Meatless Monday: Asparagus Lasagna

asparagus

As I mentioned last week, the Des Moines Farmers’ Market is officially open for business! Because we had such a cold and long winter, the only vegetable truly in season right now is asparagus. I enjoy asparagus and find myself eating it quite a bit, especially this time of year. As I was browsing through the USA Weekend mini magazine from last Sunday’s paper I came upon a recipe for asparagus lasagna that looked and sounded delicious. Always one to try new recipes, I didn’t hesitate to make this especially since there is an abundance of fresh asparagus at the market now.

How-To
You will need the following:
1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup of green peas (can be cooked or thawed frozen)
2 cups of spinach, cut
1 clove of garlic, crushed
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 can of white beans, pureed
6 pieces of cooked whole grain lasagna
1 tablespoon of chives, minced
1 tablespoon of chopped dill
1 tablespoon of parsley, chopped
Grated parmesan cheese
Bowl of cold water with ice cubes large enough to accommodate asparagus

Boil a pot of water large enough to accommodate the asparagus. Once boiling, drop asparagus in for about one minute or until bright green. Immediately remove with a slotted spoon and put asparagus in bowl of cold ice-water to stop cooking. Once chilled, drain and set aside. DSC_0020

DSC_0025Return the water from the asparagus and to a boil and add the lasagna noodles. Cook for about eight to 10 minutes.

While that is boiling, in a food processor, puree the white beans, crushed garlic, extra virgin olive oil, dill, chives, and parsley. Season with other spices if you desire and set aside.

Drizzle an iron skillet or other sauté pan with extra virgin olive oil and add shallots and minced garlic. Stir until you can smell the garlic and then reduce heat to avoid overcooking. Add the peas, asparagus, and spinach and cook for two to three minutes until spinach is wilted.

Once lasagna is cooked, drain and cut pieces in half. You will begin to layer your lasagna like this: one piece of lasagna, bean puree, cooked veggies. Repeat that once more and finish with a piece of lasagna drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and parmesan cheese if desired.photo by step

ta daI was a little overwhelmed when I first started making this. It seemed really complicated but it’s actually quite easy. I think because you’ve got so many things going on at once it can be overwhelming but now that I’ve made it once I think I could easily do this again sans following the recipe.final

The greatest surprise of all was that the day I made this was the hottest day of the year. I had planned for this to be our meal and was dreading using the oven. As it turns out, no oven is required! This can also be a vegan recipe if you omit the parmesan cheese! I think I’ll probably experiment a little over the summer with “no-oven” lasagna recipes. I’ll certainly keep you posted.

Do you like asparagus? What is your favorite way to serve or eat asparagus? Do tell!