Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Zucchini Lasagna

Since it has recently turned to winter (ok, fall...but it seems like winter), I have been craving comfort food.  However, as we all know, comfort food generally entails millions of calories.  It is always one of my culinary goals to redo comfort foods in a healthy way.  Success stories include chili, taquitos, tacos, spring rolls, cheese stuffed meatballs, and many varieties of burgers.  What's left?  Lasagna.

Well, we did it.  Zucchini Lasagna.  Who knew?  With traditional lasagna, the only part I actually really enjoy is the cheese.  Personally, I don't care for soggy noodles, over salted canned spaghetti sauce, and dry ground beef.  This zucchini lasagna includes perfectly al dente zucchini slices (you won't miss the noodles I promise!), homemade sauce spiced to your liking, moist ground turkey, and cheese (but in a "healthy" proportion...don't doubt me).  The other benefit of the zucchini lasagna is that you get a work out at the same time!!!--the baking dish weighed at least 20 pounds.

I certainly will never go back to regular lasagna again.  This stuff was incredible.  Like so incredible that I fantasize about making it again as soon as we run out of leftovers.

Make now, thank me later.  It is that good.

(p.s.  Still looking for suggestions for how to photograph our delicious food now that we have very little natural light.  Flash diffuser?  Light box?  Help!)






 
Zucchini Lasagna:
  • 5 zucchini
  • 1 1/4 pounds of lean ground turkey
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 4 or 5 green onions, sliced and the green parts discarded
  • 4 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped small
  • 1 container of fresh spinach, chopped (sorry, I have no idea what the measurement is)
  • 2 or 3 cans of no sodium added diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • depending on whether you are going for thick or runny, you can add tomato paste too
  • about a tablespoon each of rosemary and thyme
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons of Italian seasoning (start with less and add more as you taste)
  • about 3 cups of cottage cheese (I used the entire tub of a larger Lucerne fat free cottage cheese)
  • about 1 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2ish cups of part-skim mozzarella
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Use a mandolin to slice the zucchini into 1/8 in slices.
  3. Arrange the slices on the cookie sheets and cook until they just start to brown on top, about 5-7 minutes.  
  4. Flip them over and cook on the other side.
  5. (I had to do 3 or 4 cycles of zucchini trays in the oven.)
  6. Remove the slices from the parchment paper and set aside.  
  7. Turn oven to 375 degrees.
  8. While all of that is happening, you can work on the sauce.....
  9. In a large non-stick skillet, cook all of the onions and the garlic with a little olive oil on medium heat.
  10. When they begin to soften, add the turkey and cook until it is brown.
  11. Add the broccoli, tomatoes, sauce, and your first round of seasonings.
  12. Simmer until the broccoli begins to soften.
  13. Regularly taste and adjust your seasonings accordingly.
  14. While all of that is happening, make your cheese filling.....
  15. Mix the cottage cheese and the parmesan together in a large bowl.
  16. FINALLY ASSEMBLE.....
  17. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  18. Arrange a layer of zucchini slices on the bottom of the pan.
  19. Cover with about half of the tomato/turkey sauce.
  20. Cover the sauce with about half of the cheese layer.
  21. On top of the cheese mixture, add another layer of zucchini slices.
  22. Then repeat with the remaining sauce and cheese.
  23. Cover with one more layer of zucchini slices.
  24. Top it all off with the mozzarella cheese.
  25. Cover the whole lasagna with nonstick tinfoil, with the nonstick part facing the cheese.
  26. Cook covered for 50 minutes or so.  Then remove the foil and cook uncovered for 10 minutes or until the cheese begins to slightly brown.
  27. Let cool...the roof of your mouth will thank you.
  28. ENJOY!!!!!!!!



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