Zucchini lasagna which is made plant-based and still as delicious!
As a home cook, I love serving dishes that are not just nutritious but are also appetising especially to my two diners. This LASAGNA WITH ZUCCHINI hits a spot and is officially a family favorite! Here’s why…
WHAT YOU WILL LOVE ABOUT THIS
The meat sauce is made from 100% tomatoes, celery, carrots, and spiced with paprika and oregano. Sure you can buy those bottled ones in the supermarket if you don’t have much time but the flavors wouldn’t be as rich. I also used ricotta cheese with spinach in lieu of the bechamel sauce usually found in lasagna recipes. And the highlight of the dish is the addition of fresh zucchini slices which adds a layer of nutrition and flavor. Lasagna is a great way to sneak in your vegetables in there without your kids even knowing it!
You can prep this a day before, chill it and then just pop it into the oven right before you’re ready to serve it. This stores very well and can be frozen for days.
The best part when making lasagna is you can also have your kids jump in and help out. Theo loves it when I involve him in the kitchen. Can you see how excited he is? At four years old, he is at the ‘I did it myself’ stage and beams every time he does something by himself.
Cooking and baking are definitely great avenues for kids to gain more independence and feel more empowered when delegated with small tasks. You can have them scoop out or measure ingredients, stir or mix with your assistance, or in this case, layer the zucchinis, sauce and cheese.
I also noticed how Theo gets very excited to eat when he had a role to play in preparing the dish. So if you have picky eaters, try having them help in the prepping and there’s a high chance they would devour it the moment it is ready!
Now who’s ready to make some rocking’ lasagna?!?
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
1 medium onion minced
2 cloves garlic minced
500 grams minced meat (beef or turkey)
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1/3 cup beef or chicken stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper
400 grams ricotta cheese (about 2 cups)
1 cup fresh spinach (or half a cup frozen spinach, defrosted & drained), chopped
6-8 lasagna noodles (I used the ready-to-bake ones)
1 large zucchini, sliced into thin strips
2 cups grated parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese
- Pre-heat the oven to 400deg F. Grease or spray with baking oil a 6 x 8 baking dish.
- To make the meat sauce, heat olive oil in a dutch oven or a saucepan. Sauté the onions and garlic for a few minutes. Add the minced meat and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Add the celery, carrots and cook for another 7 minutes until vegetables are slightly tender. Add the canned tomatoes, chicken stock, tomato paste, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring constantly. Taste and season accordingly.
- Meanwhile, combine in a bowl the ricotta cheese, spinach, egg. Whisk together and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Slice the zucchini into long, thin strips. Set aside.
- Once the meat sauce is ready, prepare your assembly station with the lasagna, ricotta-spinach sauce, zucchini slices, and grated cheeses.
- Scoop about 1/4 cup of the meat sauce at the bottom of the baking dish. Lay on top 3 lasagna strips. Add about half of the meat sauce and spread evenly. Top with half of the ricotta-spinach mix. Place about 3 zucchini strips on top. Then layer with a generous amount of parmesan and mozzarella. Layer with lasagna noodles, and repeat the steps—meat sauce, ricotta-spinach mix, zucchini, grated cheese.
- Season top with salt and pepper. Take some aluminum foil and spray one side with baking spray. Then cover the baking dish with it. The baking spray will prevent the cheese toppings from sticking to the foil.
- Bake for about 30 minutes. Then take out the foil and bake for another 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
- Let it cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
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