Lasagna is a comfort food classic, but with layers of white pasta, cheese, and ground meat, it’s not the most nutritious of dishes. We wanted to make over this Italian favorite with a stronger nutrient profile. We started with a base of vegetables—eggplant and mushrooms; a combination of microwaving and sautéing eliminated excess moisture and deepened flavors. Swapping white lasagna noodles for whole-wheat gave us additional fiber. To keep our sauce simple, we pureed canned tomatoes with basil and garlic. We didn’t want to lose the cheesy layers that make lasagna so appealing, but we also wanted to cut back on saturated fat. So in lieu of the standard mozzarella layer, we blitzed part-skim ricotta with spinach and basil in a food processor to get a bright green, soufflé-like filling. A mix of mozzarella and Parmesan made the perfect topping. Our winning whole-wheat lasagna noodles, Bionaturae Organic 100% Whole-Wheat, require cooking in batches. Be sure to follow box instructions carefully.
- Yield: 12 Servings
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 12 100 percent whole-wheat lasagna noodles
- Salt and pepper
- 8 ounces (8 cups) baby spinach
- 0.33 cup fresh basil leaves, plus 2 tablespoons chopped
- 2 tablespoons cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces (1 cup) part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 large organic egg
- 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (½ cup)
- 2 pounds eggplant, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1½ pounds cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (1 cup)
For the Tomato Sauce
- Process all ingredients in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl and set aside. (Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 day). For the Lasagna
- Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add lasagna noodles and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until just tender. Drain noodles and set aside. Pulse spinach, basil leaves, and 1 tablespoon oil together in clean, dry food processor bowl until finely chopped, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, about 6 pulses. Add ricotta, egg, ¼ cup Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and pulse until just combined, about 6 pulses; transfer to bowl and set aside.
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line large plate with double layer of coffee filters and spray with canola oil spray. Toss eggplant with ½ teaspoon salt and spread evenly over coffee filters. Microwave eggplant, uncovered, until dry to touch and slightly shriveled, 10 to 12 minutes, tossing once halfway through cooking.
- Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and ¼ teaspoon salt, and cook, covered, until mushrooms release their liquid, 6 to 8 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to high, stir in eggplant, and cook until vegetables are lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds; remove skillet from heat.
- Spread 1½ cups tomato sauce evenly over bottom of broiler-safe 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Arrange 4 noodles on top of sauce (noodles will overlap). Spread half of ricotta mixture over noodles in even layer. Spread half of eggplant mixture over ricotta. Repeat layering with 1 cup sauce, 4 noodles, remaining half of ricotta and remaining half of eggplant mixture. For final layer, arrange remaining 4 noodles on top and cover completely with remaining 1½ cups tomato sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and remaining ¼ cup Parmesan.
- Cover dish tightly with greased aluminum foil and bake until edges are just bubbling, about 35 minutes, rotating dish halfway through baking. Uncover baking dish and heat broiler. Broil lasagna until cheese is golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Let lasagna cool for 20 minutes, then sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons basil. Serve.
Serving Size 1
Nutritional Value Per Serving
Calories from Fat:
% Daily Value*
* Above mentioned %DVs (Percent Daily Values) are based on 2,000 calorie food intake.
DVs (Daily values) may be vary depending upon individuals daily calorie needs. Above nutritional values are estimates and should only be used as a guide for approximation. They are not allfoodchef.com recommendations. Calculations are based on average weight of 194 lbs. and ages of 19 to 50 years.