There is a certain beauty to lasagna. Something magical happens when you layer a bunch of yummy ingredients and then throw it into the oven for a while. Somewhere during all that heat the flavors and textures bind and morph into a delicious concoction that is so much greater than its individual parts.
Morphs into this:
Look at all that bubbly toasty deliciousness! And that green stuff on there? I’ll but you’ve already guessed that it’s nutritious kale.
While I used to make a lasagna once every year or so, I recently made a pretty revolutionary discovery at the grocery store; no boil lasagna noodles. This miracle pasta makes what was once a tedious and time consuming casserole into a joy. I buy these noodles at Trader Joes, but if you don’t have one in your area, both Barilla and Deboles brands make a version that may be found in the pasta section of your local grocery store. And if you can’t find those, you can go the long route and boil yourself up some lasagna noodles and get to layering. Trust me, it’s worth it.
This healthy version of a classic dish has got loads of tomato goodness, pesto infused ricotta cheese, zucchini, bell peppers, and a whole head of chopped curly kale in it. In an effort to cut back on fat content, I used nonfat ricotta as well as a liberal topping of low fat mozzarella on top. If you aren’t into the reduced fat dairy, you can sacrifice some of “healthy” for more of the “tasty” and go full fat. I don’t think it’s necessary though, a slice of this baby is so satisfying and flavorful you won’t even miss those extra calories.
Veggie Lasagna with Kale
1 box no-cook lasagna noodles
2 jars of marinara sauce
1 head of curly kale, stemmed & chopped
8 oz of basil pesto
15 oz nonfat ricotta
2 bell peppers, chopped
3 small-med zucchinis, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
2 cups low fat mozzarella cheese
8 cherry tomatoes sliced in half (optional)
Salt and Pepper to tast
1. Start by preheating your oven to 375. Then, in a medium mixing bowl combine ricotta cheese, pesto, salt and pepper, and garlic, mix well. Set this is aside.
2. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with olive oil and pour in a shallow layer of marinara sauce. Add a layer of noodles either cooked if that’s how you are doing it, or dipped in water if they are no-bake. Add another even layer of sauce over top of noodles, add a layer of pesto ricotta and sprinkle kale, bell peppers, and zucchini on top. Top with more sauce.
3. Continue to layer; pasta, sauce, ricotta, veggies, and sauce until your pan is full. Pour remaining sauce on top of dish and sprinkle on mozzarella cheese. Garnish with halved cherry tomatoes and a tiny bit of finely chopped kale.
4. Put the whole shebang in the oven and bake until bubbly and toasty, approximately 45 minutes.