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[The following post was written as part of my paid ambassadorship with Hidden Valley.]
I have to admit, when I first saw this recipe for Bloomin’ Lasagna on the Hidden Valley website (a version of spinach lasagna with ranch dressing in it), I was skeptical. Actually, I think I wrinkled my nose and said “gross!”
I love ranch dressing. I’ve always loved it on salads, or as a veggie dip, and I add Hidden Valley Ranch mix to mashed potatoes – it’s amazing. But my initial reaction to the very idea of mixing tomato sauce with ranch was not good.
However, curiosity got the best of me. The more I thought about it the more I wanted to see what they tasted like together. Plus, the recipe looked fun – I’d only made lasagna the traditional way, with the noodles layered and the filling in between. I really wanted to try this.
I made this recipe on Saturday for dinner, and it was ridiculously easy. While the lasagna was cooking I mixed the filling ingredients together. I used pre-washed baby spinach since I can’t stand washing greens of any kind. Instead of the Hidden Valley Original Ranch the recipe called for, I used the light version since that’s what I already had open in the fridge. And a great tip for shredding mozzarella: put the block of cheese in the freezer for about 20 minutes first. You don’t want it to freeze, just harden up a bit.
Spreading the filling onto the noodles and rolling them up was a breeze. In retrospect I should have called the kids down and had them do it – they would have had a blast. While the whole thing baked in the oven for 30 minutes I had time to clean up the dishes, set the table, and make some sautéed carrots to go with it. I made some homemade rolls as well, since we have a rule that each meal has to include something we know Jake likes.
I had told my husband at some point that I was trying a new recipe for a Hidden Valley post, but he doesn’t listen. He took a few bites and asked if the sauce on top was a homemade garlic sauce mixed with the jarred tomato sauce I’d used. Nope, ranch dressing! It gave the sauce a great tangy flavor that really complemented the filling. He really liked it and said I should make it again (and he doesn’t lie about this stuff – we’ve been together too long to care about sparing each other’s feelings!).
We were already having a really good day with regards to Jake trying new things. He’d happily eaten the skin on a baked potato and pizza with fresh mozzarella and tomato chunks, all new things for him. While he did studiously unroll the lasagna and pick out every bit of spinach, he ate the rest. Yay! Fiona ate it spinach and all, but no surprise there, since she loves ranch on her carrots and is pretty easygoing about trying new things.
I had the leftovers today – two pieces cold for lunch, the other two heated up for dinner. I couldn’t help it. They were that good!
Next time I make these (and I guarantee it will be soon) I’m going to make a few small changes to the recipe. For one thing, I’m going to try it with six cups of spinach instead of four – I love spinach and it just didn’t have enough. Second, I’m going to add a half cup of ranch dressing to the larger amount of sauce, the part that goes into the bottom of the casserole dish. And last, I’m going to try lightening up the calories a bit with light ricotta and light mozzarella. In a dish like this I doubt the change would be noticeable.
This little experiment has me curious about what other dishes could be improved with ranch. As much as I use it, I use it on a very narrow range of foods – time to shake things up a bit!
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 14. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.