March 09, 2012
Healthy Vegetarian Lasagna
Guest post by Anjali Shah, food writer and owner of The Picky Eater, a healthy food and lifestyle blog. Ingredients: Whole wheat lasagna noodles (uncooked) 4 fresh, organic zucchini or courgettes 2 red bell peppers 1 bag of organic baby spinach 1 red onion, chopped Garlic; minced Dried oregano Dried basil Fresh thyme 1-28oz. can of crushed tomatoes (with Italian spices added–like basil, oregano, etc. if you can find that) 1 jar ready-made spaghetti sauce (I like the tomato basil marinara from Trader Joe’s!) Olive oil and cooking spray Fat-free ricotta cheese Low-fat shredded mozzarella Shredded Parmesan or 4 cheese blend (I used this shredded 4 cheese blend from Trader Joe’s that has Parmesan, Asiagio, Mozzarella and Fontina) Directions: Noodles Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions (leave them al dente)–salt the water, if you like. Once they’re done, lay them flat on foil and set aside. Vegetables Quarter all 4 zucchini and thinly slice. Thinly slice one of the red bell peppers (I cut the slices in half so they’re not so long). Mince 3 cloves of garlic. Heat about 1 tbsp. olive oil in a pan over medium heat (I might have used a little less–maybe 2-3 tsp), saute the garlic, zucchini, red pepper together. Add the whole bag of baby spinach at the end (when the zucchini/red pepper are almost done cooking). Sprinkle oregano and dried basil to taste on top, stir, and let it cook a couple more min. When the spinach is cooked, turn the heat down to low. Sauce Mince 2-3 cloves of garlic. Dice half a red onion (If it’s a small onion, dice the whole thing). Dice the other red bell pepper. Heat 2-3 tsp olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Saute the red onion, garlic, and red pepper for a few min (until the onion starts turning a little translucent). Add the crushed tomatoes. Add dried oregano (I’m not sure how much I put–I basically sprinkled it over the top and stirred it in–maybe 2 tsp.). Once the sauce is heated through, turn the heat down on low. Cheese Combine 1.5 cups of the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella, 1 cup of the Parmesan (or 4 cheese mixture if you can find that at Trader Joe’s) in a bowl. Assembly I used a casserole dish to assemble the lasagna in–and sprayed the bottom of the dish with cooking spray. Put a layer of sauce at the bottom of the dish (I did about half of the pre-made spaghetti sauce and half of the sauce I made myself–I did this for every layer except the top). Put a layer of the lasagna noodles. Put another layer of the sauce (1/2 pre-made, 1/2 self made). Put a layer of the veggies. Take the cheese mixture, and put little crumbles of the cheese mixture all over the veggie layer (don’t try to spread it out, the little crumbles seemed to work well). Put another layer of the lasagna noodles. Layer of sauce (if you have enough use the self made, otherwise add in the pre-made as needed). Layer of veggies. Cheese mixture crumbles. Layer of lasagna noodles. Layer of sauce (only self made). Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese all over the top. Bake Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 min. Uncover and bake for 5 min. longer until the cheese has melted. About the Author: Anjali Shah is a food writer and owner of The Picky Eater, a healthy food and lifestyle blog. Her blog chronicles her adventures in making healthy recipes that her "fast food loving husband" will enjoy – so all of her recipes are "husband approved"! You’ll also find healthy lifestyle tips, snippets of Anjali’s everyday life, and other personal anecdotes alongside healthy and flavorful recipes on her blog. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+, and subscribe to her blog here.