Sunday, 27 December 2009

Mexican Pepper and Bean Lasagna

This recipe for vegetable lasagna is based on one found in Chatelaine Recipes and has been modified slightly.

1-2 red, yellow or green peppers
1 large portabella mushroom
1 can black beans19 oz (540 mL), rinsed
1 can white kidney or romano beans, rinsed
Olive oil
3 cups (750 mL) tomato-based pasta sauce*
475 g container extra-smooth ricotta cheese
2 tsp (10 mL) each ground cumin and dried thyme leaves
1 tsp (5 mL) chili flakes
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 to 14 oven-ready or fresh lasagna noodles
3 cups (750 mL) grated Monterey Jack, light Havarti or cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (125 mL) or more coarsely chopped fresh coriander

* I used 1-28 oz tin of crushed tomatoes and 1-6 oz tin of tomato paste. The extra sauce is preferable if using oven-ready lasagna noodles. I also cooked in a couple of handfuls of spinach leaves.

Preheat oven to 350F (180C).

Core and seed peppers, then coarsely chop.
Dice portabella mushroom.
Drain and rinse beans.
Lightly coat a large wide saucepan with oil and set over medium heat. Add peppers and mushrooms. Stir often until softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in beans and pasta sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl stir ricotta with cumin, thyme, chili flakes, salt and pepper.

Spread enough sauce to barely cover bottom of a 9x13-inch (3-L) baking dish. Cover with 4 or 5 noodles. Don't overlap. Spoon half the ricotta mixture in dollops overtop, then gently spread as best you can toward edges. Pour half of sauce overtop, then smooth surface. Sprinkle with 1 cup (250 mL) grated cheese. Top with 4 or 5 noodles, remaining ricotta mixture and 1 cup (250 mL) cheese. Finish with noodles, gently pressing them down. Cover with remaining sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake, uncovered, in centre of 350F (180C) oven until a knife tip inserted in centre of lasagna feels warm, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with coriander.

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