How To: Big Batch – Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna

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After making this recipe three times over the past two weeks, I thought it could now definitely be deemed “blog worthy.”

I loved it so much that the last time I made it, I doubled the recipe and made an extra pan to store in the freezer. Yes, at just over 38 weeks pregnant I am in full on nesting mode. And I know that having this delicious and filling lasagna ready to pop into the oven with a 2.5 year old and newborn at home will surely be a lifesaver.

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But I must say, this Mexican lasagna comes together so fast, it is the perfect weeknight meal. Just like our enchilada casserole, corn tortillas replace the standard lasagna noodles. Instead of the Italian tomato sauce, your favourite salsa is used to cover the bean, spinach, and cheesy layers.

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If I say this is worthy of a triple recipe repeat in a mere two weeks, you owe it to yourself to at least give it a go once!

Dara

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Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna

Serves 6
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Freezable
Website Adapted from Kiwi and Bean

Ingredients

  • 10 Oz bag spinach
  • 1 Large jar of salsa
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 red pepper (chopped)
  • 1 Small log goat cheese
  • 1 1/2 Tsp chili powder
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 1/2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese

Note

I like serving this casserole with a dollop of Greek yogurt, a squeeze of lime, and a mixed green salad with avocado and tomatoes. This dish also freezes very well so it makes a great make ahead option.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 pyrex dish with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Heat a large non stick skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Cook spinach in pan until wilted and set aside.
3. Spread about 1/3 of the jar of salsa evenly over the bottom of the pyrex dish. Lay 6 tortillas evenly on top. Spread another 1/3 of salsa on top of the tortillas and top with spinach, beans, red pepper, chili powder, and goat cheese. Lay remaining 6 tortillas on top and cover with remaining salsa and cheddar cheese.
4. Cover pan with foil and bake for about 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. If the cheese isn't browned yet, broil for another 5 minutes. Serve topped with sour cream or greek yogurt and guacamole.

How To: Make Ahead Meal – Lasagna Stuffed Eggplant

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Even though I am long finished my school years, I still get those butterflies in my stomach come labour day. In past years I chalked this up to simply some nostalgic feeling – missing my high school and university days. But this labour day was different. These anxious knots in my stomach were due to the start of a different kind of school year – the first day of day care for my almost one year old daughter.

After a wonderful year together, it is time she begins her school days. And soon after I will return to work – days will now be filled with a different kind of busy and I think getting dinner on the table for the whole family at the early hour of 5:30 will be even more challenging. And that is where this recipe comes in.

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This lasagna stuffed eggplant is the perfect make ahead meal to help your back to school transition come and go with ease. Each of the components can be made a head of time and then assembled before eating or you can stuff and bake each lasagna boat and simply reheat it right before eating.

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One of the best parts of this recipe is the roasted garlic topping. If you haven’t tasted the sweet flesh of roasted garlic, be ready to have your mind blown!

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Just like our lasagna stuffed spaghetti squash, this meal takes a traditional dish and adds a creative and healthy spin to it. They are easy enough for the back to school rush and fancy enough for your first fall dinner party.

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The back to school transition, or really any change for that matter is never easy. So make at least dinner time easier and cook up a batch of cheesy stuffed eggplant. It’s what I did!

Dara

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Lasagna Stuffed Eggplant

Serves 6 eggplant halves
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Website Adapted from Half Baked Harvest

Ingredients

  • 3 eggplant (halved)
  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1/8 Tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion (chopped)
  • 2 zucchinis (chopped)
  • 2 red peppers (chopped)
  • 1 Tsp dried thyme
  • 1 Package yves ground round
  • 1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tsp dried basil
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 Ball fresh mozzarella (sliced)

Note

This vegetarian dish is delicious on its own, but also pairs well with a side of pasta or salad. If you like things extra spicy, add an extra pinch of red pepper flakes to the sauce when you add the other spices. All of the components of this dish can be prepared ahead of time and assembled just before serving, making this a great make ahead meal.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment. Cut off the top portion of the garlic head and wrap the whole head in foil. Season the eggplant with salt and pepper and place the eggplant cut side down on the baking sheet along with the wrapped head of garlic. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the eggplant and garlic are tender.
2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and add onion. Cook until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the red peppers, zucchini, dried thyme and cook until vegetables are soft, about another 5 minutes.
3. Add ground round and break it up with a spatula. Add tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, dried oregano, and basil and cook for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until slightly reduced and thickened, about 10-15 minutes.
4. Once garlic and eggplant are done, remove from oven and squeeze garlic pulp into a small bowl. Add 2 tbsp dried basil, parmesan, and red pepper flakes and stir to combine.
5. Flip eggplants over and evenly spread with roasted garlic mixture. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Top eggplants evenly with tomato sauce and cover with slices of mozzarella cheese. Place in the oven until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly, about 10-15 minutes.

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How To: Recipe Makeover – Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

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You would think after a large bowl of creamy and cheesy polenta our comfort food craving would be satisfied. Well, think again!

After returning home from sunny Florida where I feasted on frozen yogurt, fresh fish and salads, and green juice, the cold weather here has me craving more comfort. And what is more comforting than a pan of piping hot lasagna?

