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Verses from my Kitchen: Sweet Potato Lasagna

December 15, 2010

Sweet Potato Lasagna

I distinctly remember the first time it happened. I was young and my mom was making dinner, as was the norm in my household. I was called to the table when dinner was ready and found a small mound of something vibrant and orange on my plate. This wasn't going to fly.

I mumbled, "What is that?"

She responded, "Sweet Potatoes. Try it, you'll like it."

Not so fast. As adventurous as I am today with food and my palette, that wasn't always the case. There were foods I steered clear from because I didn't like them and then there were foods that I dismissed because I thought it wouldn't taste good. Thought. Not a really good reason, but I was a kid and common sense wasn't in my vocabulary.

So I tried the sweet potatoes. I'm not sure why, but I did. I was finicky back then. But on this day I ate them and I was amazed at the flavour. I actually liked it. It had this caramel sweetness to it and it was buttery and, most of all, I couldn't get enough.  So began my love of sweet potatoes.

There are a myriad of great uses and options for a vegetable like this. It can be turned into a sweet mash, fries, pie or even gratin. Crisp and gooey sweet potato gratin. Now, it can also be used to make lasagna. Sweet, tender and flavourful lasagna. A great addition to Meatless Monday.

Sweet potato is usually thought of as a side dish but with this we're flipping tradition on its ear and giving you a main dish worthy of that status. You may see this is as strictly a vegetarian dish, but that would be your loss. It will satisfy any palette because it has texture and bones.

The sweet potato is soft and mellow but with the addition of sauteed leeks and mushrooms and garlic you have plenty of flavour to carry the potatoes to an entirely new level. It tastes meaty because it's full and layered.

The prep is quick, but the cooking time isn't. You need some serious oven love for your potatoes to be tender. A good hour and a half of oven love. Trust me though, it's worth the wait.

Sweet Potato Lasagna

The Goods:
2 large sweet potatoes, sliced very thin on mandoline
300 grams mushrooms, stem removed, sliced (button, portabella, shitakes)
2 leeks, thinly sliced (dark green part removed)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 c. olive oil
12 oz. mozzarella, grated
salt and pepper
Vodka sauce (tomato sauce if you prefer)


1. Cut dark green parts off the leak and wash and slice. Clean the mushrooms and slice.

2. In a heavy sauce pan, heat the oil until hot. Add the mushrooms and leeks and cook or 5 minutes. Add the garlic and season and cook for a further 2 minute. Remove to a pan to cool.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and slice sweet potatoes as thin as possible. Grate the mozzarella and set aside.

4. Line a deep 9"x9" casserole with parchment paper. Cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of overlapping sweet potato slices.

5. Add the leeks and mushrooms to the sweet potatoes and and sprinkle cheese over top. Repeat the layers, pressing down firmly after each layer. The top layer is just sweet potatoes.

6. Bake for 1 1/2 hours until you can prick through the sweet potatoes with a fork with ease. 

7. Cut into squares and top with a thick layer of cheese. Cook under the broiler, watching carefully, until the cheese fully melts and bubbles. Serve.

5 layers of sweet potato lasagna.

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