Monday, May 25, 2009

Veggie Lasagna

This meal is a great way to eats loads of veggies, and enjoy them. I tried to really lower the fat and calorie count by limiting the butter and using reduced fat items. I also used whole wheat lasagna noodles for a little added fiber. You would never know you were eating a reduced fat lasagna unless I told you. So here's how you make it.

1 pkg. whole wheat lasagna noodles
2 carrots
2 heads of broccoli
10 cups fresh spinach (or about 4 cups cooked spinach)
1 small onion
4 large garlic cloves
1/4 cup flour
cooking spray
2 tbsp. butter
1 cup reduced fat grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
6 cups 1% or 2% milk
3 tbsp. cream
1/2 sleeve reduced fat Ritz crackers
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

The first thing to do is bring water to a rolling boil in a deep pot. Liberally salt the water and add the pasta. Next, finely dice the onions and add to a non-stick pan. Spray the pan with cooking spray and add the onions, allowing them to cook on medium heat. Next julienne the carrots so you have little matchstick pieces. I have this really nifty tool that looks like a peeler, but juliennes instead. While this is going on, take a pot, fill with water, and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, drop the broccoli and blanch for about 2 minutes. You don't want to cook it longer than that because the veggies will continue to cook after the lasagna is assembled, and no one likes mushy veggies. Take the broccoli out of the pot and cut in small pieces. in the pan with the onions, add the spinach and allow it to cook well. After it has shrunk down and released most of it's liquid, drain and add the other veggies.

Now would be a good time to preheat your oven to 350 degrees. You might need to add a little more cooking spray to the veggies so they don't stick. Next take your zester and grate about 2 or 3 cloves of garlic into this mix. Continue to cook for about 3 minutes and then set aside. In a saucepan add the butter and flour and create a roux. Add the milk and cream and whisk well. Once the sauce is incorporated well, grate the garlic clove and nutmeg and blend. To this, add the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and allow the sauce to thicken. Turn off the heat. Periodically, check on the noodles and drain once they're al dente. Maybe a little firmer than al dente since they'll continue to cook in the oven. Now you're ready to assemble.
Place a ladle of the sauce to the bottom of your pan, and begin to line with the lasagna noodles. Next take a liberal amount of veggies and spread evenly over this mix. Add a light layer of mozzarella and a little more sauce. Next add another layer of noodles and continue assembling. You should end with a layer of noodles on top to which you'll add a little sauce. The thing I love about this lasagna is that the veggies still have a little bite to them. Cooking veggies too much removes a lot of the valuable antioxidants and minerals from them. If you like you can eve skip the blanching process all together. I just blanch the broccoli because its quite fibrous, but it certainly wouldn't be the end of the world if you just threw the pieces in raw and allowed them to cook in the oven. In a zip lock bag, add the Ritz crackers and crush with a rolling pin. Add them to a pan and spray with a little pam. Add these crumbs to the top of your lasagna and bake for about 30 minutes.

1 comment:

Marilyn said...

Hi Rox,
Lasagna! yummy!
I Looooove Lasagna, is one of my very favorite dishes.
Do you know what happen with your book suggestion?
I am totally obsessed with Twilight, to my daughter and family amusement. Can’t wait for the second movie, did you see the video of Edward and Bella reunion shoot in Italy?
This is my email
Saludos y CariƱos

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