The July/August issue of Vegetarian Times is now out, and here's a great recipe for Three-Cheese Zucchini Lasagna. If you can bear having the oven on for 50 minutes in the summer heat, you will be rewarded with a delicious lasagna that doesn't feel heavy. It is lighter feeling than other lasagnas because it doesn't contain any tomato sauce. I think when the weather gets cooler, I may try this recipe again, doing everything as is, but adding a layer of marinara to each layer, as I think it would be wonderful. Even though this recipe only calls for zucchini, leeks and spinach, I also added two shredded carrots and four diced Roma tomatoes for extra color. And, I used cilantro instead of mint, only because that is what was readily available. Either option would be delicious. Here is the recipe, as I have modified it:
Three-Cheese Zucchini Lasagna, adapted from Vegetarian Times
9 to 12 whole grain lasagna noodles (I used brown rice)
4 tsp. olive oil
2 or 3 medium leeks, chopped and rinsed well (four or five cups)
6 medium zucchini, thinly sliced or chopped (about 6 cups)
2 shredded carrots, optional
4 to 6 Roma tomatoes, diced, optional
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint or cilantro
1 16oz container cottage cheese
6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 bag of washed fresh spinach or 1 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 cup mozzarella, about 4 oz.
1. Cook noodles according to package directions and set aside. Heat oil in skillet and saute the leeks over medium high heat for about 6 minutes. Add zucchini and saute about 8 minutes longer. Optionally add the extra vegetables, plus 2 of the minced garlic cloves and saute about 2 more minutes, until all of the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Remove from skillet and set aside.
2. If using frozen spinach, skip this step. In the same hot, now empty, skillet, saute the fresh spinach until wilted. Drain the liquid from the spinach and once cool to touch, squeeze out the extra water. Then roughly chop and set aside.
3. Blend the cottage cheese and four cloves of garlic in a food processor for three minutes or until smooth. Add egg and pulse until combined. Crumble in feta and pulse until incorporated. Pour the mixture into a bowl, then stir in the spinach and the mint or cilantro.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a roasting pan. Place three noodles in the bottom of pan, and top with 1/3 or 1/4 of zucchini mixture (depending on if you want to use 9 or 12 noodles total). Spread 1/3 or 1/4 of cheese mixture on top of that. Repeat until all noodles and ingredients are used. Top with shredded mozzarella.
5. Coat the shiny side of a sheet of aluminum foil with oil and place over the lasagna, oil side facing the lasagna. Bake 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 minutes more or until crusty and bubbly. Let cool for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving. You can freeze it after it has completely cooled, if desired.
6. To reheat, let lasagna sit at room temperature for one hour. Preheat oven to 350F. Bake 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly. (My note: I'm not sure if these reheating instructions are assuming reheating a frozen lasagna or reheating a lasagna that has been in the refrigerator. In either case, I didn't reheat my lasagna that way. What I did was just place my refrigerated (not frozen) lasagna on my counter while I preheated the oven. Once the oven was hot, I coverd the pan with new foil and placed it in the oven and let it heat until hot.)
Nutrition info per serving (assuming low-fat cheeses, which I admit I didn't use): 305 calories ; 21G protein; 8.5G total fat (3.5G Sat fat); 36G carb; 43mg chol; 676mg sod; 7G fiber; 8G sugars