No, I did not cook this lasagna while naked… you’d have to google something else to find that. However, I did skimp on the pasta. I love a decadent and hearty meal just as much as the next gal, but I also love to make my favorite dishes with a healthy twist. It’s about balance, right? This lasagna is fantastic, and all of the veggies make it super-healthful. You won’t even miss the noodles.
What you’ll need: 4 zucchini thinly sliced lengthwise, 2 teaspoons safflower oil (you could also use canola oil,) 1-2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 pound turkey italian sausage, 1 medium diced onion, 2 teaspoons chopped garlic, 1 1/2 cups diced yellow squash, 1 1/2 cups diced portobello mushrooms, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried oregano, 6 cups tomato sauce (you can use jarred, or stay tuned for my homemade red-wine tomato sauce) 4 cups ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup grated parmesan, 2 cups mozzarella cheese.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then slice up your zucchini lengthwise and spread them out on a baking sheet. Spread a little safflower oil on each side and bake them for about 4-5 minutes. Since these will take the place of the noodles try to slice them in even cuts.
brusha, brusha, brusha…. anyone seen Grease? Love that movie!
There are many benefits to using safflower oil instead of canola oil or other vegetable oils. Safflower oil is high in polyunsaturated fats which help with the strengthening of cell membranes, it’s also good for lowering cholesterol, can boost your immune system, is great for skin and hair. But like all fat, you still shouldn’t consume too much. Enough of the nutrition lesson, back to the grub.
After the zucchini have been in the oven for a few minutes let them rest on a paper towel. Raise the oven temp to 375 degrees. Get your mise en place ready, dice up your squash, mushrooms, onion and garlic.
In a medium sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When hot, remove the italian sausage from the casing and add to the pan until lightly brown, stirring and breaking it up to ground consistency.
Add the onion and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring.
After 1-2 minutes, add the squash, mushrooms, basil and oregano. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables soften (about 10 minutes or so)
Once they are tender, remove from the heat and set aside.
Now, let’s assemble. I am using homemade red-wine tomato sauce, which I will feature tomorrow, but you can also use store-bought sauce of your liking. In a greased baking pan ladle about 1/ 1/2 cups of tomato sauce and spread it evenly. Layer a third of the zucchini over the sauce evenly and top it with half of the sausage mixture. Then ladle another 1 1/2 cups of sauce over the mixture in an even layer.
Spoon the ricotta cheese into a pastry bag, or a plastic bag with the corner snipped off. Pipe the cheese evenly over the sauce.
Top with another layer of zucchini slices. Repeat layering with sauce, turkey mixture, more sauce and ricotta. Once you get to the top sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and some mozzarella.
Bake this bad boy for 40-45 minutes or until the lasagna is bubbling hot. Let it cool slightly and then serve. Man oh man this is yummy and you won’t even miss the noodles! Trust me, I will not steer you wrong.
Stay tuned for my red-wine tomato sauce.