One of everyone’s favourite comfort foods, lasagna just makes all of life’s problems better. Unless one of life’s problems is calorie intake.
We’re not saying ‘never eat any pasta’ – research has shown that as part of a balanced diet it can be an effective weight-loss tool – but we do want to show that there are alternatives to the carb-heavy meal if you are conscious about your calorie intake.
INGREDIENTS (SERVES 4)
- 30 ml of olive oil
- 250g of reduced-fat cream cheese
- 450g of part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 tablespoon of coarse salt
- 1 tablespoon of ground pepper
- 2 zucchini, halved lengthwise
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 30g of dried oregano
- 500g of vegetarian mince (frozen)
- 250 ml of hot water
- 1 diced green pepper
- 1 diced onion
- 1 can of tomatoes
- 1 egg
- 500g of chopped spinach – frozen, thawed and drained, or lightly steamed from fresh
- 500g of mushrooms, sliced
- 250g of grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons of chopped basil
- Preheat your oven to 165°C. You’ll need an oven tray – grease it using the olive oil.
- Slice the zucchini lengthwise into thin slices, sprinkle some salt over them and drain them in a colander.
- Add your vegetarian mince to a pan, adding canned tomatoes once the mince is thawed. Now it’s time to add the oregano and basil. Don’t be scared to add a small amount of hot water if the sauce is too thick.
- Stir the egg, ricotta and parsley in a bowl until it’s well combined.
- To assemble the lasagna, place half the mince mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Layer half the zucchini strips, half the ricotta mixture, all the spinach, all the mushrooms, and finally half the mozzarella cheese.
- Repeat with the remaining mixtures in the same order.
- Once that’s done, spread parmesan evenly over the mozzarella, and cover with foil.
- Now that your tray is ready, pop it in the oven for 45 minutes, and raise the oven temperature to 175°C for another 15 minutes.
- Once ready, remove from the oven and let it stand for 5 minutes before serving
Aside from the dish containing egg, which is an underrated nutritional marvel, this vegetarian meal is low-carb, gluten-free and filling. By removing the pasta sheets, and replacing the staple mincemeat with a vegetarian alternative, you’re eliminating a large source of carbohydrates and saturated fats from the meal!