[center] Low-Carb, No-Pasta Lasagna [/center]
It started with a cat.
“Why does that fat cat like lasagna so much?” I thought when I was about 12 years old. “What is it anyway?”
Yep, because of Garfield I just had to try lasagna. Thanks for the extra adipose tissue, Jim Davis.
These days, I still love lasagna. What I don’t love is being a pudgeball, so a while back I set about “healthing up” lasagna.
At first, I fell for the usual trap – trying to find a “better-bad” lasagna noodle. No such luck. Even the ones with more fiber and a little flax were far from abs-friendly. Finally I ditched the pasta altogether and subbed in vegetables, usually zucchini, yellow squash, or eggplant. Much to my surprise, this worked very well. With the right flavors and textures, it was actually difficult to tell that you were eating pasta-less lasagna.
Pasta problem solved, I moved on to the rest of the ingredients. Most recipes call for part-skim ricotta cheese, and that’s fine. But after forgetting to buy it one day, I was forced to sub in what I had lying around in the fridge… which was fat-free sour cream. Worked like a charm and dropped 140 calories from the recipe since FF sour cream is less calorie-dense than ricotta.
For sauce, I just go for the store-bought variety with the lowest sugar and calorie content. There are a couple made by Classico that work well. I’m also learning to make my own sauce – more on that in the future.
Finally, I use fat-free or reduced fat cheese to drop the caloric load, then extra lean ground beef or turkey if I’m making the meaty version… and I’m usually making the meaty version since I’m Texan and therefore required to have dead animals at every meal. (State law.)
There are a thousand variations, but here’s one of my favorites so far. This is a combination of my standard recipe with some inspiration from Floridagirl, one of our V-Life members who has her own food <a href="http://stuffimakemyhusband.blogspot.com"target=“new”>blog.
[center] No-Pasta Lasagna [/center]
1 pound of extra lean ground beef or turkey
1 pound of zucchini or yellow squash
1 cup or so of reduced fat or fat-free shredded mozzarella cheese
1 jar of low-sugar pasta sauce
Diced onion (I used frozen, pre-chopped, a few handfuls)
Spoonful or two of chopped garlic (I get it pre-chopped and jarred)
A few handfuls of frozen, chopped spinach
A few dashes of Italian herb blend or oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, etc.
16 ounces fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 omega-3 egg or two egg whites if you prefer
1 10-oz package of frozen broccoli
Putting It All Together
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Slice your zucchini into thin slices. A mandolin-style slicer helps here, or just practice your knife skills.
Brown meat in a pan. Drain. Set aside.
Cook spinach and broccoli (boil or microwave if using frozen), drain the excess water, chop broccoli, and set aside.
Toss onions and garlic into a pan with a shot of Pam or olive oil, and cook until tender and fragrant. Mix with browned meat, sauce, and seasonings.
6. In a bowl, mix sour cream, parm, egg or egg white, and chopped broccoli. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- In a 13" x 9" pan, build a foundation of zucchini, layering them in like this:
8. Add a layer of the sour cream mixture, then a layer of the meat mixture, about half of each.
Repeat with remaining goodies: another layer of zucchini, another layer of sour cream, another layer of meat. Cover the top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes or so.
That may seem like a lot of steps, but it’s really hard to screw this up. Feel free to experiment with different vegetables, canned tomatoes instead of pre-made pasta sauce, skim ricotta instead of sour cream, etc.
Enjoy! And if you make it, be sure to share your pics and tell us about your variations below! – Chris