I’m continuously on a quest to find ways to prepare squash and pumpkin in a satisfying way. I mentioned in a previous post that I don’t care much for squash mostly because they are most often prepared in a sweet way. However, it is possible to successfully prepare the squash family in a savory way as well. This year we picked our pumpkins mostly for the seeds with no intention to carve. Unfortunately when we opened our pumpkins we found the most pathetic dilapidated flat seeds I have ever seen ;( — they were completely unusable and severely disappointing to me. In a moment of panic upon this discovery I feared that we bought and lugged these pumpkins home for no reason… I was peeved. Deep breath, we had to give them purpose — this meant making pumpkin puree!
And with that puree we made bread, muffins, cookies, lasagna, and even gave some away! I would have never had the desire to make my own pumpkin puree if those seeds were any good. I would have happily moved on to roast and devour the seeds without thinking twice about completely wasting the rest of the pumpkin! We made our puree from two pumpkins, which left us with about 16 cups! So of course we had to search for different ways to use it, what the heck could you do with so much puree!? I will forever look at a pumpkin as more than a carve-able surface filled with delicious seeds.
One of the most interesting dishes I discovered was pumpkin lasagna; I have never heard of or thought of it but I was sure ready to try it out. I got the idea from Food Mayhem, they made it last year as well. Of course I didn’t follow their exact recipe, I had to cut out anything sweet and add a little more savory to the mix. It turned out nicely. Lasagna is one of those meals that really doesn’t need many rules. Noodles, sauce, cheese, and anything else baked in layers — that’s basically how it’s done. This is how we made our first pumpkin lasagna! If you’re a sweeter pumpkin eater you should have a look at Food Mayhem’s recipe as well and adjust to your preference.
Ingredients used: pumpkin puree, cayenne powder, cumin powder, ginger, kosher salt, lasagna noodles, fresh ricotta, fresh mozzarella, spinach, tofu, mushrooms.
3 cups plain fresh plain pumpkin puree-
spiced with :
1 tsp pepper powder or cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½+ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh finely minced ginger.
lasagna noodles of choice
15 oz fresh ricotta cheese
8+ oz fresh mozzarella
3 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms
2 cups fresh or frozen spinach
½ block of tofu
Begin by spicing up the pumpkin puree; simmer puree in a sauce pot and add ginger, cumin, cayenne powder/pepper powder, and salt to taste. Cook over lowest heat while you prepare the rest of the ingredients (cut mushrooms, tofu, and spinach).
Preheat oven to 350°
In a 9 x 13 glass baking dish spread a thin layer of pumpkin puree at the very bottom, place the first layer of lasagna noodles and cover with a thin layer of pumpkin puree. Having a bit of puree on the very bottom will help the noodles cook and avoid it from sticking to the bottom of the pan once cooked.
Add tofu; we sliced ours but crumbling it would also be nice. Add a layer of spinach — we used frozen spinach because that’s what we had, we always have frozen spinach on hand because it’s super cheap and a perfect ingredient to add to any sauce, beans, rice, casseroles, lasagna, etc…
Time for another layer of lasagna noodles & of course a layer of pumpkin puree.
Clump fresh ricotta onto the mix and spread it out into an even layer.
Place the sliced mushrooms in an nice even layer and place your last layer of lasagna noodles.
One last layer of pumpkin puree and top with mozzarella! We accidentally bought a fresh mozzarella filled with cream: Burrata — fresh mozzarella filled with cream. When we first chopped into the surprisingly soft and gooey cheese we worried that we made a mistake. Of course we used it anyway and it didn’t seem to make a difference at all. Once Baked all of the cheese melted together and was delicious as expected.
Cover with tin foil and bake at 350° for 50 min. Allow time to cool — cut and serve. Now tell me that doesn’t look delicious! Ha — ok, I know, it’s not exactly a beautiful looking dish. But it’s definitely a nice way to remake a traditional lasagna into a seasonal treat…