Of all the lasagna choices, this spinach lasagna was probably the healthiest. (Not quite sure I can call it healthy – it’s still lasagna after all). But in general, the cream sauce used in spinach lasagna usually makes it much more fat and calorie laden than it’s meat and tomato counterpart. However, I found a recipe that didn’t use cream, and used non-fat ricotta, to make this a healthier and much reduced fat version. At first I was skeptical that this lasagna would just taste like a lowfat version of the real thing, but I was very pleasantly surprised. I don’t think anyone would’ve guessed that this was “reduced fat”, and it was really quite easy to put together (it does take some time though).
– Makes a 13 x9 dish to feed 8-10 people.
- 2 cups nonfat ricotta (16 oz)
- 2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella (about 10 oz)
- 1 grated parmesan cheese (2 oz)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Salt and Pepper
- 2 tablespoons Olive oil
- 1 onion, minced
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 5 cups 1% milk (I used skim milk and substituted about 1/4 cup cream)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3o ounces (3 packages) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 12 lasagna noodles
1. Heat a large pot of water over high heat. Season with salt and olive oil. Add lasagna noodles to water and cook for about 9 minutes. (It’s better to undercook the noodles slightly.). Drain, and lay noodles onto paper towels to dry separately.
2. Combine ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, 1/2 cup parmesan, slightly beaten egg and salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir to combine, then set aside or refrigerate for later assembly.
3. Heat 2 T. oil in a large skillet over medium. Add onion and cook to soften (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and stir until just fragrant (30 seconds). Add flour and cook for about a minute (cook it just enough to eliminate the raw flour taste, but do not brown.)
4. Slowly whisk in all 5 cups of milk and 2 bay leaves. Simmer, while stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. The sauce should thicken slightly.
5. Remove from heat, and remove bay leaves. Stir in spinach, nutmeg, and remaining (1/2 cup) parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 13×9 inch pan with cooking spray.
7. To assemble: Place a heaping cup of spinach sauce on the botton of the 13×9 inch pan. Layer 4 noodles, overlapping, on the bottom of the pan. Spread about 1 cup of ricotta mixture over the noodles. Top with a heaping cup of spinach sauce. Repeat 2 more times, ending with ricotta and spinach sauce. The top layer should have 2-3 cups of spinach sauce poured over top. Top with remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
8. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. To avoid spills you can place the lasagna dish on a large baking sheet lined with foil (I didn’t do this because I didn’t have space in the oven). After 40 minutes, remove foil and continue to bake for 20 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.
Recipe adapted from America’a Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.
*In the ATK recipe, they actually suggested making 4 layers of lasagna, using 16 noodles but the same amount of filling. If you really like pasta this might be a good option for you!