Healthy Veggie Lasagna

I love to make this recipe. When Blythe and I are trying to eat a little lighter, Veggie Lasagna always makes it onto the menu. I also keep at least one pan of this lasagna in the freezer at all times to pull out on nights when I just don’t feel like cooking (it happens to the best of us)! While I will be the first to point out that this veggie lasagna is in no way an authentic Italian recipe, it is a delicious, filling, and flavorful healthy eating option. To me, that makes it worth sharing!

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I just love this recipe. My goal for healthy eating is that we never feel like we’re missing out on great food or having to sacrifice flavor for the sake of being healthy. It’s recipes like this one that keep us full and happy even when eating light.

Disclaimer: This is a veggie lasagna, it is NOT vegetarian. I make my veggie lasagna using lean ground beef or ground turkey. High quality protein is extremely important in a balanced diet and will help keep you full. By using lean meat in my veggie lasagna it becomes a filling and balanced meal.

Here’s how you make it:

Start by roasting the zucchini. It’s important to cook the zucchini before layering it into the lasagna. This ensures that it’s tender and fully cooked when it’s time to eat.

Tip: You can slice the zucchini by hand or use a mandolin to make the job go more quickly!

Spread a tbs of olive oil all over the bottom of a baking sheet to keep the zucchini from sticking. Lay the sliced zucchini in a single layer to cover the baking sheet (you may need several baking sheets – or to do this in several batches- for all the zucchini). Sprinkle the zucchini with a little bit of salt and pepper and roast in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a plate to cool.

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While the zucchini cools, drizzle 1 tbs of olive oil in a large pan and heat over medium high heat. Add in the ground meat, 1.5 tsp salt, red pepper flake, 1/2 tsp pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, and oregano. Break up the meat and cook until it is completely cooked through.

Add in the mushrooms and cook until they are tender. Drain off any liquid.

Add in the spinach and cottage cheese and cook until the spinach is wilted and everything is fully combined. Remove from heat.

While I don’t particularly like cottage cheese on it’s own, it works incredibly well in this recipe! It takes the place of the traditional ricotta beautifully and is fat free! You probably won’t even be able to tell the difference. What could be better?

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I use a traditional Southern Italian tomato sauce in this lasagna. It’s surprisingly easy!

In a bowl combine the canned tomatoes, basil, and 2 tsp salt. That’s it! Set the sauce aside.

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In a 9×13 inch baking dish, spread 1/4 of the sauce making sure to completely coat the bottom of the pan.

Tip: Line the pan with foil for super easy cleanup!

Layer 1:

Use 1/3 of the zucchini to create a single layer.

Spoon in 1/2 of the meat mixture.

Spread on another 1/4 of the sauce.

Repeat for Layer 2

You should now have used all of the meat mixture. Use the last of the zucchini to create the top of the lasagna. Spread on the last of the sauce and top with a little bit of grated Parmesan (optional).

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Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until it is hot, bubbly, and browned (if baking from frozen, it will need to baked at a lower temperature for about an hour).

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Remove from the oven, let sit for 5 minutes, then slice and serve!

Note: The vegetables will release a lot of water while baking so there will be extra liquid in the pan. Once the lasagna has cooled a bit, this can be easily drained off.

Veggie Lasagna makes great leftovers! When I make it for just me and Blythe we get four meals out of it!

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The world should be explored, one spoonful at a time.

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Healthy Veggie Lasagna

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 5 zucchinis, sliced lengthwise into 6-8 slices each
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef (or ground turkey if you prefer)
  • 4 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1.5 cups fat free cottage cheese, drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • fresh grated Parmesan for topping (optional)

Directions:

  1. Spread a tbs of olive oil all over the bottom of a baking sheet to keep the zucchini from sticking. Lay the zucchini in a single layer to cover the baking sheet (you may need several baking sheets – or to do this in several batches- for all the zucchini). Sprinkle the zucchini with a little bit of salt and pepper and roast in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a plate to cool.
  2. While the zucchini cools, drizzle 1 tbs of olive oil in a large pan and heat over medium high heat. Add in the ground meat, 1.5 tsp salt, red pepper flake, 1/2 tsp pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, and oregano. Break up the meat and cook until it is completely cooked through.
  3. Add in the mushrooms and cook until they are tender. Drain off any liquid.
  4. Add in the spinach and cottage cheese and cook until the spinach is wilted and everything is fully combined. Remove from heat.
  5. In a bowl combine the canned tomatoes, basil, and 2 tsp salt. This is a traditional Italian tomato sauce. Set aside.
  6. In a 9×13 inch baking dish, spread 1/4 of the sauce making sure to completely coat the bottom of the pan.
  7. Layer on 1/3 of the zucchini in a single layer.
  8. Spoon in 1/2 of the meat mixture.
  9. Spread on another 1/4 of the sauce.
  10. Repeat steps 7-9.
  11. You should now have used all of the meat mixture. Use the last of the zucchini to create the top of the lasagna. Spread on the last of the sauce and top with a little bit of grated Parmesan (optional).
  12. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes (if baking from frozen, it will need to bake for about an hour).
  13. Remove from the oven, let sit for 5 minutes, then slice and serve!

Note: The vegetables will release a lot of water while baking so there will be extra liquid in the pan. Once the lasagna has cooled a bit, this can be easily drained off.

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Healthy Veggie Lasagna

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