Posted by Mariah | Posted in Main Dishes, Meal Ideas, Uncategorized | Posted on 09-05-2010
The Cedar Falls Farmers Market opened last week, loaded with lots of fresh veggies, herbs and flowers. Leafy greens were the main attraction — the perfect inspiration for an Italian meal featuring veggie lasagna, a real spring mix salad and fresh-baked bread.
I try to go the Farmer’s Market every Saturday, for a multitude of reasons. The biggest one is to support our local farmers. They are nothing short of amazing in their skill, knowledge and dedication. The farmer from whom I bought my spring greens took about 10 minutes of his time to help me plan my herb garden. As I watched him explain the different ways the plants would need to be cared for, with hands permanently etched with dirt, he actually talked me OUT of planting much more than a few pots of herbs. (He probably realized his precious plants might not fair too well in my hands! I love to cook with fresh vegetables, but I’ve literally killed every single plant I’ve ever owned, with the exception of two cacti.)
The second reason I shop regularly at the farmer’s market is because buying locally is better for the planet. There’s less transportation involved in moving your food from point A to point B. There’s less packaging, and thus, less waste, especially if you re-use your produce and grocery bags!
The third reason is that the food simply tastes better. Lettuce that was recently plucked from the ground is crisper and has that almost indescribably fresh, earthy flavor. Bread that was recently made by hand and plucked from an oven that morning is soft and fragrant, with a distinctly homey flavor.
OK, enough preaching about the farmer’s market. I give you the recipe — plus ideas for a salad and the name of the wonderful baker who made my bread. I can tell you that the whole meal was a big hit with my kids and their friends — they ate almost every bite and virtually devoured the bread!
1 can fire-roasted tomatoes (I like Muir Glen organic)
1 can tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. oregano
2 tbsp. fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried basil — fresh is a farmer’s market ingredient
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary (or 1 tbsp. fresh) — fresh is a farmer’s market ingredient
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 cup water
4 cups fresh spinach, chopped — farmer’s market ingredient
1/2 package veggie crumbles (I like Morningstar Farms)
1 1/2 cups fresh mozzarella, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups grated mozzarella (not the fresh kind)
1 package lasagna noodles (uncooked)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Saute onions and peppers in a saucepan over medium-high heat for about five minutes.
- Add garlic and saute one to two more minutes until fragrant.
- Add tomatoes, oregano, basil, pepper flakes, veggie crumbles and water. Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.
- While sauce is cooking, stir cheeses together.
- When sauce has simmered, ladle about one cup on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan.
- Layer uncooked noodles over the sauce.
- Cover with another cup of sauce.
- Cover sauce with 2 cups spinach.
- Cover spinach with 1/2 of the cheese.
- Repeat the steps, starting with another layer of noodles, then sauce and so forth.
- You will finish the layering with the cheese on top.
- Sprinkle additional pepper flakes and rosemary on top for a prettier dish.
- Bake for 45 minutes.
- Allow lasagna to cool, then serve with the spring greens salad below and the Sandwich Loaf made by Lorna Martin at Wild Wood farms.
Spring Green Salad Ingredients:
2 cups spinach
1 head romaine lettuce
1 sprig fresh dill, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
Toss the above together and serve it with your favorite dressing. Mine is Goddess Dressing by Annie’s Naturals.