This recipe is a rendition of the classic favorite that uses zucchini instead of pasta and healthy alternatives to other fattening ingredients
- 3 large zucchini
- 1 tablespoon salt
- cooking spray
- 1 1⁄2 cups diced onions
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 12 ounces button mushrooms
- 3 cups chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1⁄2 cup fat free mozzarella cheese
- 3 -4 cups raw spinach leaves
- Slice the zucchini lengthwise into 1/8-inch thick strips. Place in a bowl and salt generously, tossing once or twice to coat well. Lay strips on paper towels on your work surface. Set aside 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, spray a large saucepan with nonstick spray and set over medium heat. Add the onion; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic; cook 20 seconds.
- Add the mushrooms; cook, stirring often, until they give off their liquid and it reduces to a glaze, about 7 minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes, basil, oregano, nutmeg and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes start to break down and the sauce thickens, about 25 minutes.
- Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Blot any moisture off the zucchini strips with paper towels. Use one third of the zucchini strips to line the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, laying them lengthwise like you would lasagna noodles. Top evenly with one third of the sauce, then one third of the shredded cheese. Place half the remaining zucchini strips on top, as before, then top evenly with half the remaining sauce and half the remaining cheese. Repeat this process one more time: using the remaining zucchini, remaining sauce, and remaining cheese.
- Bake, uncovered, until bubbling, about 45 minutes. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before slicing into 6 pieces; serve.
Ok, well I modified quite a bit, but the whole family was so surprised that it was meatless! My youngest (age 10) was "afraid" to try it, but loved it and ate it all. Here is a quick list of my modifications:
1/2 the mushrooms and I chopped them.
We used more mozzarella then the recipe called for. Probably about 1 cup or more. Enough to cover each layer fairly well.
My tomatoes were a little under-ripe, so I added half a can of tomato paste during that step.
I added a layer from my favorite traditional lasagna recipe for more protein. The layer is 2 cups of lowfat cottage cheese, one egg, 2 tbsp finely grated parmesan, and 1 tbsp of dried parsley mixed together.
I layered it differently and used the spinach mentioned in the recipe during the layering process (since I couldn't find out how to use it in the recipe.) 1/2 Zucchini, 1/2 spinach, 1/2 cottage cheese blend, 1/2 sauce, 1/2 cheese, repeat.
This recipe was A LOT of work, so I was so thankful the experiment was worth it. Don't know how often I'll go in for that long of a job again, but if you like to cook, you'd probably love this recipe.
YUM! This turned out really well. Take the time to cut the zucchini well, it makes a big difference. I added extra-lean ground beef and a bit more cheese for more protein. Will definitely make again!
I made this last week as my dinner, while the rest of my family had regular lasagna. It was delectable and made dieting much easier since it was almost identical to what the others where eating. I did add some lean ground turkey for some protein, but what a great recipe to start from!