This easy Healthy Lasagna is stuffed full of lean protein and delicious vegetables for a complete one dish meal. I am not sure if this post qualifies as sponsored, so just to cover my bases: I was paid a small stipend to appear on TV discussing the lasagna that this lasagna is adapted from.
This lasagna has quite the story to go with it! Because as you may or may not remember, I am not the world’s biggest fan of traditional red sauce Italian American dishes. And yet somehow I ended up on TV, on local Dayton news, talking about how to make a very basic Skinny Lasagna recipe created by Red Gold Tomatoes.
Lest you think this completely hypocritical, rest assured I did make the lasagna and my family did love it. This is both the lasagna I fed my family and the lasagna that was shared in the TV segment:
A contact of mine who represents Red Gold Tomatoes had pitched the project to the news station, and she asked me to be the home cook demonstrating how easy it was to make (for lack of a better way to describe a 3 minute segment!). After much hemming and hawing–did I mention I have terrible stage fright?–I decided to do it. Ironically, I ended up ok (I think anyway), whereas poor Alex, my lasagna cooking cohort who did indeed help extensively with making the lasagna (and who has made her own lasagna before as you may remember), froze a little bit and went pretty quiet. Despite that, I think she was still happy she did it with me–and I was happy too because having her with me made me braver! (Confession: I even kind of enjoyed it. I almost wonder if I should try to do it again.)
Anyway, I also, as part of filming the short segment, started to create a new lasagna there on the set. When we were done, I did not want to throw it away, but I also wanted to amp it up, make it a bit more “me.” So I carted home all of the half prepared elements, and tinkered a bit more. The lasagna I came up with is not exactly skinny. I am sure it has too much meat and cheese for that. But I am not on a diet, and more importantly neither are my children. I would rather serve them a veggie and meat stuffed lasagna with more cheese and less pasta. Just my personal preference–and the lasagna has the added benefit of being more to my taste.
I would say the girls liked the 2 lasagnas equally. John and I definitely preferred the more “stuffed” lasagna, the one I have designated as “healthy” if not skinny. I like more protein and veggies than pasta in nearly any dish, and the additional ground beef and mushrooms make the tomatoes more savory.
Now the biggest key to making any casserole–but especially one in which the noodles cook–is getting the liquid right. On the one hand, you do not want a dry lasagna–especially one with uncooked noodles. So if you have to err, err on the side of too much liquid. On the other hand, if you are at all uncertain, place a rimmed baking sheet under your casserole dish. Or you may end up self-cleaning the oven that night like I did! Because of that, I have left the additional water out of the recipe. But, and I cannot emphasize this enough, do not hesitate to overrule me and add more water if you think it needs it. You should see liquid in the casserole dish, about one third to half up the sides of the dish.
- 1-2 T olive oil
- 1 med onion, diced
- 2 T minced garlic
- 2 t crushed dried oregano
- 2 lbs sliced crimini mushrooms
- 2 small zucchini, diced
- 2 lbs lean (92%) ground beef (or you can use turkey)
- 1 T shredded fresh basil
- salt to taste
- 1 14.5 oz can of tomato sauce
- 3-14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 2 pinches dried thyme
- 1 pinch dried rosemary
- 7-8 traditional whole wheat lasagna noodles, uncooked
- 1-15 oz. carton low fat cottage cheese
- 2-3 cups shredded low fat mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil--when it shimmers add the onions with a pinch of salt. Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and oregano and stir. After about a minute, add the mushrooms in 3 batches. Satué for about 3 minutes after each batch. Add another pinch of salt.
- Add the zucchini and stir occasionally, for 5 minutes.
- Add the ground beef. Break it up and stir it into the vegetables. Add a pinch of salt.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned,
- While the meat is browning, open the canned tomatoes and tomato sauce and pour them into a large mixing bowl. Add the black pepper, thyme and rosemary to the tomatoes.
- When the meat is browned, drain off any extra grease and then add the meat and vegetable mixture to the tomatoes.
- Stir to evenly incorporate.
- Cover the bottom of a 9x13x2 inch casserole dish with 2 cups of the tomato mixture. Arrange half of the noodles on top of the tomatoes, slightly overlapped if need be. Top with half of the cottage cheese, 1-1½ cups mozzarella cheese and then another 2 cups of the tomato mixture. Repeat layers and top with the remaining noodles and the remaining tomato mixture. Sprinkle with the 5 cheese mixture.
- Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 to 1½ hours; until noodles are cooked. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
I am still fiddling with Photoshop–I think (hope?) I am getting better at it. At any rate, if you want to pin the following image, please click here.