Monday, January 4, 2010

Veggie Lasagna

If you don't tell them this is made with whole wheat pasta or spinach, they probably won't even notice!


12 oz whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 tsp olive oil
1 jar spaghetti sauce (about 3 cups)
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp minced garlic
10 oz baby spinach, chopped
12 oz low fat or fat free ricotta cheese
12 oz low fat or fat free cottage cheese
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup sliced black olives (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 F. Cook lasagna noodles by bringing 2 quarts of water to a boil, add 1 tsp olive oil and noodles, boiling for 10 to 12 minutes. Drain in a colander. Prepare the sauces while lasagna noodles are cooking. For the white sauce, heat 1 tsp olive oil in a saute pan. Add the chopped onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and spinach, cooking about 1 minute more until the spinach is wilted. In a large bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan and the eggs. Add the onion and spinach mixture to the cheese and egg mixture and mix the two together. To assemble the lasagna, prepare a 9 x 12 (or approximate close size) baking dish by spreading about 1/2 cup of tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan. Cover the bottom of the pan with noodles, this is usually about three pieces of lasagna noodle. Add about 1/2 of the cheese and spinach mix, 1/4 cup of the mozzarella, and about 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Add a second layer of noodles, covering with the rest of the cheese and spinach mix, the remaining mozzarella, and another cup of the tomato sauce. Cover with a third layer of noodles, topping with the remaining 1/2 cup of tomato sauce and the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Bake lasagna uncovered for about 50 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with foil and let set for 10 minutes before slicing.

Serves 8

Stealthy Cooking Tip: This use of cheese in vegetarian main dishes constitutes a whole protein, so you're meeting your protein needs. Use of whole grains increases the amount of protein, too. Plus whole grains increase your daily fiber intake. Substituting cottage cheese for some of the ricotta decreases fat, while using low fat or fat free cheeses also lower the fat. Parmesan cheese has a bold taste, so not much is needed. Also, using larger pieces of Parmesan allows your taste buds to quickly recognise the flavor, so using shredded rather than grated Parmesan is always a good idea.

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