This site doesn’t exactly do it justice, but one of my favorite food-related activities, possibly more than creating recipes and a close second to eating doughnuts, is menu and meal planning. You can peruse a few of my past occasion menus and weekly meal plans here and here (and here on my old blog), but I haven’t been the best about posting complete meal plans with grocery shopping lists, which I think is so much more valuable than continuously sharing standalone recipes. Cut me some slack, though–coming up with and writing out grocery lists in a usable format is a challenge, but one that I think I’m on the verge of overcoming. i.e., meal plans coming soon.
I am, however, extra consistent about planning what Steve and I will eat every week, and a key step in that process is getting my booty off the couch, hauling my laptop to the kitchen, and starting with the ingredients I have/need to use up from the freezer, fridge, and pantry. Thanks to this step, ingredients rarely spend months or years on my shelves. I feel I have the right pantry essentials but enough room for new ingredients to explore. I end up utilizing bags of beans and homemade stock from the freezer, citrus and root vegetables from the fridge, and grains and tomato products (just to name a few) from the pantry.
For some reason, though, half a package of no-boil lasagna noodles had me stumped. All spring and summer I’d look at them in irritation, wondering what I could possibly make besides a labor intensive half pan of lasagna, or some kind of lasagna roll-up that I felt would be more difficult than Pinterest made it out to be. In a cross between sheer determination and fall inspiration, the idea came to put this lasagna soup on the weekly meal plan. A “deconstructed” lasagna of sorts, involving much less work, way fewer pans (one pan total, to be exact), and a significantly healthier, just-as-cozy fall supper.
The soup’s flavor speaks for itself, so I did away with the fancy recipe name here. After all, how could I pick just one or two of the endless flavors to put in the name? And despite consistently producing lasagna-like flavors and textures, the recipe has plenty of room for improv. Add some sausage (and cut the mushrooms) for an omnivorous soup, or, do like I did and start the whole pot with some slow browned prosciutto (pregnancy meat cravings!)–a little goes a long way. Red wine in tomato sauces and soups is quickly becoming a favorite fall ingredient for me, even if it is because I can’t straight up drink a glass. To up the protein content without meat, white beans would be fantastic, but I left them out of the recipe since they’re not really a traditional lasagna ingredient.
By far, THE best part of this soup is that, given the reduced quantity of carb-heavy noodles per serving, you don’t have to feel guilty for your garlic bread intake.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 carrots, peeled and grated
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- ½ large yellow onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 20 oz. baby bella/cremini mushrooms, sliced (about ¼")
- 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary (or about ¼ tsp dried)
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- ½ C dry red wine
- 2 cans (15 oz. each) diced tomatoes
- 2½ quarts (10 C) vegetable stock or water
- 8 lasagna noodles (regular or no-boil), broken into bite size pieces
- 1 lb. frozen, chopped spinach
- ½ C finely grated parmesan
- ¼ to ½ C cream or half and half
- Ground black pepper
- To serve: extra parmesan and/or fresh torn basil leaves
- Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion and cook until almost softened. Add garlic, mushrooms, and rosemary, increase heat slightly and cook until all the liquid evaporates from the mushrooms, 5 to 10 minutes. Add tomato paste, increase heat to medium high, and cook until paste begins to caramelize and stick to the bottom of the pan. Pour in wine and cook for a minute or two, until very fragrant and wine has almost completely reduced. Add canned tomatoes with juice and all the stock or water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add a teaspoon of salt and the lasagna noodles, stir, and reduce to a rapid simmer. Cook until noodles are al dente, 5 to 10 minutes. Add spinach, reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until spinach is wilted. Stir and reduce heat to low. Add parmesan and a generous splash of cream or half and half. Stir, cool slightly, taste, and season as needed. Serve with extra parmesan or fresh basil.
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