A few people have asked about this recipe so here it is! Even my 1 year old likes it, and that’s saying something. The original recipe is from a mozzarella cheese wrapper and the first time I made it, I followed the recipe exactly. It was a bit boring- not incredibly flavorful or special. The pesto flavor got lost in the noodles and cheese and was never found…. So I tried the recipe again recently and made a few key changes. The difference was astounding! My changes are in red….
Chicken Spinach Pesto Lasagna
12 uncooked lasagna noodles (I used whole wheat noodles)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 packages (12oz each) frozen chopped spinach (I used one package spinach and a bunch of kale I had on hand)
1/2 c prepared pesto sauce plus 2 tbsp (you can find my easy pesto recipe here)
3/4 c grated parmesan cheese (I excluded this- I just didn’t have any!)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3 cups cooked diced chicken (I used canned chicken…. it’s just easier!)
1/2 tsp salt (or a bit more- I try to season at every step)
1/2 tsp pepper
(2 cups ricotta cheese I used a package of soft herbed goat cheese- this was the game changer!)
1 large egg
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 13×9 in casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Partially cook lasagna noodles according to the package. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir onions and garlic until transparent. Add spinach (and kale); cook and stir about 5 min. Add chicken and stir about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, mix together ricotta cheese (goat cheese), egg, pesto, and parmesan cheese until thoroughly blended. Add chicken and spinach mixture to bowl and stir to combine. Spread extra 2 tbsp of pesto in bottom of pan. Layer 4 noodles, slightly overlapping. Top with 1/3 of spinach/ricotta mixture and 1/3 mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers twice. Bake 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
The goat cheese really is the star in my version- so if you don’t have pesto on hand just chop up some basil leaves or your favorite italian spices. If you don’t have goat cheese- maybe add more pesto- and season every step!