If you like recipes that marry spicy with sweet, then you’ll loooove this Hot and Sweet Cherry Peppers Lasagna. I made it this past weekend, and my parents, my daughter, and I all agree that this recipe is a keeper!
This Hot and Sweet Cherry Peppers Lasagna has only eight ingredients: Trader Joe’s Hot & Sweet Cherry Peppers, lasagna noodles, ricotta cheese, red onion, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and Italian herb seasoning. Of course, you could substitute other veggies for the onion, if you wish. I prefer my lasagnas to be a little denser and drier than some people do, so you certainly can add more moisture if you want, in the form of more ricotta and/or a few tablespoons of milk.
The key ingredient that gives this lasagna such an intriguing flavor profile is a jar of Trader Joe’s Hot & Sweet Cherry Peppers. On a scale of spiciness, these bright red hot and sweet cherry peppers are slightly spicier than a poblano pepper, but not as spicy as a jalapeno. These jarred cherry peppers are packed in a liquid to which sugar has been added to enhance their sweetness. I dumped the entire jar of peppers and liquid into my food processor fitted with a metal blade and pureed these babies until smooth. I then added 1/2 cup of ricotta and an Italian herb blend like this to the processed peppers and pulsed several times until the ingredients were combined. And that was how easily I created my hot and sweet filling for this lasagna.
I love how the sugar and spiciness of the Trader Joe’s Hot & Sweet Cherry Peppers plays off of the rich and salty layers of Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses in this lasagna. It’s like nothing I’ve ever had, but oohhdaddy, it is soooo lish!
Make this Hot and Sweet Cherry Peppers Lasagna with no-boil noodles for ease of preparation and for a wonderfully chewy and al dente “bite” to the cooked pasta. I earlier reviewed my favorite Heartland’s gluten free no boil lasagna noodles on this post, and I’m using the same brand of noodles for this post. Of course, a regular no boil lasagna noodle with gluten would work great also. I’ve made this lasagna vegetarian, but I’m thinking that some spicy sausage would make a fab addition for meat lovers. The key is to get a jar of Trader Joe’s Hot & Sweet Cherry Peppers in there. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s close to you, you can order Trader Joe’s Hot & Sweet Cherry Peppers online at Amazon here.
This sweet and spicy lasagna recipe is a keeper, for sure! Here’s the printable recipe:
- 12 to 13 ounces of no-boil lasagna noodles (you might need one box plus part of a second box, depending on the brand)
- One medium purple onion, chopped medium
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- One 16-ounce jar of Trader Joe's Hot & Sweet Cherry Peppers
- ½ cup of ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons Italian herbs mix
- 6 to 7 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- Heat olive oil in large skillet and saute chopped onion over medium heat for about 10 to 12 minutes, until onion is soft and translucent.
- Meanwhile, puree entire jar (peppers and liquid) of Trader Joe's Hot & Sweet Cherry Peppers in a food processor fitted with metal blade.
- To pureed peppers, add ricotta cheese and Italian herbs and pulse just until pureed peppers and ricotta is combined. If you like a wetter lasagna, at this stage you can add up to another ½ cup of ricotta and/ or a few tablespoons of milk.
- In a 9 X 13 inch pan, spread about ¼th cup of the pepper ricotta mixture on pan. Lay on sheets of lasagna to cover. Then add repeating layers of pepper ricotta mixture, onions, mozzarella, Parmesan, noodles, etc. If you want fewer layers with fewer noodles, then your lasagna will be thinner and moister. The final layer will be noodles, pepper ricotta mixture, and an extra topping of mozzarella and Parmesan to fully cover everything.
- Spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray, tightly cover dish with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer. If cheese is still not browned and bubbly, turn on broiler and watch carefully while it browns a bit.
- Remove from oven and let stand at least 10 minutes before serving.
All of my opinions are my own, independent and unbiased, and I received no samples, payments, or financial incentives from Trader Joe’s, Heartland, McCormick, Walmart, Amazon, or any other company for comments or links in this article.
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