layered vegetarian lasagnaIf you use any kind of social media – you’ll have seen the headlines proclaiming you’ve been doing everything wrong – and not just wrong but “all wrong.” You’ve been boiling eggs all wrong. You’ve been brushing your teeth all wrong. You’ve been making your bed all wrong. You’ve been driving all wrong. Shopping all wrong. Reading all wrong. Chances are you’ve been living your entire life all wrong…

When I first tasted this layered sweet potato, spinach, and mushroom ‘lasagna’ in the Sole Restaurant and Wine Bar in Waterloo, Ontario, it occurred to me that I might just have been making lasagna all wrong, all my life.

I wasn’t prepared for how beautiful this dish would be. Not truly a lasagna since it does not have any noodles in it – it is actually more akin to a layered vegetarian terrine. At a dinner in the 150 year old Seagram building, a dear and trusted friend (my writing mentor / editor) suggested I try this. Sole’s menu reads, “Sweet Potato Lasagna – layered sweet potatoes, leeks, shiitake and Portobello mushrooms, feta and mozzarella, vodka rose sauce.”

I knew from the first mouthful that I loved this dish. Packed with super-food vegetables it’s a nutritional powerhouse, but more importantly, the combination of flavours and textures is simply perfect.  Robust, creamy, intensely flavourful, slightly salty because of the cheese, and yet, ever so slightly sweet and fragrant thanks to the layers of finely sliced sweet potatoes acting in place of the traditional noodles. Love at first bite.

I’ve worked at recreating this in my own kitchen. I’ve done a totally vegan version substituting a few tablespoons of sun-dried tomato pesto and a quarter cup of vegan mayonnaise for the cheese and eggs. And I’ve made a couple of versions of the full-on loaded with cheese version. Both are fantastic. But since the cheesy version is most similar to the one I had at Sole, I’m including my version of their perfect dish below. My only lament is that because I’m a completely inadequate photographer – I just cannot do this dish justice with a photograph. I vow to keep trying but overlook the photographs – this lasagna really is my new favourite thing.

This recipe requires a bit of preparation. I don’t have a mandolin because I’m afraid if I did, I’d probably slice more than just the vegetables and end up in the emergency room. Plus despite all my hours in the kitchen – I work at not loading up my kitchen with rarely used gadgets. I’m a big believer in some good wooden cutting boards and excellent knives. You’ll need either a very good knife or a mandolin to slice the potatoes thinly enough for this recipe. In addition – you’ll probably need a food processor (or endless patience for chopping). I’ve got a tiny Kitchen Aid food processor. I use it constantly. Mostly for hummus but also for pesto and soup and definitely for this lasagna.

Please try this wonderful dish. It is my absolute new favourite and everyone I’ve served it to simply loves it. If you’re serving it a dinner party – make the vodka blush sauce and serve it on the side. A simple green salad with nuts and dried cranberries  and a loaf of sourdough served alongside would make a fantastic meal for a vegetarian dinner. Nobody will miss the meat.sweet potato lasagna 2

Sweet potato, spinach, and mushroom lasagna

  • 2 large sweet potatoes – try to pick long thin ones if possible, peeled and if not thin, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 or 2 small white potatoes, scrubbed or peeled
  • at least 142 grams or 5 oz of organic baby spinach, washed and thoroughly dried
  • 2 medium onions (I’ve used red and yellow onions in place of the leeks in the original lasagna description)
  • 225 grams (1/2 pound) or more of mushrooms – I used cremini
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups of grated mozzarella or old cheddar
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta or 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 large eggs

For the optional vodka rose sauce

  • 3-4 tbsp sun-dried tomato pesto
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp vodka

Using the food processor, pulse the spinach, mushrooms, onion, and garlic until chopped NOT desiccated. I had to do this in several small batches. Be careful not over process although if you do – it will still work.

In a large fry pan, gently warm the olive oil and add the pulsed vegetables. Add a little salt and pepper and the dried red pepper flakes. Sauté for about ten minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. In the meantime, you can finely, finely slice your sweet and regular potatoes.

Reserve about 1/2 cup of the grated cheese, and add the remainder to the sautéed vegetables along with the beaten eggs.

Liberally grease an 8 x 8 inch glass pan or something equivalent, and begin by layering the sweet potatoes and regular potatoes – you can overlap them and stack them a bit. Then spoon over about half the spinach and mushroom mixture. Add another layer of potatoes, then the remainder of the spinach  mix. Top with a final layer of potatoes and cover this with the remainder of the grated cheese.

Cover the dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven for another ten minutes to brown. Remove the dish from the pan and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

While the lasagna is standing, you can whip up the sauce. Place the sun-dried tomato pesto in a small sauce pan over med-low heat. Stir gently and begin adding the heavy cream, stirring the whole time. When the two are well-mixed and warm, turn the heat off and add the vodka. Serve on the side.

sweet potato lasagna layers

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25 thoughts on “new favourite thing – sweet potato, spinach, and mushroom ‘lasagna’

  1. Lindy, this sounds amazing. I know what you mean about feeling like you’re being find that you’re doing everything wrong. This lasagna sound quite right. My mom makes a version if this with giant summer squash instead of noodles. It’s so so good. sounds like your restaurant experience is what i always hope for when i try a new place. Thanks for sharing. Xo

    1. Dear Amanda! Isn’t a really great restaurant with atmosphere and history and people you love and then to top it all off, a wonderful meal, one of life’s rare and memorable treats?! Your mother’s version sounds really good – do you mean zucchini when you say giant summer squash? I’d like to try that. Have you posted it? If not please do. xo

  2. This has to be good with the combination of ingredients used. And there’s nothing quite like baked foods to really bring out their flavours. I’d like to try this with white fleshed sweet potato I used to buy here. Must check if they’re still available. That store definitely doesn’t do anything right! Went there earlier to buy flageolet – you guessed it, no longer available. They keep pulling products. Presumably as they’re not especially popular. No more bunches of fresh herbs either! Just shows what this area is like. Ready meals. When they could eat like this.

    1. Johnny – you are so lovable. I keep wondering where it is that you live that is remote that you cannot buy fresh herbs. I think you should start a small store – selling your preserves and baked goods and of course, fresh herbs. And a few fine ingredients. There’s a little store here that makes me think of you – it is called Old Farm Fine Foods (or something like that) just an old convenience store done up as a sweet little cafe/market store with seasonal produce and homemade soup and local cheese and sausages, etc. And a few groceries. There are two tables outside in the summer where one can sit with a coffee and a pastry, or a bowl of soup, or an ice cream. Wouldn’t you love a little place like that? I would.

  3. I will be making this Lindy. I love the layers of goodness just like lasagne but you wouldn’t feel “stuffed” after eating a nice healthy serving. I love sweet potatoes and never buy them. I was reminded how much I enjoy them after eating a tempura sweet potato off my son’s plate just yesterday. And I love your photographs! Personally I prefer photo’s to be “less styled” and more natural. Isn’t it fun to try to figure out a recipe after falling for it at a restaurant?

    1. Seana – if you came to Kingston I know where I’d take you first. To Sima Sushi – for yam tempura maki rolls. So fantastic. But as for you, you really are the best. I love you for your comments and the things you make and the life you live way over there on the other side of the continent. xo

      1. You are too kind. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to share a sushi lunch together? I thought about my comment here and isn’t there a lot of “love” ?! I love this, I love that, love love love. Well, after all you are “love in the kitchen” Ha! 🙂

  4. This lasagna looks so appealing in your photos. Love the addition of that vodka sauce – can’t wait to try it. And thanks for the tip about Sima Sushi. I’ve never been there but will seek it out.

    1. Hilda -it’s so good to hear from you. Thank you! I’ve been a very remiss blogger this whole fall and winter. Sima Sushi is WONDERFUL and so reasonable. They have a lunch menu and lunches are between $7.95 and $9.95. For this they serve you green tea, a bowl of miso soup, a small salad, and then a main course of sushi or maki. The restaurant itself is as cute as a button and the staff are lovely. It’s at the lake end of Princess – just up from Pan Chancho. Closed on Tuesdays.
      Promise to visit your blog shortly and catch up. 😉

      1. Thanks for that info. I will certainly try it soon. I go into Kingston so much more now that I am being treated for a broken wrist so I usually make a day of it.

  5. This is the tastiest dish ever, I am making it tomorrow as a treat to myself! Thank you so much for introducing me to such great food!! Plus your blog made me laugh – I guess I really have been doing lasagne all wrong! Xoxox

  6. MMM….Sounds, looks delicious….
    Cannot wait to try it!!! I am sure whatever dinnerware I serve it on will be all wrong!!

  7. I will definitely be making this!!! Such great ingredients! I’m so lucky that I can get sweet potatoes year round where I live, because they’re not just for fall and winter!!!

    1. Thanks Mimi – and yes – I also buy sweet potatoes year round because a default dish of mine is sweet potato and chick pea curry. Or stuffed sweet potatoes. Or sweet potato fries. Make that several of my default dishes…. 😉

  8. Lindy, this is such a beautiful recipe. I love sweet potatoes and in fact many root vegetables since childhood. Will certainly give it a go when I can afford the time. Hope all is well. Kindly, Danny

  9. Lindy, this is such a beautiful recipe. I love root vegetables since I was a child and this version of lasagna is one that I can’t reject. Really hope I can get all the ingredients over here and make it soon! Kindly, danny

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