Lasagna doesn’t need to be a time-consuming dish to prepare. In this recipe, store-bought sauce works well with no guilt as all the vegetables and cheese add lots of flavor. Slice or grate your own fresh veggies or buy them already prepped, but make sure they are sliced thinly so they will cook through. And best of all, use regular lasagna noodles, but don’t to cook them first.
Packing lasagna with the vegetables and using low-fat ingredients make this a healthy, one-dish meal perfect with a salad or fruit on the side. Feel free to use more or less of any vegetable or add your own choices, including the type of mushrooms used. This is a great dish to prepare in advance and freeze for a crowd or party coming your way.
- 1 16-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, completely defrosted
- 1 large or 2 small to medium zucchini or yellow squash (about 1 cup sliced)
- 8 ounces fresh mushrooms
- 2–3 carrots (½ overflowing cup shredded)
- 6–10 fresh basil leave or to taste (optional)
- 1 16-ounce container low-fat or non-fat ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups shredded, part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon pepper or to taste
- 6 cups spaghetti sauce, homemade or store bought
- ¾ pound uncooked lasagna noodles (any kind except not the no-cook style)
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with olive oil. Set the defrosted spinach in a strainer over a bowl or in the sink to drain. Thinly slice the squash and mushrooms. Shred the carrots in the food processor or on a hand grater. Chiffonade the basil, cutting it into very thin strips. Squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the spinach using the back of a large spoon pressing against the sides of the strainer or, even better, using your (clean) hands. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta and eggs together well, then stir in 1½ cups of the shredded mozzarella, the spinach and, if using, the basil. Blend well.
- Evenly spread about ¾ cup spaghetti sauce in bottom of the greased baking dish. Cover completely with a layer of uncooked noodles, placed touching. Break noodles to fit tightly or slightly overlap. Gently dollop and spread a layer of cheese, using about ½ of the mixture. Top with half of the squash, mushrooms and carrots, spread evenly. Sprinkle with about ½ cup Parmesan. Add another layer of noodles and spread 1 cup of sauce on top. Add the rest of the cheese mixture, carefully spreading it, then add the vegetables spread evenly. Pour all the remaining sauce over the top, letting it seep down as you pour. If the sauce does not come at least halfway up the sides of the lasagna, add a little water to the halfway point. If it comes close to the top, don’t add any more. When all the sauce is added, sprinkle the top with remaining Parmesan.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Then remove the foil, sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of mozzarella evenly over the top and bake another 10 to 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let stand a few minutes before cutting and serving. To freeze, let cool, then cover well in aluminum foil and freeze. To reheat, thaw covered overnight in the refrigerator or on the counter for about 3 to 4 hours. Heat uncovered in a 350-degree oven for at least 20 to 25 minutes or until warm through and bubbly. If the top starts to brown too much, cover very loosely with foil.