotta on top and sprinkle with 1/3 the grated mozzarella. Repeat layering, finishing up with a final layer of noodles and reserving a little Parmesan.
  5. Bake 40 minutes; sprinkle on the reserved Parmesan and bake 10 to 15 minutes longer. Remove from oven; let rest 10 minutes before serving. 

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