Since it’s Holy Week and Passover at the same time, I had to cook dinners with no meat and also Kosher for Passover for both my husband and I. During Holy Week, there are days when Catholics abstain from meat. I always follow these traditions. My husband always follows his Jewish traditions too. So for a dinner that had no meat and was Kosher, I was reminded of some ideas I found last year, while perusing Pinterest. I saw some pins on lasagna using matza as the noodles. So, I decided to give it a go and made matza lasagna with greens & mushrooms.
A good pan is central to making a good lasagna. Sadly, I don’t have a deep enough pan for the size lasagna I wanted to make, so I just used a regular 8×8 inch square pan. I also used pan lining paper, which helps out a lot. One side is foil and the other is parchment. I love it! Highly recommended!
I used egg matza which has a has a nice flavor and texture. My husband likes this type. I remember always seeing a box of them at his place while we were first dating. LOL. During the first year we were dating, I remember having a good time with his roommates, playing guitar with them, celebrating on one of my birthdays, and the cute mixed-breed dog that belonged to one of the roommates. Wow, how time flies. Anyways, any type of matza boards is fine. Even the gluten-free ones would make a really good lasagna!
You have to soak the matza just until they soften. Then take them out of the water. Don’t let them soak too long or the noodles will be too soggy. 😦 If you feel like you haven’t soaked them too much, that’s okay. The sauce and all the layers will help soften them as it bakes. Less soaking is better than over-soaking. Think of it as though the matza has an outer shell and a core. You want the shell to get moistened, while the core to be dry. That way, when the liquid permeates throughout the cracker, it won’t be water logged. Somehow this reminds me of freshman biology and cellular tonicity. Do you catch my drift? LOL, I miss those days studying in college and the creative ways my friends and I would learn the material. Laughs and good times studying in the library 🙂 This lasagna is making me nostalgic, for some reason.
Power to the greens, from Trader Joe’s, is a nice, power-packed organic mix including baby kale, baby chard, and baby spinach. This is what I used for this lasagna, but you can use just spinach, the mix I used in Greek greens pie/hortopita, or your favorite mix of greens.
The greens are lightly wilted and go into the ricotta mixture.
Here’s the sautéed cabbage and shiitake mushrooms. This is savoy cabbage from my dad’s garden. Love this mushroom-cabbage combo just by itself, but it’s scrumdiddlyumptious in a lasagna too! 😀 Suraj, if you are reading, this is a shout out to you and your favorite word, scumdiddlyumptious!
To assemble, tomato sauce goes on the bottom, then a layer of matza. Patch the gaps with some matza noodles. Use your favorite tomato pasta sauce. But beware, make sure it isn’t too thin or too thick. The former would make the lasagna watery and the latter would make it dry and taste like straight tomato paste. EEeeeek!
Then another layer of sauce and the ricotta-greens filling.
On top of that goes the mushroom-cabbage mix. I think I put a bit much on the bottom layer, but that’s okay. Life isn’t perfect.
Then top it with some good sliced mozzarella. I used some smoked mozzarella that we needed to use up ASAP, which gave it a bit of a smokey flavor that we were fine with. I just didn’t want the cheese to waste, but non-smoked cheese is better in this dish. Just use your favorite mozzarella. Repeat the layering process 2 more times.
Then top with matza noodles, sauce, and cheese! I didn’t put as much cheese on top as it was plenty enough cheesy with all the layers. My pan wasn’t deep enough so I had to make a foil collar for it before it went into the oven. Reminds me of Julia Child and the collar she used when making soufflé. I would have used the pan lining paper, but I ran out. Cover it with more foil or pan-lining paper and bake!
There’s some nice and crusty parts, which I love. Inside it was gooey, cheesy, and leafy goodness. With some yummy umami from the mushrooms too!
Ingredients (make sure they are all Kosher for Passover)
- 5 matza cracker boards (gluten-free, egg, regular, etc.)
- olive oil
- 1 package Power to the Greens (or 2 cups of your favorite greens mix)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 cup grated parmigiano
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
- Dash of nutmeg
- 1/2 cup onions, chopped
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- Dash of white wine (optional)
- ~2 cups cabbage, shredded (I used savoy)
- ~1.5 cups mushrooms, sliced (I used shiitake)
- 15 ounce jar tomato sauce or jarred marinara sauce
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/4 inch thick (whole-milk or part-skim is fine, whichever you prefer)
- Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 x 8 inch square baking pan with pan-lining paper or spray with oil.
- Soak matza boards on both sides until just the outside is moistened and has softened a little. Set aside on a dry surface.
- Prepare the ricotta-greens filling: Heat a medium-sized skillet on medium heat. Sauté the greens until wilted. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Put the greens in a container and let it cool. While it is cooling, mix the ricotta, 1/2 cup of the parmigiano, egg, basil, and nutmeg. Season with salt & pepper. Once the greens are cool, squeeze out the excess liquid with your hands and mix it in with the cheese-egg mixture. Set aside.
- Prepare the cabbage-mushrom layer: Heat a medium-sized skillet on medium heat. Sauté the onions and garlic until fragrant and golden brown. Season with salt & pepper. Add a dash of white wine to deglaze the pan. Then add the cabbage and mushrooms. Sauté until softened and the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.
- Assembly: Spread 3/4 cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan. Then layer on a matza noodle, patching the gap in the side with matza noodle torn off from a whole piece. Spread another 3/4 cup of tomato sauce, then evenly spread on a third of the ricotta-greens mixture. After that, layer a third of the cabbage-mushroom filling then top with mozzarella slices. Repeat this process of layering noodles, sauce, ricotta-greens, cabbage-mushroom, and mozzarella 2 more times. Top with remaining noodles, sauce, and 1/2 cup of parmigiano.
- Cover with foil or pan-linin paper that has been greased and bake for about 40 minutes. Remove the foil cover and bake for 20 minutes longer or until the top is browned. Let cool for 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving.
This was a hefty, but very satisfying lasagna. The matzo noodles were a bit softer than pasta noodles, but it was a nice change of pace. A Passover dish (or for Lent too) that’s finger-lickin’ good. Made me feel good inside and out (+ nostalgic?!?!). Try it!
- Mocha Brownies for Passover (foodflavorfascination.wordpress.com)
- Passover Popovers (foodflavorfascination.wordpress.com)
- Passover Italian Style (selectitaly.com)
- Happy Passover! (yinyangyogis.wordpress.com)
- Kosher chefs offer tips for learning to love matza (timesofisrael.com)