Iron Woman Lasagna

Lasagna

It was bound to happen. I’ve been a vegetarian for 18 years now and have never had any trouble with a classic no-meat worry: Iron. And then, last week at my 30-week check up–BOOM. Low iron.

Iron PillsI should have known. I was feeling sluggish, had horrible dark circles under my eyes and my heart was skipping more beats than usual. (I have MVP, so I’m used to some irregularity.) I was getting out of breath too fast and my pretty pregnancy hair was starting to break. I blamed all this on the dreaded third trimester, but turns out it was my stupid iron levels. Baby Sprout, bless him, depleted my stores.

SpinachI have new iron pills which I’m not a big fan of. I’m taking them every other day for now, as they are hard on the stomach. In the meantime, I am on a mission to get my mojo back by packing my diet full of iron-rich food. So far, that’s meant oatmeal, dried beans, leafy greens, tempeh and blackstrap molasses.

Last night, I made lasagna that’s chock full of these iron-laden staples. In the recipe that follows, spinach, whole wheat noodles, nutritional yeast and white beans all bring a significant supply to the table. Oh, and it tastes good. Like reeeeealllly good. You’ll want to remember the white bean/ricotta/sun dried tomato combo and use it as dip for the Super Bowl.

The beans I used had a little rosemary infused and it gave them great kick. Feel free to add in a little to your blend for the same effect. Enjoy!

Iron Girl Lasagna

9 100% whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 cups yellow onion, chopped

2 cups mushrooms, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

6 ounces fresh baby spinach

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 cup ricotta cheese

1.5 cups cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (oil packed), drained

2.5 cups of your favorite pasta sauce, divided

2 cups shredded cheese (I used an Italian blend)

  1. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion and mushrooms; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Add spinach; cook until just wilted. Stir in the salt and pepper.
  3. Place ricotta, beans and sun dried tomatoes in a food processor or high speed blender; process until smooth.
  4. Spread 1 cup sauce in bottom of a 13×9 inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 noodles over sauce; top noodles with all of the spinach mixture. Sprinkle evenly with nutritional yeast.
  5. Top with 3 more noodles, then the ricotta mixture. Layer on another 3 noodles.
  6. Spread remaining sauce over noodles; sprinkle with cheese.
  7. Cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes.
  8. Turn on broiler (do not remove dish from oven). Uncover and broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

*I used Cooking Light’s Kale and Mushroom Lasagna as the base for these instructions. (Lasagna layers can be complex!) FYI, I made the vegetarian adaptation of that recipe last week and it was mighty fine.