Plantain Lasagna with Mushrooms and Spinach

January 24, 2024
Plantain Lasagna
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Looking for a hearty, flavorful and easy vegetarian lasagna recipe? This plantain lasagna with mushrooms and spinach is sure to satisfy. Plantains lend a sweet and savory depth of flavor to this meatless lasagna, while mushrooms and spinach provide extra nutrition and taste. The creamy, cheesy layers are so delicious, no one will miss the meat!

Why Make Plantain Lasagna?

Lasagna is a comfort food favorite for many, but traditional lasagna recipes rely heavily on meat. This plantain lasagna is a fresh take that is vegetarian, gluten-free and full of flavor. Here are some of the benefits of choosing plantains over noodles:

Nutrition – Plantains are high in vitamins A, C, B6, potassium and magnesium. The spinach adds an extra dose of vitamins and minerals.

Fiber – Plantains and vegetables provide a big boost of dietary fiber lacking in regular pasta. This aids digestion.

Sustainability – Skipping the traditional noodles cuts down on processed ingredients. Plantains are also easy to source locally.

Creativity – Using plantain slices instead of noodles gives the lasagna a unique look and taste.

Versatility – Plantains pair well with many flavors from savory mushrooms to spicy jalapeños. Enjoy creating your own spin!

Budget-friendly – Plantains are generally inexpensive. This recipe uses cost effective veggies too.

Ready to make a lasagna that’s good for you and planet earth? This plantain lasagna is the perfect choice!

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • 3 very ripe plantains, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (about 3 cups)
  • 5 cups fresh spinach
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce (or 3 cups homemade sauce)
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish

Tools Needed

Baking dish (9×13 inches or similar size), foil, food processor, skillet

Step-by-Step Instructions

Prep the Plantain Slices

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Peel plantains and slice lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick rectangular pieces.
  3. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or olive oil.
  4. Layer a quarter of the plantain slices flat on the bottom of the dish, overlapping slightly.

Sauté the Vegetables

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook 5 minutes until lightly browned.
  2. Stir in spinach and garlic. Cook until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat.

Make the Cheese Layer

  1. In a food processor, blend together ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup Parmesan, oregano and red pepper flakes until smooth.

Assemble the Lasagna

  1. Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture over the plantain layer.
  2. Top with 1/3 of the sautéed vegetables.
  3. Pour 1 cup marinara sauce evenly over the vegetables.
  4. Repeat layers 2 more times, ending with the marinara sauce.
  5. Top with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan.

Bake the Lasagna

  1. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes.
  2. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes until hot and bubbly.
  3. Let lasagna rest 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving.
  4. Garnish with fresh basil. Enjoy!

Vegetable Substitutions to Try

One of the great things about this plantain lasagna recipe is you can swap different veggies in and out depending on preferences and what’s in season.

  • Mushrooms – chanterelle, portobello, cremini
  • Leafy Greens – kale, chard, arugula
  • Other Veggies – zucchini, broccoli, onions, bell peppers
  • Fresh Herbs – cilantro, parsley, chives

Tips for Perfect Plantain Lasagna Every Time

Making plantain lasagna for the first time? Follow these tips for success:

  • Use very ripe plantains. The riper and sweeter the better for lasagna.
  • Don’t overload the layers. Spread fillings evenly for clean slices.
  • Prevent sticking by spraying the baking dish well. Foil on top prevents burning.
  • Let baked lasagna rest before serving. This firms it up so you can cut nice square pieces.
  • Store leftovers in the fridge up to 4 days. The flavors get even better. You can also freeze slices.
  • Can’t find plantains? Green bananas can work too. Just reduce oven temp 25 degrees since they don’t get as soft.

FAQs

1. What’s the best plantain to use?

Look for very ripe, black plantains with lots of brown speckles. The skin will be mostly black. Soft, sweet plantains work best in lasagna. Underripe ones are too starchy and firm.

2. Can I prepare the plantain slices ahead of time?

Yes, you can slice and cook the plantains 1-2 days in advance. Store them covered in the fridge until ready to assemble the lasagna.

3. What if my plantain slices aren’t wide enough to cover the bottom of the pan?

No problem! Just overlap the plantain slices to cover the bottom of the pan. Having different sized pieces makes it more rustic.

4. Do I need to boil the plantain slices before baking?

Nope, no pre-boiling required. The plantain slices soften up nicely during baking. Raw plantain slices hold up better than noodles.

5. Can I substitute gluten-free noodles for the plantain layers?

Sure, gluten-free lasagna noodles will work. You may need to reduce the oven time by 5-10 minutes since they cook faster.

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