Kale Pesto Lasagna is a delicious way to eat some healthy greens into you family’s diet. Kale pesto cooks along with noodles, plenty of cheese and garlic for some serious green comfort food!
When I was working on the Collards & Kale cookbook, I was always looking for creative ways to get some healthy greens on the plate. I recalled a tasty green lasagna in The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen, that calls for basil pesto and spinach. I figured I could double up on the greens by using a similar method, with kale pesto and another green. (included the Amazon link above to the classic vegetarian cookbook from the author of Moosewood).
The first time I made this Kale Pesto Lasagna, I used dandelion greens, and really liked the touch of bitterness these greens provided, made a nice contrast with the cheese. Dandelion greens seem to be more seasonal, so you might need to swap in another green. I have successfully used mizuna greens and Tuscan kale as well. This is a great recipe to try if you get a farmshare and have some greens on hand you’re not sure what to do with! If you try a different green in this Kale Pesto Lasagna, please let me know how it turns out.
The Kale Pesto Lasagna ingredients might be different than your typical lasagna, but the method for assembling it is pretty similar. The ricotta gets combined with kale pesto, your second green, more garlic and some parmesan cheese. The ricotta mixture gets layered in over some lasagna noodles, then topped with some mozzarella. Repeat for another layer, then spread the remaining kale pesto over the top of the lasagna. You’re ready to put the good stuff in the oven!
Wine Pairing: I tend to gravitate toward whites to go with dishes featuring pesto, but with all the cheese baked into this dish, an Italian red wine is my preferred choice. A Dolcetto from the Piedmont area of Italy can be a very good pairing for the Kale Pesto Lasagna. If you can find one from Anna Maria Abbona, she is definitely my favorite producer of Dolcetto. A Chianti can also work with this dish.
Speaking of wines from the Piedmont, I had a Barolo waiting patiently in the cellar for a couple months after picking it up at the fall grand tasting at Pairings Wine & Food. I decided to give the 2011 Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo ($45, 14.5% ABV) a try with the lasagna. Not a classic pairing for Barolo, but this is an excellent bottle of wine, and it worked reasonably well with the lasagna. That said, my recommendation would be to stick with the Dolcetto for the lasagna, but do treat yourself to a bottle of this Barolo if you come across it! Pair the Barolo with something like this mushroom risotto recipe for best results.
- KALE PESTO INGREDIENTS
- 4 cups tightly packed kale leaves, stems removed
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
- generous pinch red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
- OTHER LASAGNA INGREDIENTS
- 2 lbs low fat ricotta cheese
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cups dandelion greens or mizuna greens, stemmed and chopped
- ¾ cup Parmesan cheese, divided
- salt/pepper to taste
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
- 1 package no cook lasagna noodles
- 8 ozs mozzarella cheese
- Make the kale pesto: Add the kale and garlic to a food processor, coarsely chopping to create enough room for the other ingredients. Next add the pumpkin seeds, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, cheese, and olive oil, and puree until it comes to a nice smooth consistency. Set the pesto aside.
- Pre-heat oven to 350. Empty the ricotta cheese into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the greens, 1 cup kale pesto, ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese, the 4 cloves of minced garlic, and the pumpkin seeds.
- Spray a deep baking dish with oil spray. Place a layer of noodles on the bottom of the pan. If using no bake noodles, break up the noodles to fill open spaces around the bottom of the pan.
- Spread half of the the ricotta mixture over the noodles. The noodles should be all covered with the cheese. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella over the top of the ricotta mixture.
- Add a layer of noodles over the cheese to cover it. Spread the remaining ricotta mixture over this 2nd layer of noodles, then sprinkle the remaining mozzarella over the the ricotta.
- Cover the cheese with a final layer of noodles. Spread the remaining pesto across the noodles, trying to get a bit of pesto on as much of the noodles as you can. This helps the noodles to come out softer. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over the top of the pesto.
- Cover the lasagna and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the cover and bake for another 20 minutes. Check after about 10 minutes of baking uncovered, you want the top to brown a bit, put the cover back on if it looks like it is browned enough for your liking.
- Remove lasagna from the oven after 50 minutes and serve nice and hot.
Want more tasty recipes like this Kale Pesto Lasagna? Grab yourself a copy of the Collards & Kale Cookbook!