Spinach Ricotta Lasagna Cupcakes


Happy Monday!

Did you make my tortellini filling last week and find yourself in a similar conundrum to me? You know, you made so much that you could start an assembly line akin to the Model T? If you made the tortellinis and also had leftover Won Ton Wrappers, then this is the recipe for you! Even if you have no idea what recipe I am talking about, make these cupcakes; they are two-three bite lasagnas that are too cute and tasty to pass up.

Leftovers are often boring; instead, you should look to repurpose your ingredients. Create last night’s extra ingredients into something else you would not expect. Surprise yourself, or if you’re too nervous, troll through Pinterest and hope you find something worth while.

Speaking of inspiration, you may want to consider this for the Hallmark holiday that is embarking. As Valentine’s Day is around the corner, I really think this would be a great recipe to make for your loved one. Nothing says love like lasagna. The problem is that lasagna isn’t really an intimate dish; when you make lasagna, it’s usually to feed a family…and then some.

This recipe can be made as fast or as slowly as you want; if you have a tomato sauce on hand and a filling created, you can assemble your cupcakes in about five minutes, and you only need to bake them for about 10-12 minutes; dinner could be ready in less than a half an hour. If you’re feeling ambitious and want to make an elaborate sauce/filling, go for it. I promise you that it will still be easier than traditional lasagna. This is a great weeknight recipe for its speed, and it’s a great special occasion recipe (I think particularly for an appetizer) because of its elegant presentation (that takes no creativity at all!)

This recipe makes intimate, individual lasagna cupcakes for you and your honey bun. Now, I will not sell this recipe as equivalent to its homely counterpart. It is certainly not as hearty and hefty in its layers.  The recipe I am providing is meatless for you vegetarians out there unlike a typical lasagna that has crumbled sausage and/or ground beef. Feel free, however, to change the filling so it can resemble Garfield’s guilty pleasure. 🙂 And if you’re still dieting from the holidays, you’ll be happy to know that these bad-boys are fairly good calorically; these lasagna cupcakes fare at about 180 calories a piece. These are practically guiltless so you eat all the chocolate you want!

One day, when I am looking for that Sunday project, I will post a recipe for my family’s tried and true family-style lasagna.

Stay tuned–P.S: I will be going Italian the rest of the week: Chicken Parmigiana with Homemade Plum Tomato Basil Sauce and Kahlua and Bacardi Tiramisu (my absolute favorite recipe of Tiramisu; I almost don’t want to tell you about it 🙂 )

Spinach Ricotta Filling

  • 12 ounces Whole Milk Ricotta
  • 1-1/2 cup Freshly Grated Parmigiana (I always add more!)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup of Finely Shredded Mozzarella
  • 1 whole Egg
  • Salt and Pepper to your taste
  • Pinch of nutmeg (optional, but recommended)
  • 3-4 cups of arugula or spinach (your choice! you can do it without leafy greens)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic** (only if you are sautéing spinach or arugula; I prefer spinach of the two for the filling)
  • 3 tablespoons of parsley and/or basil (mixed is fabulous: and fresh is best!)

Spinach Ricotta Filling Instructions…

  1. In a pan, heat up 1-2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
  2. Mince some garlic (3-4 cloves) and put in the pan that has olive oil.
  3. Throw in spinach (handfuls at a time) until it wilts. Repeat until all spinach is incorporated. Be sure to be stirring often so garlic doesn’t burn.
  4. Put spinach aside and give it about 5-10 minutes for cooling.
  5. Next, get a large mixing bowl. Take ricotta out of the container and add the cheeses. Stir.
  6. Next, throw in the sautéed spinach and mix. Next, beat one egg and throw into mixture.
  7. Mix well. Taste a small bit and add salt and pepper to taste. Throw in nutmeg, if desired.

Quick Meat Filling

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Italian sausage links, casing removed
  • 1 cup marinara sauce, homemade, or store-bought
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Quick Meat Filling Instructions…

  • Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add Italian sausage and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat and stir in marinara sauce.
  • Season ricotta cheese with salt, pepper, and parsley to taste.  I would also add grated parmigiana cheese (about 1/2 cup.) Nutmeg works nicely here as well (very sparingly.)

Speed Demons (use in both recipes)

  • 24 2-inch won ton wrappers (I use the round Gyoza wrappers)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmigiana cheese
  • Optional: Fresh/frozen basil and/or flat-leaf Italian parsley (approximately a teaspoon per cupcake)

All Together Now

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a 12-cup standard muffin tin or coat with nonstick spray like Pam.
  • Create your choice of filling (see above.) Keep this aside.
  • Fit wonton wrappers into each of the 12 muffin tins, pressing carefully to make sure there is an opening in the center. Fill each cup with 1 tablespoon ricotta cheese. Top with 1 tablespoon marinara mixture and 1 tablespoon mozzarella cheese; repeat with one more layer.
  • Place into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the wonton wrappers are golden brown.
  • If available, place chiffonade basil on top while the cupcakes are cooling. This will add last minute flavor. Alternatively, if you have frozen basil, you could add a small amount to each cupcake. Additionally, sprinkle with some grated parmigiana to cover the top layer.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with some parsley, if desired (or just basil is fine–you need something green.)

Note: Do not reheat these; the won-ton wrapper gets soggy, so this must be eaten immediately and not wait the next day! If you want something sturdier, you can alternatively purchase a no-bake lasagna noodle and invert one noodle vertically around the inside of the cupcake for support of the filling.



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