Sunday, April 12, 2015

Zucchini Noodle Lasagna

I continue to try to do things a little healthier, when I have the time, the energy, and the desire. Yes, for me it takes all three or there is really no point in attempting it . Sometimes I have to make a game out of it - like how many about to go bad things in the fridge can I use up in one recipe! (That's motivation for me as I really HATE throwing out food just because I forgot to use it in time.)  And I really do enjoy doing things I have not tried before.

Spiralizing has been a "thing" for a while and I have done a little of it - with apples (an apple crisp)  and zucchini (simple sauteed ribbons of zucchini) - but this was the first time I planned a main dish.  And I would do this again in a heart beat.  The flavors were absolutely delicious. I might add turkey Italian sausage next time just to give it a little more kick and make it more substantial, but there was really nothing wrong with it just as it was.


adapted from ""

1 Tbsp. garlic olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
3/4 c. diced yellow onion (1/2 onion)
2 - 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings (plain is ok)
2 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
8 basil leaves, chopped
1 bag of fresh baby spinach
3 medium zucchini
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 c. ricotta cheese (can substitute with cottage cheese)
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the garlic olive oil.  Add the garlic and red pepper and let them cook about half a minute. Then add the chopped onion.  Let the onion cook about 2 minutes (don't let it get too brown) and then add the canned tomatoes, basil, oregano and season with salt and pepper. Stir well to combine and let cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced and thick - 20-25 minutes.  The sauce should have no extra liquid.  Making it as thick as possible will help prevent a watery lasagna in the end.

While the sauce is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook the spinach.  Cook until completely wilted and set aside in a plate.  Then, cook the zucchini noodles for 2 minutes, tossing frequently. Place the cooked noodles in a colander and pat dry to remove as much moisture as possible. Set aside once done on paper towels. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, parmesan and egg.  Whisk together and set aside.

Once the sauce is ready, the layering process can begin. In a casserole dish, add a layer of the tomato sauce (about one third) to the bottom of the dish.  Then add a layer of zucchini noodles and then a layer of the ricotta mixture (about one half).   Add the second third of the tomato sauce.  Next place all of the wilted spinach on top of the tomato sauce. Then add the rest of the ricotta mixture on top.   Finally add the rest of the zucchini noodles, the rest of the tomato sauce, and top with all of the mozzarella cheese.

Layers of drained zucchini ribbons

Ready for the oven

Cover the casserole dish with foil and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.  After 40 minutes, take the dish from the oven, remove the foil and let rest for 10-15 minutes.  After resting, carefully and slowly pour as much excess liquid as possible. (if necessary)  Then, carefully cut the lasagna into portions and serve.

Cheesy and delicious... 

Reheats well too - if you have any left.

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