Lightened Up Veggie Lasagna

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From what I hear it’s still freezing outside making this hearty and warming lasagna entirely appropriate.  I wouldn’t know because I haven’t left the house due to being in newborn baby bliss tucked in our West Loop home.  John and I welcomed our perfect little Leila 5 weeks earlier than forecasted and are loving every minute with her.  This lasagna would have been an awesome dish to have in the freezer had we planned for such an early delivery of Leila but what can you do.

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It’s lightened up with low fat cheeses and tons of veggies but definitely still rich and filling.  My twist to this recipe was using eggplant because us Persians love eggplant and I think it makes the whole dish a little heartier.  I used prepared tomato sauce to quicken the whole process up but if you have the energy to make your own would take this to the next level.  Okay enough carb talk for me I’m back to newborn cuddles.

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You’ll need:

For Veggies

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 small baby eggplant, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • Pinch salt
  • 5 ounces baby spinach

Everything else

  • 2 cups marinara sauce (homemade or store bought)
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) low-fat cottage cheese, divided
  • Salt/pep
  • 9 no boil- lasagna noodles
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) low-moisture, part skim mozzarella cheese
  • Optional: basil for garnish

To Make:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. For veggies: In large skillet over medium heat, warm olive oil.  Add carrots, bell pepper, eggplant, onion and salt.  Cook for 8-12 minutes, stirring occasionally until veggies are golden on edges.  Add spinach, a handful at a time, until wilted.  Remove from heat.
  3. Pour 1 cup of cottage cheese into food processor and blend until smooth (1 minute).  Transfer to large mixing bowl.  Transfer veggie mixture to the food processor (no need to clean before) and pulse until finely chopped but not pureed, about 6 times (scrape sides as needed).  Transfer to bowl with cottage cheese.  Stir in remaining cottage cheese and pinch of salt/pep.
  4. Make lasagna: spread 0.5 cup tomato sauce on bottom of 9X9 inch baking dish.  Layer 3 noodles on top (can break pieces to fit). Spread half of cottage cheese/veggie mixture over noodles. Top with 0.75 cup tomato sauce, then 0.5 cup shredded mozzarella.
  5. Top with 3 more noodles then the rest of the cottage cheese/veggie mixture.  Top with 0.5 cup shredded mozzarella.
  6. Top with 3 more noodles, 0.75 cup tomato sauce then 1 cup of shredded mozzarella.  Cover top with parchment paper or aluminum foil (don’t let foil touch cheese).  Bake, covered for 18 minutes.  Rotate, remove cover and bake another 10-12 minutes until top is beginning to brown.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool at least 15 minutes- this is so hard but if you don’t wait the lasagna will be a soupy mess.  It will still be hot and amazing 15 minutes later.  Garnish with basil and serve.

Inspired by CookieandKate

 

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