So I have been in hot pursuit of a tasty lasagna recipe that is more than meat, noodles, and tomato sauce. I think I’ve found it!
- 16 ounces hot ground sausage
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 large carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped or 1 Cup butternut squash, cubed and cooked
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves garlic
- 5 to 6 ounces baby spinach
Tomato sauce (You can substitute 2 Cups of a garlic and mushroom spaghetti sauce if you don’t have time.) Otherwise it’s really simple to make spaghetti sauce. Just simmer the diced tomatoes and spices and anything else you’d like to add to your sauce. I usually add a bunch of fresh garlic, fresh basil if I have it, a little bit of sugar to tone down the acidity from the tomatoes, and any other spices that it’s needing to give it a good taste like oregano, salt, pepper. I just cook it all together and put it in the blender until it’s smooth and tastes yummy.
- 1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
- ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil + additional for garnish
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 cups (16 ounces) low-fat cottage cheese, divided
- ¼ teaspoon salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 9-13 no bake lasagna noodles*
- 8 ounces (2 cups) freshly grated low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cook sausage in large skillet over low heat until cooked. Once cooked. Remove sausage and set aside.
- In that same skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Once shimmering, add the carrots, bell pepper, zucchini, yellow onion, and salt. Cook, stirring every couple of minutes, until the veggies are golden on the edges, about 8 to 12 minutes.
- Add a few large handfuls of spinach. Cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach has wilted. Repeat with remaining spinach and cook until all of the spinach has wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, to prepare the tomato sauce: Pour the tomatoes into a mesh sieve or fine colander and drain off the excess juice for a minute. Then, transfer the drained tomatoes to the bowl of a food processor. Add the basil, olive oil, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes.
- Pulse the mixture about 10 times, until the tomatoes have broken down to an easily spreadable consistency. Pour the mixture into a bowl for later (you should have a little over 2 cups sauce). Rinse out the food processor and return it to the machine.
- Pour half of the cottage cheese (1 cup) into the processor and blend it until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to large mixing bowl. No need to rinse out the bowl of the food processor this time; just put it back onto the machine because you’ll need it later.
- Transfer the cooked veggies and spinach mixture to the bowl of the food processor. Pulse until they are more finely chopped (but not puréed!), about 5 to 7 times, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of whipped cottage cheese. Top with the remaining cottage cheese, then add ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt (to taste) and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stir to combine.
Lasagna assembly time!
- Spread ½ cup tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of a 9” by 9” baking dish. Layer 3 lasagna noodles on top (snap off their ends to fit, and/or overlap their edges as necessary). Spread half of the cottage cheese mixture evenly over the noodles. Top with ¾ cup tomato sauce, then sprinkle ½ cup shredded cheese on top.
- Top with 3 more noodles, followed by the remaining cottage cheese mixture (we’re skipping the tomato sauce in this layer.) Sprinkle ½ cup shredded cheese on top.
- Top with 3 more noodles, then spread ¾ cup tomato sauce over the top (you may have a little sauce leftover) to evenly cover the noodles. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup shredded cheese.
- Wrap a sheet of parchment paper or foil around the top of the lasagna (don’t let it come into contact with the cheese). Bake, covered, for 18 minutes, then remove the cover, rotate the pan by 180° and continue cooking for about 10 to 12 more minutes, until the top is turning spotty brown.
- Remove from oven and let the lasagna cool for 15 to 20 minutes, so it has time to set and cool down to a reasonable temperature. Sprinkle additional basil over the top, then slice and serve.
Feel free to play around with the recipe. Add mushrooms. Increase salt and pepper. Grate fresh Parmesan over the top. Add bacon instead of sausage. You could also use GF noodles and sub out the dairy to make a dairy and gluten free option.