This full-size vegetarian lasagna balances spicy pumpkin layers with sweet and tangy caramelized onions, and the traditional mozzarella is combined with Mexican cotija cheese and ricotta/spinach layers. It's unusual but very tasty!
2 cans pumpkin
1 jar or can of basic tomato sauce (I used garlic/onion flavor)
2 blocks Mexican cotija cheese (typically 8 oz each)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
dried ancho chile peppers*
1 tsp each sage and cumin spices
5 cloves garlic
~2 tsp salt
2 boxes lasagna noodles
1 box frozen spinach
small tub ricotta cheese
1cup dry red wine
1 tbsp sugar
No nutrition information available
First: Soak ancho chili peppers in boiling hot water for 8 hours, to soften.
Slice and sweat the onions, throwing in 1 cup red wine to give them flavor and getting them very brown. I add salt and sugar and allowed them to caramelize.
In Cuisinart food processor, mix spinach (defrosted and drained), 2 crushed garlic cloves, ricotta (~1cup) and 2 eggs, plus 2 dashes salt.
In Cuisinart stand mixer, blend the 2 cans pumpkin, the softened anchos (pureed in Cuisinart processor), 3 crushed garlic cloves, a teaspoon of sage and cumin each, and enough salt till I could taste it (~2 tsp).
Then in a big pan I put the following layers:
1. Thin layer of tomato sauce topped with some cheese
2. layer of noodles (yes, uncooked!)
3. Layer of pumpkin spread
3. Layer of noodles
4. Layer of cheese topped with spinach spread
5. Layer of noodles
6. Layer of pumpkin spread
7. Layer of tomato sauce and lots of cheese.
I know it sounds crazy not to cook the noodles, but I used to work in a restaurant and we never did. As long as the ingredients have some water (pumpkin/veggies/tomato sauce) AND you seal the pan tightly with aluminum foil, the noodles will cook. I baked at 400 for 1hr, checked it, and cooked it for 15 more min, but your oven might be better than my old one. For most ovens I’d cook it slower at 375—like maybe 1.5 to 2 hrs.