zucchini & spinach lasagna.

Standard

This lasagna is loaded with vegetables. It is not loaded with carbs, though–it has no noodles. I am willing to bet that you will not miss them.

After I first discovered this recipe, I made this dish every week for a month and a half. Over those six batches, I tweaked the recipe I’d started with to make it suit my needs 1 better. Tweaks included: using less cheese (8 oz versus the 16 oz the recipe called for), adding spinach to the ricotta mixture, swapping out beef for turkey, or leaving out meat entirely.

I ate it for lunch. I ate it for dinner. I fed it to my mom and dad, but only because it was pushing 4 days in the refrigerator and it would’ve gone to waste if I hadn’t shared. (I have since learned to freeze half of it so I don’t have to share it if I don’t manage to eat it all by myself.)

serves: 8   •   prep: 40-45 min   •   cook: 1 hour   •   and worth every minute


what’s in it?

  •  1 lb. 93% lean beef or lean turkey [^2]
  • [^2] : Or, leave out meat altogether for a vegetarian meal.
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 t. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 T. fresh basil, chopped
  • 3-4 medium zucchini, sliced 1/8″ thick
  • 15 oz part-skim ricotta
  • 8 oz part-skin mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan, grated
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 c. frozen spinach, thawed and cooled

 how to.

Let’s make sauce. In a medium sauce pan, brown your meat.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Drain browned meat remove any fat (a wire mesh colander works well here). Add olive oil to the pan and saute garlic and onions for about 2 minutes. Return the meat to the pan. Add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer on low for at least 30-40 minutes, covered. Do not add extra water, the sauce should be thick.

While your sauce gets saucy, slice zucchini into 1/8″ thick slices. A mandoline comes in handy for uniform thickness. Lay your slices flat, lightly salt them, then set aside for 10 minutes to draw out moisture. Blot the excess moisture with a paper towel. Then, using a gas grill or a grill pan, grill zucchini on each side, until cooked, about 1-2 minutes per side. Place on paper towels to soak up excess moisture.


zucchini-sliced


Preheat oven to 350°.

Prepare the cheese mixture. In a medium bowl, mix ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, spinach, and egg. Stir well. (I’ve made this a few times and I’ve started to put all of this in a food processor to make it highly spreadable.)

Assemble. In a 9×12 casserole dish, spread enough sauce to thinly cover the bottom. Place a layer of sliced zucchini over the sauce. Spread the ricotta cheese mixture over the zucchini, then top with a thin layer of shredded mozzarella. Repeat these layers: zucchini, ricotta mix, shredded mozzarella. until you run out of ricotta mix. Top your final layer with the remaining sauce and a sprinkle of mozzarella.

Bake. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving.


 notes

Leftovers reheat nicely.

If you let it cool completely, this dish works well for portioning out for lunches/dinners throughout the week.

I highly recommend serving this with a salad of the Caesar persuasion. I like a heap of romaine tossed with Bolthouse Farms Caesar Parmigiano. This line of dressings is amazing). Since it is yogurt-based and naturally sweetened (with pineapple juice!) this Caesar is a low-calorie (45 calories per 2 Tbsp), low-sugar option that is tasty and won’t completely negate all of the vegetables you’re about to devour. Let the cheese do that.

enjoy!


 recipe adapted from skinnytaste.com

  1. I aim to eat as cleanly as possible. I limit my intake of dairy, animal sources of protein, added sugar, added sodium, and preservatives. 
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