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I was debating whipping up a batch of our mushroom and spinach lasagna roll ups, but two spaghetti squash taking up space on my counter were staring me in the face. And as we’ve shown you before, these golden strands of squash make a perfect stand in for pasta noodles.

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The usual meat heavy red sauce is lightened up with soy ground round, some fresh veggies, and fresh basil. Low fat cottage cheese and mozzarella add that cheesy goodness to replace the typical white sauce. And come on – who doesn’t love getting their own personal edible lasagna boat??

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The slightly crunchy texture of the spaghetti squash tastes so delicious mixed with the tangy sauce and creamy filling.

Your own personal bowl of comfort that will leave you feeling satisfied and full, without the need for a post-food coma nap.

Dara

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Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Serves 4
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish

Ingredients

  • 2 spaghetti squash (halved and seeds removed)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 red pepper (chopped)
  • 3 Cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 Package yves soy ground round
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano (divided)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh basil (chopped and divided)
  • 1/4 Tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/4 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • 1 cup shredded low fat mozzarella cheese

Note

This lighter and vegetarian version of your favourite lasagna is the perfect winter meal. You can substitute ground turkey or chicken for the soy if you prefer to use meat. Some grated parmesan would also be great sprinkled on top before baking.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and brush squash with 1/2 tbsp olive and oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until tender. Set aside.
2. In a large skillet, heat 1/2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and red pepper and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until soften.
3. Add ground round, 1/2 tbsp each oregano and basil, red pepper flakes, canned tomatoes, balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 5-10 minutes, or until thickened.
4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine cottage cheese and remaining oregano and basil. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Fluff up some of the strands of the spaghetti squash and divide the cottage cheese mixture evenly among the squash halves. Cover evenly with the sauce and then the shredded cheese.
6. Bake at 400 for about 10-20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and browned.

How To: Recipe Makeover – Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna Rollups

There is something about this winter weather that makes me want to get all cozy on my couch with a warm blanket, cup of tea, and a large bowl of comforting carbs.

Lasagna sure is a winter comfort food and crowd pleaser for any dinner party. Ooey gooey cheese, savoury tomato sauce, and lots of chewy noodles sure does the trick to warm your body and soul. I’m sure you’ve all been wowed by our made-over risotto…well it’s lasagna’s turn to get a brand new look.

Homemade tomato sauce, a mixture of low fat cheese, lots of spinach and mushrooms turns a traditional comfort food into an every day food.

Using a pair of kitchen scissors makes chopping up a can of whole tomatoes for your homemade tomato sauce that much easier. And you get a much better texture than a can of the pre-chopped variety. Of course, you could always use some prepared bottled sauce, but I find the homemade variety that much fresher and better tasting. And by making your own, you also control how much salt gets added.

The portobello mushrooms add a nice “meaty” texture and flavour without any actual meat.  One very key step is the squeezing of the spinach. You really want to make sure to get out as much water as possible to avoid a very watery lasagna…it happens to the best of us.

Place the spinach in a kitchen towel

Squeeze out as much water as possible

What I love about these little rolls is that everyone gets their own individual lasagna. It’s also so much easier to serve than the traditional stacked pasta casserole and they just look so darn cute. You can also use whole wheat noodles to ramp up the fiber in this dish even more, but I find them to be quite difficult to find. They must be hiding out with the corn tortillas!

These lasagna rollups can be made in advance on the weekend and popped in the oven when you get home from work. They also make a fabulous dinner party dish and can be customized for even the pickiest eater!

Healthy, comforting, cheesy, and DELICIOUS! The perfect winter weather dinner sure does look good with its new ‘do!

Dara

Portobello and Spinach Lasagna Rollups

Serves 6-8
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Freezable
Website Food Network

Ingredients

  • 14 lasagna noodles
  • 1 Tsp olive oil
  • 3 portobello mushrooms (chopped)
  • 2 Cups low fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 Packages frozen chopped spinach (thawed and drained)
  • 1 egg (lightly beaten)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan (grated)
  • 2/3 cups low fat mozzarella cheese (grated)

Tomato sauce

  • 1 Tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 Cloves garlic ( minced)
  • 2 28 oz cans of whole tomatoes (drained and chopped)
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tsp dried basil
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Note

The tomato sauce and mushroom mixture can both be prepared in advance. This would also freeze very well...you can freeze it as a whole or portion out the rolls into individual tupperware for quick a quick lunch or dinner. You could also add other vegetables in place of the mushrooms - eggplant or zucchini would both work great!

Directions

Tomato Sauce
1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cool until thickened, about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf and puree until smooth with a little bit of chunks left and set aside.
Lasagna rolls
2. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions and drain well. Place on some wax paper to prevent sticking.
3. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and sauté mushrooms until soft and browned. Season with salt and pepper. Add about 1 1/2 cups of tomato sauce and let cook for about 2 minutes. Set aside.
4. Mix together ricotta, spinach, egg, and salt and pepper to taste.
5. Spray a 9 x 13 pyrex dish with cooking spray and spread about 3/4 cups of tomato sauce in the bottom.
6. Spread about 2 spoonfulls of ricotta mixture onto a lasagna noodle and then top with about 1 spoonfull of mushroom mixture. Roll up and place in pyrex and continue to top and roll the remaining lasagna noodles.
7. Spread noodles with sauce and sprinkle with cheeses. Cover loosely with foil and bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted.