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Secret Switcheroo LasagnaMakes Servings
When I was dreaming up this recipe, I wanted to reduce the amount of ricotta, but still have it be healthy, cheesy and delicious.
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
8 oz fresh baby bella mushrooms, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, crushed
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
24 oz jar of marinara sauce
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
1 1/2 cups part nonfat ricotta
1 1/4 cups grated parmesan cheese, divided
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella
1 1/2 Tbsp dried basil
12 oz pack of oven ready lasagna noodles
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brown and crumble the ground beef in a dry Dutch oven over medium high heat. As the beef starts to brown and release liquid, add the onion and cook until they are translucent. Then add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for another 7 - 10 minutes until the mixture starts to look dry, stirring occasionally. Add the crushed tomatoes, stir to deglaze the pan and then stir in the jar of marinara sauce. Lower heat and cook uncovered at a low simmer for 20 minutes. Salt & pepper to taste.
- Place the beans into the food processor and grind them for 1 minute, until pureed. Add the ricotta, egg, 1 cup of the parmesan, 1/2 tsp of salt and the basil and process until fully mixed and creamy. Remove bowl from processor and set aside.
- Prep a 3qt. 9x13 baking pan by spooning a 1/2 cup of the meat sauce into the bottom and spreading it around. Place three of the lasagna noodles into the bottom of the pan and spread 1 cup of the ricotta on top of them. Sprinkle a 1/2 cup of mozzarella on top of that and then spread 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce over that. Repeat these steps twice and top with the remaining three noodles. Pour the remaining sauce evenly over the top, sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and parmesan on top of the sauce.
- Cover the pan with foil and place in the oven for 15 minutes and then remove the foil and cook for another 30 minutes, until cheese is slightly browned. Remove pan from oven and let lasagna set for 10 minutes. Cut into 10 servings and then serve. Enjoy!
Notes: Believe it or not, I'm not a huge lasagna fan. Every time I have it, it seems like it's overloaded with the ricotta filliing and it glops out the sides and collapses. When I was dreaming up this recipe, I wanted to reduce the amount of ricotta, but still have it be cheesy and delicious.
My solution was to make a ricotta mix with pureed white beans. The inspiration came from hummus, which has a creamy texture, but plenty of body. The half ricotta/half bean mixture was just right. While I was at it, I replaced half of the beef with minced baby bella mushrooms, which added no fat, but plenty of meaty flavor. I tried to use non-fat mozzarella and parmesan to further reduce calories and fat, but that just wasn't happening. Too gummy and weird tasting. Also, I stuck with a jar of Barilla marinara sauce to make this easier to prepare.
I tested this recipe out on my co-workers, only telling them that it was reduced fat lasagna. And when it was cooled for 10 minutes, it cut into perfect portions. I got a few e-mails back from my testers and none of them could tell there were beans or mushrooms in it at all. They all said it was excellent. Success! Hope you like it, too.