Sunday, September 21, 2008

Healthy-Yet-Tasty-and-Without-As-Much-Fat Lasagna

Veggie LasagnaThis is one of those dishes that needs a good PR makeover if it's going to get past the crowd at my table.

"Vegetarian Lasagna"? Nope, too hippy-ish.

"Veggie Lasagna"? Nope, too trendy and cutesy without addressing the underlying offense of being vegetarian.

"Lasagna with Vegetables"? Goodness no, why not just come right out and tell them I've poisoned it?

"Meatless Lasagna"? Still too close to that hippy edge for my man.

If any of you can suggest a name for this that wouldn't turn off my steak-loving crew I'd be forever grateful because as it is they're mighty suspicious (or downright resentful) of any dish claiming to replace meat with vegetables.

I know! How about "Jedi-Rambo-Pirate Pasta Fest"? Maybe that will give it the edge it needs.

As for myself, I love this version--even better than the fatty-fatty-butt original that's saluted along with the American flag around here. So I just call it all "lasagna" and let them sort out the difference after the first bite. They'll eat it but they still prefer the lardier stuff. Sigh. Pray for me.

However if any of you care to join me in a round of "Kum Ba Ya" followed by a slice of my favorite VEGETARIAN lasagna come on over and bring your tie dye because this stuff is good. I don't care what the rabble say. Who's with me?

olive oil cooking spray
1-2 jars bottled marinara sauce (might as well go meatless all the way)
1 package lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
2 cups grated low-fat Parmesan cheese
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 package chopped frozen spinach
3 large carrots, shredded
6 crimini mushrooms, finely chopped (I know my limits and leave this one out)
1 large zucchini, shredded or finely chopped
2 large red bell peppers, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
4-6 cups grated low -fat mozzarella

Using some cooking spray to prevent sticking, saute the onion, spinach, carrot and mushrooms (which are optional--Andrew hates them) until everything is soft, about five minutes, then set it aside. Do the same thing with the peppers and zucchini and set it aside as well. Then in a lightly greased large lasagna pan layer the ingredients in the following order and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Let it set up 10-15 minutes prior to serving.

1-2 cups of marina sauce
6 lasagna noodles
liberal sprinkling of Parmesan cheese
sautéed onion, spinach and shredded carrot
sprinkle of nutmeg
another helping of marinara sauce
1-2 cups grated mozzarella
6 more lasagna noodles
another liberal layer of Parmesan
sautéed zucchini and red peppers
chopped basil
third helping of marinara sauce
1-2 c mozzarella
8 lasagna noodles
remaining marinara sauce
remaining mozzarella

Maybe I should call it "Don't Ask Don't Tell Lasagna."

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Jen at Semantically driven said...

Just call it lasagna I reckon. I make a meat, tuna and vege, and spinach and ricotta cheese lasagna. Any of those 3 varieties are winners in our house.

Gabrielle said...

I'm going to grab my tye dye shirt, I'll be right over! :-)

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

I'm not sure I could get this past my meat loving husband and my "what's this green thing?" kids but I would love to taste it!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

I'm with jen - just call it lasagna. If you need something longer, you could call it Heart-Healthy Lasagna, or you could call it PETA-Friendly Lasagna, or you could give it a subtitle: "No cows were harmed in the making of this meal."

Janelle said...

I like Don't Ask Don't Tell. It's catchy, descriptive, and fun!

Beth said...

Don't even tell them. See if they notice on their own :-) Then just tell them that you could tell them what's in it, but then you'd have to kill them.

Anonymous said...

I would actually say what it is. It looks and sounds GREAT, so why not let them see how wonderful healthy food can taste.

I used to hate food like this, but after realizing how great it can taste, healthy food more appealing to me :)

... but if they otherwise won't touch it, do what the others have been suggesting, and don't tell them (until they have already eaten it)!

cndymkr / jean said...

You could call it "at least there isn't any tofu" lasagna?

Dorie said...

How about "Vulcan Lasagna"? I recall Mr. Spock would only eat vegetables!

~TAMY 3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

Hey Michelle I call mine Lasagne Bolegnese as my family knows how much meat I put in my Bolegnese sauce, but what they don't know is how little meat there is in the sauce when I use it for Lasagne or that it has been replaced with pureed carrots and such..

katy said...

I call it Dinner! We love veggie lasagna. I just don't make it that often.

ShabbyInTheCity said...

I'm all over it! I think it is way better than the kind with meat. So is pizza for that matter.

jan in nagasaki said...

i am a vegetarian and i don't really like the "vegetable" lasagnes.... I make mine with noodles and tom. sauce. and cheese and for filler I mix the (fresh) spinach in with the tofu and an egg and it tastes fabulous.

i don't really think i need carrots in my lasagne....and if you serve it with killer garlic bread, and a greeny green salad, then any kind of lasagne is great!

TJ said...

i don't make lasagna like this anymore. i substitute quinoa for the noodles, make my own sauce, and it calls for mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan. super easy. and it cooks in half the time of a regular one. and i guess you could leave meat out of the sauce if you wanted. let me know if you want the details of the recipe. if i weren't in NC i would have dinner at your house though. i love it when other people cook me stuff.:)

ugich konitari said...

Call it Lasagna Michelin.

They will all think its French. And eat it, no questions asked.

As for me, it looks so good from 12,000 miles away here, that I will just eat it ......more so, as I am a vegetarian..

Meredith said...

Italian food is one of my favorite ways to sneak in nutrition!

Mean Mommy said...

Alias-agna. Eh? No? I tried.

Amy said...

Yum! You just can't go wrong with a big plate of lasagna :)

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Oh, thank you for catering to us veggies!!


luckyzmom said...

Just last night my husband and I finished the delicious, yet meaty lasagne that I'd made. I could easily have added some healthy veggies without my husband noticing. Can't wait to try it out next time.
PS my husband hates mushrooms also.

~TAMY 3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

Hey Michelle I ran across this post ( tonight that made me think of you. This is pretty much how I make mine except I puree it when they're not looking and then they don't know what's in it.

Michelle said...

Hey look at that Tamy linked my slow cooker post :-) It was tasty if I do say so myself..Spaghetti is so yummy anyway you make it.