A healthier take on delicious lasagna, this Healthier Lasagna with Roasted Tomato Sauce has an amazing depth of flavor your family will love.
I am a lustful person. I know. It’s not a good quality to have, be lustful, but I just can’t help myself!! I mean, just look at all that chees-y, meat-y goodness!! I lust after lasagna. But it’s just not healthy. The meat has fat, the cheese, has fat, and if you’re one of those that doesn’t do the carb thing, then there’s the noodles to contend with. The only healthy thing? The sauce. That’s it.
I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about this before, but when I was growing up, they referred to me as Garfield. Ya know. The lasagna loving cat? I even had a stuffed Pookie doll. I loved lasagna THAT much. My mother would always ask, “What do you want for your birthday dinner,” knowing full good and well what the answer was. At least until I hit my teenage years, I think…
Then it probably switched to fettuccine Alfredo. Yeah. Cause that’s healthier!
So, I’m forever looking for a healthier way to make lasagna. I know. There are those that say, “Just don’t eat it often and eat small amounts when you do.” And don’t you think I do that? Lasagna is not all that fun to make and not something you can whip up on a weeknight unless there’s some secret I’m not privy to… Is there? IS THERE?
The concept here is to intensely flavor those small amounts of ingredients you DO use and to substitute some items are that are lower in fat. Cause that’s what we do here at AKHA; lower the fat. So, instead of using a jarred sauce, which is flavorful none-the-less, I roasted the canned whole tomatoes along with two large fresh tomatoes.
I’m stealing this idea from an Alton Brown marinara sauce recipe where he roasts the tomatoes first. I added fresh tomatoes for a little vibrant color and taste. I also hoped to cut some of the sodium from the canned tomatoes. This is the base of the sauce for the meat that lines the bottom layer of the lasagna.
Next, I split the ricotta with cottage cheese. Not just any cottage cheese, but a fat free version. I’ve been using fat free cottage cheese in quite a few sauces and recipes lately; not just as a substitute to ricotta, but as a base substitute for some cheese sauces like Alfredo and cheddar. The pureed cottage cheese acts like a béchamel ready to accept other ingredients to complete the sauce. I know, it sounds weird, but you should try it! People are making that cauliflower sauce; try a cottage cheese sauce!
Any way you look at it, healthier meals are just a matter of swapping out the fatty items for leaner products, cutting your portion size, and eating it all in moderation. But when it looks THIS GOOD how can you do that??
- 28 ounces canned plum tomatoes
- 2 large whole plum tomatoes, halved
- 1 pound ground beef
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, divided
- 9 whole lasagna noodles
- 1 cup fat free cottage cheese
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup egg substitute
- 2 cups part-skim mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Drain the whole tomatoes, reserving the juices for later. Place the whole, canned tomatoes on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil coated with cooking spray. Slice the fresh Roma tomatoes in half and place cut side down on the baking sheet. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake at 400 for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes appear dry. Place in a food processor with reserved juices and process until smooth.
- Heat a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Crumble beef into pan and cook until browned. Add the tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, and simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Cook the pasta until almost al dente. Drain and rinse with hot water to prevent sticking.
- Combine the cottage cheese, ricotta cheese and egg substitute in a medium mixing bowl. Add 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning and set aside.
- Spread 1/2 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 noodles on top of the sauce. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of mozzarella cheese on top of the noodles. Top with 2/3 of the beef mixture and three more noodles. Spread the cheese mixture on top of the noodles, sprinkle with 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese and top with the last 3 noodles. Pour the remaining beef mixture over the noodles and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Bake, covered, at 400 for 35 to 40 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove cover and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is browned. Cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving.