Spinach Lasagna

This is superb lasagna.  Definitely the best I’ve ever made (but take that with a grain of salt because I don’t make lasagna that often).   I think one thing that it really had going for it was the noodles I used.  If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, look for their lasagna noodles.  They’re shorter and wider than typical lasagna noodles, and they don’t have those ruffly edges, which I think is a big plus.

Alright, I know this doesn’t really make sense in the middle of a post about lasagna, but it’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

The theme for the week is “Do Just One Thing” to promote awareness about eating disorders.  Since there are a few people out there who actually read this, it seemed like an appropriate place to share my story.

I’m not going to go into  too much detail about my eating disorder, which started around the time I turned 13.  It was hell.  It changed my personality, my relationship with my family, and my attitude towards life.  It sent me to the hospital for 10 days inpatient followed by months of intensive therapy.

But thanks to my incredibly supportive family, an absolutely wonderful therapist, and a hell of a lot of work on my part, I’m not suffering anymore.  In fact I don’t think I’ve really relapsed in at least 5 years.  It went from something that preoccupied all my thoughts and dictated all my actions to something that I only occasionally think of, and I am incredibly grateful that I’m here today to say that recovery IS possible.

Eating disorders are silent but powerful.  They will take over an individual’s life and change everything about them, and they’re incredibly hard to walk away from once they’ve taken hold.  If you are suffering or you know someone suffering, DON’T GIVE UP.  There’s no magic cure, and recovery doesn’t happen overnight.  There may be relapses.  It may seem hopeless.  It may feel so comforting to hold onto the eating disorder that the prospect of giving it up seems completely out of the question.  But it IS possible.  With support, with encouragement, and with the refusal to let the eating disorder dictate your life.

I know how hard it is to reach out for help.  I was in denial, my family was (in the beginning) in denial, and the prospect of no longer having the eating disorder, that illusion of control, completely terrified me.  But I’m here today, feeling more in control of my life than ever, able to have trusting relationships with people, and able to truly enjoy food and be proud of my body.  It was a long, hard journey, but it the end it was COMPLETELY worth it.

The reason lasagna seems like a fitting recipe to go with this post is because one day, not long after I got out of the hospital, we went to a family friend’s house for dinner.  They were serving lasagna, and I was able to actually enjoy a piece of it without completely panicking.  In those early days when I was still in treatment, that was incredibly rare, and it took years for me to be able to enjoy food without worrying about the calories.  But that night I saw a glimpse of what the future could be like when I no longer obsessed over every calorie I took in, and it was just another factor that helped push me towards recovery.


(adapted from Herbivoracious)

12 ounces baby spinach
1 lb. ricotta
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 head cauliflower florets and some stem, cut small
1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into thin slices
1 large (28 oz.) can + 1 regular (15 oz.) can plain tomato sauce
zest from 1 lemon
1 pound no-boil or regular lasagna noodles
salt, pepper to taste
1 lb. grated mozzarella
4 oz. grated parmesan cheese

Wilt the spinach in a frying pan over medium heat with a few tsp of water.

Let cool in a mesh strainer, then squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Mix with the ricotta, nutmeg, and some salt and pepper.

Beat in the eggs

Saute the onion & garlic one tablespoon of olive oil, then add the cauliflower and zucchini and saute 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.

Add the tomato sauce and lemon zest, then simmer 5 minutes. Add salt to taste

Lightly grease a 13″ x 9″ pan that’s at least 2″ deep. Start with a layer of red sauce in the bottom of the pan, then stack layers of noodles, sauce, ricotta mixture, and mozzarella.

Sprinkle a mix of parmesan and mozzarella over the top.

Bake at 375 F for about 45 minutes, or until the cheese is brown and bubbling and you can easily pierce the noodles with a fork.

Remove from the oven and let rest 15 minutes before serving.

11 Responses to “Spinach Lasagna”

  1. 1 branny February 23, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    I really like the looks of this recipe (esp the cauliflower). Thanks for sharing your story; I hope it helps someone. Glad you are recovered; keep it up.

  2. 2 The USA Kiwi (lKylee) February 23, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    The lasagna looks great!

    Thank you for your words on eating disorders. I had no idea. I hope that someone reading will have a lightbulb moment, and realize that there is hope.

    Good on you for posting about this. I respected you before, but you just went up in my estimation!

  3. 3 Danielle February 23, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Such a great post – it takes a lot to throw your story out there. And, that lasagna looks amazing 🙂

  4. 4 elly February 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    The lasagna looks great! Thanks for sharing your story. I’m sorry you had to go through that, but am so glad you were able to recover and are now happy with your food choices and your body.

  5. 5 themilkmanswife February 23, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    This lasagna looks amazing. I’ve been looking for a veggie lasagna recipe that didn’t involve a creamy white sauce. This looks like a winner. Thanks for sharing your story – that must have been so tough to deal with. I’m glad you are in a better place now and I hope you words inspire someone else who is struggling. 🙂

  6. 6 courtney @ the granola chronicles February 23, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Cate, thank you for opening your heart in this post.

    P.S. I’m with ya on using TJ’s lasagna noodles – my fave!

  7. 7 Christine February 24, 2011 at 5:03 am

    Cate – Thanks for sharing your story – and I am so glad you were able to recover from that (I cannot even imagine what you went through). The lasagna looks delish!

  8. 8 Michelle February 24, 2011 at 6:11 am

    It’s very brave to share your personal history w/ eating disorders. My sister went through a very long period of bulimia and though she’s healthy now, food will always be an issue for her. Thankfully, you also had a support system to help you.

  9. 9 Ali February 24, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Such a great post.
    I’m getting my Masters in therapy right now and I’ve considered working with people who have eating disorders- congrats to you for all your hard work. It truly is a huge change that takes a lot of work.
    I’ve never suffered from a typical eating disorder, but I’ve dealt with things on the other end- being overweight, losing 100 lbs and battling with my new self and trying to balance being healthy and not being obsessed with counting every calorie every day and feeling guilty for any choice I make.
    I always appreciate reading your recipes, stories and zest for life.

  10. 10 Kate February 24, 2011 at 9:51 am

    I think think it’s so good to share these stories, because so many women feel they’re in it alone, and I’ve yet to meet a woman who hasn’t suffered from some form of ED. I can still remember that sickening feeling of pride in going a whole day on a single piece of bread.

  11. 11 Colleen March 2, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Great post, Cate, and very brave of you to share your story here. It sounds like we share a lot of the same story – I am happy to hear you are recovered and definitely living a happy, healthy life!

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