Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lighter, Quicker Vegetable Lasagna

Since we don't have a grill (someday we'll manage that!), we enjoy our outdoor summer meals on the back deck by preparing them in advance to reduce the time in the kitchen right before guests arrive.  The layering of lasagna means that for us, at least, it's always time consuming enough to make it a special treat.  But even as a special treat, I find most lasagna recipes ridiculously heavy!  This recipe satisfies even my pickiest acquaintance, a regular crusader against low fat products of any kind.  

To speed it up, the recipe calls for frozen veggies and no-cook noodles; you can speed it up even further by replacing the first five ingredients in the vegetable sauce with a jar of your favorite marinara.  

To lighten it even further, you can use non-fat ricotta and mozzarella, then spray each layer with olive oil.  However, you'll find that the nutritional profile here is quite balanced as-is, even for folks on special diets.

Ingredients
Cheese filling
1
12 oz pkg
silken tofu
1 1/2
cup
low fat ricotta
3
Tbsp
pesto
1
clove
garlic
1/2
tsp
salt
pepper
1/4
tsp
nutmeg
1/2
cup
grated mozzarella cheese (or Italian 4 cheese blend)
1/3
cup
fresh grated parmesan
Vegetable sauce
3
Tbs
olive oil
2
med onions, chopped
2-5
garlic cloves, minced (depending on taste!)
1
can (28 oz)
can crushed tomatoes
1
can (6 oz)
tomato paste
1
zucchini, cut in 1/2" slices
3/4
cups
diced celery (frozen is fine)
1 1/2
cups
diced carrots (frozen is fine)
1/4
cup
cooking wine or dry wine
1
14 oz can
quartered artichoke hearts
4
bay leaves
3
Tbsp
pesto
2
tsp
dried oregano
1
pinch
thyme
1/2
tsp
salt (or to taste)
pepper to taste
1
package
no cook lasagna noodles



Procedure
1

Spray bottom of 9x13 pan with spray canola oil or olive oil.
2
Preheat oven to 350.
3
Heat oil in saucepan (use a nonreactive saucepan). Saute onions for five minutes. Add garlic and zucchini; saute for another ten minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, carrots, celery, bay leaves, and wine. Simmer for 10 minutes, until carrots are softened. Remove bay leaves. Stir in pesto, oregano, and thyme.
If using a jar marinara instead, mix all the ingredients at once and saute for about 10-15 minutes until carrots are softened; keep an eye on it and add some water if it gets to thick for your taste.
4
(To save time, do this while sauce is simmering!) Add tofu, ricotta cheese, pesto, and garlic to a bowl. Combine with a fork until well blended. Add half of the parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and stir until spices are evenly distributed.
5
Spread 1 cup of tomato vegetable sauce on bottom of 9x13 pan. Spread a single layer of raw lasagna noodles over the sauce. Spread on half of cheese mixture and sprinkle with 1/4 each of remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Repeat layers of tomato sauce, noodles, cheese mix, and grated cheeses. Spread the artichoke hearts over this layer. Add a final layer of noodles, remaining tomato sauce, and cheese.
6
Cover tightly with aluminum foil. At this point you can store the lasagna in the fridge overnight if you prefer. If stored for over four hours, bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and brown for ten. If stored for less time, bake for 45 minutes or until noodles are soft when poked with a toothpick, then remove foil and brown for ten. Lasagna should always rest 10 minutes before serving.
Servings: 12
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/12 of a recipe (10.5 ounces).
Percent daily values based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.

Amount Per Serving
Calories
355
Calories From Fat (31%)
107
% Daily Value
Total Fat 12g
19%
Saturated Fat 4g
20%
Cholesterol 18mg
6%
Sodium 620mg
26%
Potassium 755mg
22%
Total Carbohydrates 47g
16%
Fiber 6g
24%
Sugar 4g

Protein 16g
32%
Vitamin A 3733IU
75%
Vitamin B12 0.23mcg
4%
Vitamin B6 0.34mg
17%
Vitamin C 19.44mg
32%
Vitamin E 1.33mg
13%
Vitamin K 10.99mcg
14%

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