An even healthier, and still hearty, alternative to regular lasagna
On Tuesday, I shared a recipe from the Think Tasty archives for Individual Spaghetti Squash Lasagnas. That version of lasagna definitely is healthier than regular lasagna, as all of the noodles are replaced with spaghetti squash. This recipe takes it a notch higher on the healthy scale while still keeping the dish delicious.
How did I do that? First, I replaced the lasagna noodles with cauliflower that’s been blitzed in the food processor and steamed. Second, I removed the ricotta layer. Third, I used less mozzarella per serving.
How did it taste? After reading the second paragraph, you may be thinking that it sounds disappointing. It’s not. The cauliflower produced a thicker layer that had an element of creaminess, which replaced both the noodles and ricotta. Although there’s less mozzarella per serving, you really don’t notice it with all of the other flavors and textures.
Who were my recipe testers? Since I can lean toward vegetarian eating, I definitely could not be the only taste tester. Sometimes my enjoyment of vegetarian foods doesn’t parlay well to others’ palates. So, my stepson and husband also tried this recipe. My husband loved it, so much that he asked if the leftovers could go to work with him for lunch. My stepson, who’s 17 and not a huge fan of eggplant, had a small slice and said it was good. (High praise from a teen, I do believe.)
When would I make this dish? If you are a regular reader, you probably know that my cooking is usually weather-based. That might make you question how a lasagna recipe got created in the summer. In between two hot spells, we had one day with tons of rain and cooler temps. I grabbed that opportunity and made this dish, as I had been imagining it for a while. Typically, however, this dish wouldn’t be part of my repertoire until the chill of fall returns.
What would I change? Honestly, I love the dish as it was. I thought about adding some faux meat crumbles, but the cubed eggplant provided a nice amount of texture. If you aren’t an eggplant fan (How is that possible!?), I’d suggest substituting with mushrooms. Other than that, I’d leave this recipes as is. It was utterly delicious.
- 1 medium-sized head cauliflower
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 egg whites
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- ½ tsp. salt
- 3 cups cubed eggplant
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 oz. frozen spinach, defrosted
- 1-½ cups marinara, plus extra
- 2-½ cups mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut cauliflower into florets. Place florets in food processor and blend on high until it reaches a couscous texture. (May need to be done in batches.)
- Measure 5 cups of cauliflower, and transfer to a large microwave-safe container; cover with lid or plastic wrap.
- Microwave on high for 5-7 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.
- Allow cauliflower to cool.
- Wrap cauliflower in clean kitchen towel and squeeze until all liquid is removed.
- Return cauliflower to bowl.
- Add parmesan, egg whites, oregano, basil, and salt, and stir until well mixed.
- Heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Coat bottom of pan with nonstick cooking spray or extra virgin olive oil.
- Add cubed eggplant to pan, and saute for 5 minutes.
- Add minced garlic and saute for 1 more minute.
- Squeeze excess liquid from spinach.
- Spray an 8×8 baking pan with nonstick spray.
- Place a thin layer of marinara on the bottom.
- Place half of the cauliflower mixture on bottom of pan; spread evenly.
- Top with half of the spinach, then half of the eggplant, then half of the marinara, and 1 cup of mozzarella.
- Repeat with a second layer of cauliflower, spinach, eggplant, and marinara.
- Reserve remaining mozzarella.
- Cover pan with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven, uncover, and top with remaining mozzarella.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, uncovered, until cheese is melted.