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Zucchini noodle lasagna

July 8, 2011

Last weekend I was craving something really cheesy, particularly ricotta cheese, which meant I had to get my Italian game on. Not feeling quite so high-achieving as to making ravioli, I decided on making a super healthy version of lasagna, replacing the traditional wheat noodle with vitamin-packed zucchini slices.

These were the zucchini that I sliced on a mandolin, which I laid out to salt in order to gain a firmer texture and a less soupy lasagna. I initially cut them with a knife, but found out that slicing them made the pieces more uniform and made the process less difficult.

Trader Joe’s has quite the selection of affordable, but high-quality and delicious cheeses, so I made the trip there especially to get my cheese ingredients. The ricotta is fat-free, but still delicious-tasting, and I chose to replace my mozzarella cheese with cottage cheese since it is slightly healthier and tastes just as amazing when cooked. Then I finally chose the freshly-grated parmesan in a container, which turned out to be extremely soft and had amazing flavor! This will definitely be my go-to parmesan for the rest of my recipes.

Mixing the cheese with the spinach turned out to be a good idea because the spinach flavor complements the cheese very nicely, making the filling slightly more delicious than usual.

This was my Jennie-O ground turkey and tomato sauce mixture containing even more vegetables. Had to make this mixture really concentrated to minimize soupiness in the baked lasagna.

Layering was pretty fun. Perhaps my replacement of mozzarella with cottage cheese probably made the end result more soupy, but I really enjoyed eating this absolutely delicious and nutritious alternative to the frozen stuff.

Plugging the nutritional values of all the ingredients ended me with 975 calories: 13g fat, 220mg cholesterol, 3680mg sodium, 67g carbs, 13g fiber, 44g sugars, 142g protein, 98% Vitamin A, 131% Vitamin C, 148% calcium, and 47% iron. Who needs multivitamins when half of the lasagna can count for each very filling meal? Yummy!

Ingredients
1 lb (about 2 medium) zucchini
salt, as needed
1/2 lb low fat ground turkey
3 cloves garlic
1/2 medium onion
1 cup tomato sauce
2 T dried basil
1 T Italian seasoning
2 cups raw mushrooms
1 cup fat free ricotta cheese
1 cup fat free cottage cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg or egg white
1 cup raw spinach
ground pepper, as needed

Directions
(1) Slice the zucchini lengthwise on a mandolin and salt them on a colander. Leave to drain for at least 15 minutes. Squeeze excess moisture out when necessary.
(2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
(3) Heat pan on high and cook turkey until browned. Add garlic and onions and cook for 3 minutes, until fragrant. Add tomato sauce, basil, seasoning, and mushrooms. Simmer until tomato sauce becomes very pasty.
(4) Combine the beaten egg, ricotta cheese, half the cottage cheese, half the parmesan cheese, spinach, and pepper in a bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.
(5) In a 9×5″ loaf pan, place a layer of tomato mixture on the bottom. Top with a layer of zucchini slices. Then add a layer of ricotta cheese mixture. Continue with another layer of tomato mixture, zucchini, and ricotta cheese mixtures. Add zucchini layer on the top, add the remaining cottage cheese, and sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese.
(6) Bake in oven with a foil covering for 45 minutes. Take off foil and bake an additional 15 minutes. Baking time should increase depending on how much water is left at the end of each baking stage.

Enjoy!

Dai Dai

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