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Those of us on the Farmer’s Market or CSA circuit here in the Rocky Mountains are being bombarded with seasonal greens right now. My goal is to eat everything – no waste, no carting stuff off to the compost pile.

I’m on a mission, but my gosh, these pesky greens aren’t making it easy. Plus, I got all caught up in the whole “victory garden” thing and had to plant a few of my own veggies and herbs.

What was I thinking?

First off, when you live a short distance from one of the best organic farms in the country, with farmers who’ve been growing fresh produce for decades, why would I want to bother with doing this myself? I have so little free time as it is and to spend it weeding and tending my nano-acre of produce seems silly. Having said that, I’m thoroughly enjoying my dozen or so plants, even though my lettuce bolted and my rhubarb got hail damage. I have more weeds than produce and something is snacking on my veggies when I’m not around.

This is a good lesson (well, sort of, the weeding part I could do without). I have a tendency to be very picky about what I eat and have a basic list of things I find important when choosing my food. Freshness, organically grown, seasonal, as local as possible (I do cheat though, my addiction to Fuji apples trumps all else). But I like knowing where my food comes from.

Whoa, all that’s well and good until I actually tried growing that food I’m so darn picky about. Please see my food pyramid remix list of healthy eating tips for details.

Bottom line? Growing organic food is not easy and wasting it is bad karma. But, discovering new ways to use farm-fresh ingredients can be a delightful, healthy and rewarding experience. From garlic scape pesto to dairy-free beet ice cream, I have a ball playing with my food. And to be honest, I’m thrilled to have someone else growing it for me. It’s also less expensive in the long run.

Now, on to those pesky greens.

One more thing (always), please keep in mind that most of my recipes are just plain my way of messing with food. I don’t follow rules well and I don’t measure things, so my recipes are guidelines. I make stuff up, so beware.

kale, chard and mushroom lasagna
what you need

4 cups washed, dried and chopped kale *
3-4 cups washed, dried and chopped chard (that’s how much I had in my garden)
2 cups mushrooms (I used 12 crimini mushrooms), washed and sliced
1 cup chopped onion
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1 package Tinkyada organic brown rice pasta (lasagna version)
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
8 ounces ricotta cheese
shredded parmesan
1 jar (25.5 ounces) Muir Glen Organic Garden Vegetable Pasta Sauce
1 can Muir Glen Organic Chunky Tomato Sauce *
2-3 tablespoons of oil (I use coconut oil) for sautéing vegetables
salt and pepper to taste

what you do
Prepare pasta per directions, but cook a couple minutes less than indicated. Set aside. Heat oil in large skillet. Sauté onions and garlic for 2-3 minutes, add mushrooms, stir gently for another couple of minutes. Add greens and stir until partially wilted (it doesn’t take long). Remove from heat.
Spread a small amount (maybe 1/3) of sauce into an ungreased baking dish (I used a large round dish, but a 11 x 7 x 2 size is typical). Layer half the lasagna noodles on the sauce and add a little more sauce. Spread the vegetable mixture over the sauce and top with dollops of ricotta, half the mozzerrela and some shredded parmasean. Add another layer of noodles and the rest of the sauce. Top with dollops of ricotta, the rest of the shredded mozerello and parmesan cheese.

Cover and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Remove foil for last 10 minutes or so to brown the cheese. Keep and eye on it so it doesn’t burn.

Let sit for a few minutes to settle. This was absolutely delicious!

* You can use all kale or a mixture of any hearty greens (chard, spinach). They cook down quite a bit, so 7 or 8 cups of prepared greens really isn’t that much.
* I mixed in the extra can of tomato sauce with the pasta sauce because I was afraid the one 25 ounce jar wouldn’t be enough and I was right.

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Go forth and eat your greens! And hug a farmer.
Melissa
P.S. Stay tuned for a rhubarb recipe and another garlic scape creation.

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22 Responses to “kale, chard and mushroom lasagna”

  1. Rayann says:

    Sounds fantastic, Melissa! I’ll definitely be giving it a try this week if we end up with a ton of kale again in this week’s CSA box. The only change I will probably make is to replace the ricotta with cottage cheese. Horrifying, I know, but it’s a personal preference for lasagna. :-)

  2. Melissa says:

    Rayann,

    Look for kale, lettuce, garlic scapes, beets, rhubarb, etc. Similar to last week. Do you have a small share (small meaning big)?

    I don’t make lasagna often because I don’t eat much pasta and such, but the kale and mushrooms go so well together. This really was good, even if I’m not the best lasagna assembler.

    :-)

    I’m going to try something new with the garlic scapes tonight. I’ll keep you posted.

  3. lo says:

    I know what you mean! We opted out of doing a CSA this year… choosing, instead, to grow some of our own produce AND made regular trips to the farmer’s market. So far, so good. Some weeks, we’re still inundated with produce (since my eyes are often bigger than our stomachs), but it’s been a bit more manageable. That said — you can always stow some of those great greens away in the freezer, if you can’t use them all up!

    Looks like a fantastic use for all those greens to me!

    We’ve been making layered “Mexican” casseroles with ours — corn tortillas, greens, cheese, and sauce. SO GOOD.

  4. Yay – greens! Your take looks yummy as ever, Melissa. I like the round pan. And I know what you mean – the feeling of not wanting anything to go to waste from the CSA while meanwhile, you’re wondering who can eat all that food?! Wish we could share meals over the internet.

    In terms of abundant greens, I think a juicer helps (think green lemonade with kale, lemon, celery and green apple) as does a blender for whipping up green smoothies. Then you can have your greens at breakfast, lunch and dinner!

    :) Diana

  5. Wow, that looks so good. I don’t usually miss cheese but that would taste great. Love your recipes!

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Sorry about your rhubarb, but good thing it’s pretty hearty and withstands alot.
    Your lasagna looks delicious!

  7. Rob says:

    Very cool stuff.

    Just curious, have you ever heard of DePuma’s Gluten Free Pasta out of Connecticut?

    I’ve heard really good things about them.

    Sorry, this probably doesn’t really fit here but I’m just curious to know if anyone has heard of them?

  8. Rayann says:

    Hi Melissa,

    We have a small share – and you’re right, it’s big! We picked up yesterday and got two heads of lettuce, spinach, curly leaf kale, scapes, collards, parsley, cilantro, turnips, rhubarb (which I traded for extra scapes to make more of your pesto) and three kohlrabi bulbs.

    I don’t have the faintest idea what to do with the kohlrabi, so I’m hoping you’re planning on posting one of your fabulous recipes (hint, hint).

    I like the idea of juicing the greens – brilliant! I’ll head to Target on my lunch break and grab a juicer. :-)

  9. Melissa says:

    Lo,

    Layered Mexican casseroles sound wonderful. I like all these greens lightly sautéed with other veggies (and even fruit) that I forget about baking them in a casserole. I threw in the lasagna recipe for a change. Your Mexican fare fits into that category. Thanks for the inspiration. I’ll try something with corn tortillas. Sounds good!

  10. Melissa says:

    Diana,

    I’m not surprised that we’re on the same page with the greens! I do juice them with beets, ginger, apple, carrots — whatever I have around. I’ll post one of my favorite recipes. Good idea. I also eat greens for breakfast, lunch and dinner and encourage my clients to add green smoothies into their diet. It’s such a yummy and good way to eat greens in the summer. You can also make smoothie popsicles out of them. Add a little goat yogurt and you’ve got a green dessert treat!

    Thanks for the comment. I’ve missed you!

  11. Melissa says:

    Diane,

    Thanks — I appreciate your input. I do so much better without dairy, too, but every so often I fall off the wagon. I’m pretty good at knowing my limits though. Yes, it’s hard to resist these gooey casseroles!

    :-)

  12. Melissa says:

    Elizabeth,

    It’s nice to “meet” you and after checking out your blog (love the rhubarb theme), I know we’ll reconnect! I love rhubarb and am going to try a new recipe today. Yes, it is hearty stuff, isn’t it!?

  13. Melissa says:

    Rob,

    Welcome and no problem with dropping the plug for the GF pasta company. Are you the brother or something?

    :-)

    Those of us who don’t eat wheat are always on the lookout for new and good companies.

    I had never heard of that one, so thanks for the tip! I’ll look into it.

  14. Melissa says:

    Rayann,

    Yes, those red boxes sure are big for small shares! I didn’t get kohlrabi this week, but I did get collard greens and more baby beets (which I’m addicted to) among other things. I will do a kohlrabi recipe soon though. A rhubarb and another garlic scape recipe are on the docket right now.

    Juicing and smoothies are such a good way to add greens to your diet, boost your health and put a dent in that big red box of veggies!

    Stay tuned.
    :-)

  15. Sheila says:

    Hi Melissa. Sheila from Grant Farms here. Great to meet you at the Botanic Gardens last weekend. Thank you for sharing these amazing recipes and great ideas with us. Inspiring! After reading everyone’s praises about your garlic scape pesto, I’m going to make some this weekend. Happy 4th of July!

  16. Melissa says:

    Sheila,

    Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment! I made some ice cream from the rhubarb yesterday — oh my gosh, was it ever good. Thanks for providing me with such good ingredients to start with! It’s hard to go wrong with produce from Grant Farms!

  17. greedydave says:

    Melissa,

    Wow, the CSA season is sparking your writing, and no mistake. You turning literary backflips at the moment, a sort of blogging version of Damien Walters’ acrobatics! Absolutely superb recipe, I’ve had loads of dried lasagne sheets in my cupboard for an eternity and never felt the urge to break them out…. until now. Great stuff!

    GDave

  18. Melissa says:

    GDave,

    This CSA season is unreal! I have such a load of produce that I’m constantly experimenting. I’d be happy to share all this with you if you and the rest of your gang we’re so far away! See you this morning at Wimbledon!

    :-)

  19. That looks really good, Melissa! Speaking of mushrooms, I’ve been reading lately that you should never eat mushrooms raw … are you aware of that guidance? and, can you offer more info? Mr. GFE loves raw mushrooms in tacos and on salads.

    Thanks,
    Shirley

  20. Are raw mushrooms really good??????????

  21. Sounds sick but i tried it it totally ROCKED.

  22. rosa says:

    Another great way to make this gluten free would be to use polenta instead of brown rice pasta. That’s how I’m going to make it tonight!

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