Vegetable Lasagna for Meatless Monday

This Vegetable Lasagna balances sweet and savory–a sure hit for kids and adults alike.

The recipe features butternut squash, a member of the gourd family. It is rich in potassium, magnesium, folic acid, and dietary fiber. The squash’s orange color highlights one of ts most noteworthy nutrients: beta-carotene, which the body converts into Vitamin A.

Research suggests that foods rich in Vitamin A aid the body in protection against cancers in the oral cavity and lungs. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant which helps to maintain the integrity of the skin by protecting against sun damage and dehydration. Butternut squash also has an abundance of Vitamin C, which keeps skin hydrated and fights free radicals that age skin according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Spinach also stars in today’s Vegetable Lasagna. Peptides in these dark, leafy greens help to lower blood pressure and phytonutrients reduce the risk of developing cancer. The anti-inflammatory nutrients in spinach help with diseases such as asthma, says the American Institute for Cancer Research.

Per Serving: 175 calories, 4 grams of fat, 83mg of sodium.
Serves 6.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ tsp., canola oil
  • ¾ cup fresh onions, peeled, diced
  • 2 tsp., fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ cups, canned low-sodium diced tomatoes
  • ¼ tsp., dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp., dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp., dried basil
  • 8 whole-wheat, no-boil lasagna noodles (3 ½ x 7” sheets)
  • 1¼ cups, fresh spinach, cut into thin strips
  • 1 medium fresh butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into quarter-inch slices (about 22 slices)
  • ¾ cup, low-fat/part-skim, mozzarella, shredded (about 3 oz.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.
  2. Heat canola oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until tender. Add tomatoes, oregano, thyme, and basil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1⁄2 cup water. Mix well.
  3. Divide sauce into 3 equal parts (about 3⁄4 cup each) and set aside for step 6.
  4. Place pasta sheets in a bowl filled with hot water for 5 minutes. Remove sheets as needed to assemble lasagna.
  5. Spray bottom and sides of an 8” x 8” nonstick baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  6. To assemble:
    • Place 4 lasagna sheets overlapping, covering the bottom of the pan
    • Cover evenly with about 3⁄4 cup tomato sauce
    • Spread half of the spinach (about 3⁄4 cup) evenly over sauce
    • Place 11 slices of squash on top of spinach, slightly overlapping
    • Repeat layering steps a through d
    • Cover with remaining sauce (about 3⁄4 cup)
  7. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 350 °F for 50 minutes or until squash is fork-tender.
  8. Remove lasagna from oven. Sprinkle cheese evenly over top.
  9. Bake uncovered for 5 minutes or until cheese melts and browns slightly.
  10. Remove lasagna from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
  11. Cut into 6 even pieces. Serve hot.

Recipe courtesy of the USDA/Food and Nutrition Service.

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