Comfort Food Includes Lasagna at Our Little House

I love spring and summer for the weather and the bounty of fresh vegetables available, but I love winter for the comfort food dishes.

When I was a kid, I always knew when it was vegetable soup night as I could smell it as soon as I stepped on our front stoop after getting off of the school bus.

My mother was a huge Italian food fan, particularly spaghetti and lasagna and one of my favorite recipes is a variation of her lasagna recipe, which I’ve modified from a big pan to a pan for two.

The recipe gives us four pieces, one each for dinner and one each for our lunches the next day.

Dale enjoys ricotta cheese in his as well, so I’ve added that, along with fresh pressed garlic (Mom used the bottled one) and instead of adding a “pinch” each of several Italian spices to the sauce as she did, I buy the Italian spice blend.

I also make it meatless, substituting rich large sliced portabella mushrooms in place of ground beef; something I’m sure my dad would have had a fit over.

To get some greens into the meal, I also chop baby spinach in the food processor.

We had it last night with toasted garlic bread and although the recipe is slightly different, it never fails to remind me of “home.”

Our Little House Meatless Spinach Lasagna

4 pieces of no boil lasagna noodles (I soak them in warm water to soften them

1 16 oz. can tomato sauce

1 sm. Can of tomato paste

3 fresh cloves of garlic, pressed

1 tbsp. Italian spices

1 onion

2 tbsp. Olive oil divided

2 large portabella mushrooms

4 cups of baby spinach, chopped in food processor

1 sm. cartoon ricotta cheese

1 small package of sharp cheddar

1 small package of Italian cheese blend

Sautee onions and garlic in 1 tbsp. of olive oil, add tomato sauce and paste to thicken. Cook on low for about one hour, stirring ocassionally. In the meantime, slice mushrooms and sauté in the remaining olive oil to soften. When sauce is cooked, preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9×9 square baking dish layer 2 noodles, spread ricotta cheese, half of the sauce and add half of the chopped spinach. Add half of the mushrooms and sprinkle with both Italian cheese and cheddar. Repeat process on the second layer, adding the remaining ingredients. Bake in oven at 350 for about ½ hour or until cheese is melted and slightly brown.

Do you have a favorite comfort food recipe? Where did it come from? If it is an old recipe, have you modified it in any way?

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31 Responses

  1. Heather L. says:

    Thank you for sharing your lasagne recipe. It sounds yummy. Comfort food is called that for a reason.

  2. Sheryl M says:

    Thanks for the great lasagna recipe! I’ve got a similar one, that instead of portabellos, uses roasted red peppers layered with the spinach. I love the idea of making it in a 9″ pan. Now that there are just two of us eating, we have either lots of leftovers, or lots of frozen extras. Great ideas! I’m trying your recipe next.

  3. Jane Boursaw says:

    Ooh, Ratatouille! Now you’re talking my movie language. I do love lasagne, and we just had meatloaf here the other night.

  4. sarah henry says:

    I know what you mean about winter and comfort foods. I want soups, gratins, and roasted root veggies in the cooler months.

  5. Cal Olson says:

    Very nice! We’re definitely going to give this one a go. I’ll admit – I’ll probably take out the ‘shrooms and put meat back in, but just ’cause my sweetie isn’t into da ‘shrooms, and my protein requirements are so high. But in honor of meatlessness, I’ll probably put in some black beans as well, or instead. 😀 Thanks for a great recipe!

    • Kerri says:

      If you put the meat back in, I’m sure my dad would be proud, Cal! Actually, Dale wants me to use this good Italian sausage we found here next time, so I’ll deviate from the meatless meal on the next go round. Black beans sound interesting, too. If you do that, please let me know how it comes out!

  6. Oooo, I do love the substitution of portabella mushrooms. Lately, I’ve been using those more and more. I’d take a good mushroom burger over beef any day.

  7. Alisa Bowman says:

    Love the idea of using portabellas!

