The Nutrition Twin’s #TomatoWellness Blog: Meatless Lasagna!
by the Nutrition Twins
Love lasagna but hate being weighed down by high-fat and high-calorie meats and cheeses? Well then you’ve gotta give this delish, lightened-up vegetarian lasagna a whirl!
Besides this being super healthy and delicious, there’s another bonus you may not have thought about. Both fresh and canned tomatoes are packed with nutrients, so with this recipe there’s no need to feel guilty about saving time and using the canned variety!
This recipe is packed with lycopene, thanks in part to the canned tomatoes! In fact since it uses canned tomatoes it’s got extra nutrients! Did you know that tomato sauce contains 4 times as much lycopene as fresh tomatoes? Plus canned tomatoes are even more bioavailable than fresh tomatoes. Just another reason to dig in!
This recipe is a huge hit in our house. It started off as our Mom’s recipe and she used to make it every Tuesday night when we were growing up. We’ve changed it a bit since then, but it still brings back great memories!
14 whole wheat lasagna noodles
2 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ cups finely chopped bell pepper
2 cups finely chopped eggplant
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups sliced mushrooms
2 – 6 oz. packages pre-washed baby spinach
2 tbsp. snipped fresh basil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 – 15 oz. carton fat-free ricotta cheese
1/3 cups finely shredded Parmesan cheese
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 – 26 oz. jar tomato and basil pasta sauce
2 cups shredded non-fat mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. After cooking lasagna noodles according to package directions, drain them and rinse with cold water.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, eggplant and half of the garlic. Cook and stir about 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Transfer vegetable mixture into a large bowl.
- Using the same skillet, add the remaining oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and remaining garlic. Cook and stir until tender (about 5 minutes). Add the spinach gradually, stirring until spinach is wilted (1-2 minutes). Transfer spinach-mushroom mixture from skillet to another large bowl. Stir basil into spinach-mushroom mixture and set aside.
- Stir together egg, ricotta cheese, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and set to the side.
- Using a 9 x 13-inch springform pan (If you don’t have a springform pan, a regular one is fine, just spray it with cooking spray as we did here. FYI it may not turn out quite as pretty, but it’s still delicious!), spread 1/2 cup of pasta sauce. Arrange one thin layer of noodles (about 3-4 noodles) over the sauce, trimming and overlapping if necessary. Place half of the spinach-mushroom mixture on top. Then add half of the ricotta cheese mixture over spinach mixture. Then layer the noodles again. Next, spread half of the remaining pasta sauce. Top with all of the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella cheese. Then, add another layer of noodles and then the remainder of the spinach-mushroom mixture and ricotta cheese mixture. Lastly, top with noodles and remaining sauce. Gently press down on the lasagna using the back of a spatula.
- Place springform pan on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes and remove from oven. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and with parmesan cheese bake for another 15 minutes. Set aside and cool for about 15 minutes. To serve, cut into wedges.
Nutrition Facts: Serving Size: 1 small wedge (1/10 of lasagna): 256 calories, 7 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 31 g carbohydrate, 19 g protein, 9 g sugar, 7 g fiber, 718 mg sodium