Lasagna really is the best comfort food! But with all the pasta, cheese and meat, it can really suck up daily allotment of calories! A few healthy twists and a classic is reinvented with fewer calories, more veggies (over a pound of spinach!) and all the same delicious flavor. Check out the recipe below!
N and I hosted our first real dinner party this weekend. The menu was the biggest deal for me! Hosting a dinner party requires you to know your guests, their dietary preferences, their beverage preferences, seasonal favorites, etc. And it’s not easy when all your friends are different! One thing I knew we all did agree on was pasta. We all LOVE pasta. A simple spaghetti was just too simple – and not to mention, not the best followed by a rest day… I needed a recipe that would cater to the health conscious, picky eaters, vegetarians, and comfort food lovers not to mention something that would work with both red and white wine… Step in the vegetable lasagna. Lasagna isn’t something I crave in the summer but this version is so light and refreshing and chock full of vegetables, I can make an exception.
Many people think that building a lasagna is a daunting task – hours of manual labor and slaving away over the stove. Not true! Prepping the veggies takes a little bit of time but most of the cooking is done out of sight in the oven. Take the time to properly prep and season each layer of vegetables, it makes all the difference! Gluten free? Substitute the noodles for slices of zucchini! Vegan? Sub the cheese for vegan cheese or forgo it completely! Just note that you’ll want to thicken the carrot mixture and spinach mixture with a little flour or corn starch as the juices will be released while cooking and there won’t be any cheese to help the layers stay together. This lasagna makes for a great leftover lunch plate (if there’s any left over, of course!) Just heat and eat!
Healthy Vegetable Lasagna
A healthy twist on the classic vegetable lasagna!
- 1 box lasagna noodles
- 8 carrots
- 1 cup mushrooms
- 2 zucchinis
- 4 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1 lbs spinach (fresh or frozen)
- 1 cup part skim ricotta
- 2 yellow onions
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 bottles pasta sauce
- Cayenne pepper / red chili powder (optional)
- Grate the carrots into a bowl. Add in the mushrooms. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne / red chili powder if desired.
- Mix in one bottle of pasta sauce. Set aside.
- Cut the zucchini lengthwise into slices of even thickness. You want these to resemble the noodles.
- Place the slices on a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a pan over medium heat, sauté the onions in 1 tbsp of olive oil until golden.
- Stir in the flour to build a blonde roux. This will thicken up the sauce and help the lasagna set.
- Add in the ricotta and stir continuously to make sure nothing sticks and the flour doesn’t burn.
- Add in the spinach. Cook until wilted.
- Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.
- Boil noodles per package instructions. After they are cooked, run under cold water so they don’t stick.
- Assemble the lasagna! Start by spraying a pan with olive oil so the pieces are easy to take out. Lay one layer of the lasagna noodles on the bottom. Top with a cup of pasta sauce and a cup of mozzarella. Layer about a half of the carrot mushroom mixture on top.
- Add another layer of pasta noodles, this time perpendicular to the pattern in the first layer. I’ve found that this helps to stabilize the lasagna when cutting.
- Add in about half of the spinach ricotta mixture. Spread evenly.
- Top with the zucchini slices as if they were a layer of noodles.
- Repeat the steps until you’re out of ingredients.
- Top the lasagna with the remaining cheese.
- Cover the pan with foil and put in a 350 degree oven for 2 hours.
- If you are serving immediately, turn up the heat to 400 degrees and remove the foil. This will help make the cheese golden brown. If you are waiting to serve, perform this step during the reheating process.
- Let rest for 15 minutes and serve!
Our friends loved the lasagna! We paired with a light red and a pinot grigio – delicioso! Would you make a lasagna for a dinner party to wow your guests? Try it out and let me know what you think below!