This vegetarian lasagna uses meaty eggplants and mushrooms for a 'meat' sauce and swaps Greek yogurt for some of the cheese.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by #PastaFits through my participation in the Healthy Aperture Network, which is awesome, because I love pasta. Thanks for supporting the brands that make this blog possible!
One thing I love about teaching people how to cook is showing them how to makeover their favorite comfort foods in a more nutritious and equally tasty way. Eating healthy doesn't feel restrictive when you're enjoying all your favorites on the reg.
Now, don't get me wrong. As all my long term readers know, restriction is the last thing I advocate for. And there's absolutely nothing wrong or 'bad' about eating rich foods. I am all about the occasional mindful indulgence! Still, when you know how to prepare those traditionally not so nutritious foods in a more nutritious way, it's a game changer.
That said, there are a few foods I've always had a hard time messing with. Classic mac and cheese for one. Goodness knows I love my recipe for dairy free mac and cheese, but it's not the same as my famous pimento mac and cheese. If I'm in the mood for a rich, creamy, nourishing bowl of goodness, I'll whip up my dairy free mac and cheese in a snap. But on Thanksgiving, you better believe I'm making my mac with ALL the cheese.
Lasagna is another classic dish I was always scared to mess with. Are you sensing a cheese and pasta theme here? It wasn't until I made this recipe for the worlds greatest vegetarian lasagna (which is, in fact, appropriately named) that I realized it could be done.
Since then, I've had all sorts of fun playing with different takes on lasagna. I've made a vegan lasagna with cashew cheese sauce that I was even brave enough to bring to supper club (where it was happily devoured!). I've made this fall appropriate kale and butternut squash lasagna. Most recently, I came up with this vegetarian lasagna using a Greek yogurt in lieu of ricotta and a hearty eggplant and mushroom "meat" sauce. The new worlds greatest? I'll let you be the judge.
I want to circle back to the whole 'forbidden foods' thing. I frequently hear people refer to favorite foods as 'bad'. Besides the fact that I don't agree with moralizing food choices, often times, foods one might think of as 'bad' is actually quite nutritious.
Pasta is just one of those examples. It's a great source of energy sustaining complex carbohydrates and actually has a low glycemic index. This recipe uses 100% whole wheat pasta noodles, which are rich in fiber, protein, magnesium, iron and phosphorus. Most importantly, it tastes great! I find whole grain pasta is one of the easiest whole grains for people to adapt to as they switch over from refined grains.
Vegetarian Lasagna with Eggplant & Mushroom 'Meat' Sauce
- 1 lb 100% whole wheat lasagna noodles
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large eggplant, diced small
- 8 ounces cremini mushroms, diced small
- 1 25-ounce jar tomato sauce of choice
- 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 8 ounce ball fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add lasagna noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside until ready to use.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add eggplant, season with salt and pepper and saute about 5 minutes until softened. Add mushrooms and cook until vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes. Pour in all but 3/4 cup tomato sauce and simmer 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix yogurt, egg and Italian seasoning in a bowl and set aside until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large casserole dish with olive oil. Spread 1/4 cup reserved tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish. Spread a layer of lasagna noodles evenly on the bottom. Top with half the vegetable 'meat' sauce. Spread another layer of noodles over the sauce. Top with all of the yogurt sauce. Layer with more noodles and the other half of the tomato sauce. Top with another layer of noodles and half a cup of reserved tomato sauce. Top with mozzarella slices and parmesan cheese.
- Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake 30 more minutes until bubbly. Set aside to cool before slicing and serving.
More dishes that prove #PastaFits: