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Add apples to lasagna for tasty dish

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Local fresh apples are on farmers' market stands now, but Apple Lasagna is a dish you can make any season, with apples you can find in the stores year round. Adjust your choice of greens to what you see are the freshest and best at the time you want to cook.

Apples first come to mind as desserts or drinks, but this recipe offers an opportunity to try using them in a main course. Note that the recipe will fit vegetarian meal plans that include the use of cheese.


APPLE LASAGNA WITH FALL GREENS

12 lasagna noodles

5 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, diced (about 4 tablespoons)

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup apple cider

1 cup vegetable stock (you may use chicken for nonvegetarian alternative)

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, grated

1/2 teaspoon coriander, ground

1/4 teaspoon clove, ground

2 teaspoons thyme leaves

1 cup applesauce

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup whole milk mozzarella, shredded

4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1 1/2 cups turnip greens or Swiss chard, cooked, drained, chopped and seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg

Cook lasagna noodles in 4 quarts lightly salted, boiling water until tender. Drain well and rinse with cold water; set aside.

In a heavy, non-aluminum saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook until clear, about 3 minutes. Add flour, stir well; cook about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add apple cider and vegetable stock; simmer. Season with salt and pepper, nutmeg, coriander, clove and thyme. Add applesauce and lemon juice. Continue to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring to medium-thick consistency.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil an 8-by-11-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Place one layer of pasta on bottom; on this spread one-third of the applesauce mixture, then a layer of greens, followed by a thin layer of cheese. Repeat, finishing with sauce and cheese on top (there should be 4 layers in all). Cover with foil. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove; let cool for 15 minutes before cutting.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 366 cal., 14 g pro., 43.8 g carbo., 2.6 dietary fiber, 14.9 g fat, 141 mg chol., 479 mg sodium.

Recipe from U.S. Apple Association.