Lasagna, low-fat, marinara, mushrooms, pasta, spinach, vegetables, vegetarian, zucchini
Lasagna is one of my all-time favorite foods. After an in-depth discussion with my sister about our lasagna techniques, I had a full blown craving going! Lasagna is a great meal to feed a larger group, so I decided to make it when my older daughter and her husband came over for dinner. My daughter is eating a pescatarian diet (mostly vegetarian, with seafood), so I decided to make a vegetarian lasagna. I used the techniques in my normal lasagna, but I left out the meat and added in layers of various vegetables. This ended up being a delicious version of this meal!!! The flavors were bold and fresh and while it was very satisfying, it was a very low-fat, healthy meal. I’ll definitely be making this version again!!!
I kept this recipe as healthy as possible by making my own marinara. This way I can control exactly what goes into the sauce. Plus, I LOVE the flavor of my home made marinara! You could take this a step further and make a vegan version of this dish. There are tofu ricotta cheeses available and various non-dairy mozzarella cheeses, such as soy, that are also available.
I rounded out this delicious dinner with some fresh baked dill bread. You can get this going in your bread maker 3-4 hours before dinner time. I also made a Garden Salad with Herbed Ranch Dressing. The salad and dressing can also be made up to a day ahead and tossed just prior to serving. Overall, this was a great tasting dinner and is definitely company worthy!
1 batch of my marinara recipe or 2 jars of pre-made (If making your own, you can start this well in advance as it is great when slow cooked)
2 Bell peppers, very thinly sliced (I used red and yellow, as I’m not a fan of green)
2 Medium zucchini, very thinly sliced (I used my mandolin slicer for this)
8 oz Baby Bella mushrooms, very finely chopped
1 Medium red onion, diced
4 oz of baby spinach leaves
16 oz Box of whole wheat lasagna noodles, uncooked
24 oz Fat Free Mozzarella cheese, shredded
16 oz container of fat free ricotta cheese
1/3 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and Pepper to taste
Tip: You can boil your lasagna noodles, if you wish. Personally, I never boil my noodles and I don’t buy special no-boil noodles. If find boiled lasagna noodles to be a huge hassle. I just use the regular whole wheat lasagna noodles and I find that if you use plenty of the moist ingredients around the noodles, they cook just fine in the baking process.
Start with getting your marinara made and simmering. If using jarred sauce, you don’t need to simmer it. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray and lay out your zucchini and bell pepper slices. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need two. Then lightly spray your veggies with olive oil spray. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until softened. Meanwhile, in a frying pan over medium high heat sauté onions until beginning to soften, then add mushrooms and continue to cook unto all are soft. Add spinach and sauté for a couple of minutes until cooked.
After zucchini and peppers are done cooking, lower oven temperature to 375 degrees.
Mix ricotta, eggs and parsley in a small bowl.
Lightly spray your lasagna pan with olive oil spray. Add a thin layer of sauce to bottom of pan, enough to coat it well, then put down a single layer of uncooked lasagna noodles, spread 1/3 of your ricotta mixture, spread all of mushroom/onion mixture, spread 1/3 of mozzarella, layer 1/3 of sauce, more noodles, another 1/3 of your ricotta, spread layer of zucchini, 1/3 of mozzarella, 1/3 of sauce, pasta, last 1/3 of ricotta, layer bell pepper slices, last 1/3 of sauce, last 1/3 of mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese.
Cover lasagna pan with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.
Makes about 8 servings.
Tip: Leftover lasagna freezes great! So save leftovers for a quick lunch or dinner in the future!