    • Kerri says:

      Alisa and My Kids, I love portebellas, they add such nice flavor and for meatless meals, such meaty, rich texture. I’m with you, I love a good mushroom burger!

  8. I love lasagna — and love even more the notion of sneaking in vegetables. Great idea.

    • Kerri says:

      That’s exactly what I’m doing Ruth, *sneaking* them in. Although we were running down the list of veggies Dale had eaten this week and he added, “spinach.” I said, “You’re not supposed to know about the spinach.” He knows, but he dosnt’ complain when it’s all chopped up. 😉

  9. Merr says:

    Yay for no-boil noodles, right?! And, what a great idea to use the food processor on the spinach, for a change. I’ve used whole leaves.

    • Kerri says:

      Yep, love those no boil noodles. My husband is not a big green fan. I put the leaves in the processor and “pulse” them into tiny bits. He forgets they’re even there! 😉

  10. Lilla says:


    Your lasagna recipe sounds delish! I don’t think I’ve ever had cheddar cheese in lasagna…only mozzarella and ricotta. Since I am a vegetarian, I love the addition of the spinach and mushrooms! Thanks for sharing.

    • Kerri says:

      My mother didn’t care really for the Italian cheeses, Lilla, so the Italian cheeses are my adding. Cheddar does add a snap though! 😉

  11. NoPotCooking says:

    I know it’s weird but I absolutely cannot stand ricotta cheese! I make my lasagna with a bechamel sauce or sometimes I just use cottage cheese. I recently made a caramelized onion and butternut squash lasagna that was really, really good. I’ve also made a Greek variation. It’s a dish I like to play with. It’s nice to have a standard comfort food dish though, isn’t it?

  12. Alexandra says:

    Oh, my goodness! You really made me crave lasagna. I will have to make some tonight. I’ve been a fan for a long time. In France, there was a spinach lasagna available at supermarkets. I would make it using real spinach in the layers, and alternate the tomato sauce with a mushroom bechamel that I made from fresh mushrooms. My husband likes meat in his lasagna, but I don’t. No clue where I got the recipe I use as I have been making it for at last 30 years. Yum!

  13. Mat says:

    My favorite comfort food is Matzoball Soup–my grandmother’s matzoball soup. Born in 1906 in Harlem to Baltic parents, I always appreciated her “less is more”, kind of…Great Depression approach to that soup. My mother–a remarkable cook in her own right–has adjusted the recipe with lots more chicken, lots of vegetables and legumes, but it just…isn’t right. We both agree that nobody ever made it like Grandma.
    Essentially, she’d boil a chicken (for days, seemingly), then only use chunks of it–never the “strands” that came to characterize my mom’s soup/stew version. She’d cut up mirepoix (I don’t know what the Yiddish word is, though) and boil it just long enough to lose its bite. Then the rice…and the Knedels (matzoballs). But not just any Knedels, the softest, spongiest, lightest I’ve ever eaten. I have no idea how she pulled that off. I suspect that it’s just like meatballs–the less you work with them and the longer you cook them, the better they are.
    The ratio of everything is what I always loved. It’s hard to explain, but it was always just the *right* amount of everything. Not too heavy on any one thing. It’s been almost 15 years since I’ve eaten the perfect matzoball soup. I think maybe it’s time to learn to make it for my son.

    • Kerri says:

      That soup sounds wonderful, Mat. I think we all have recipes that no one else can seem to duplicate just so. I cook vegetable soup, but it never tastes quite as good as Moms and no one, not even my aunt, makes a pumpkin pie like mom’s (although my aunt makes a pretty awesome pumpkin pie).

      • Mat says:

        It’s brilliantly illustrated in a scene at the end of Ratatouille (which if you haven’t seen it is a wonderful film)–the food critic eats a dish and is immediately whisked back to his childhood. That’s what perfect comfort food is supposed to do: take you back a happy, safe place in a simpler time.