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Monday, July 30, 2012

New Spin on Veggie Lasagna (What's Cookin' - Part Five)

Here is the finished product from tonight's dinner. I got the recipe from Vegetarian Times and it's mighty tasty.

Full disclosure: I'm not sold on calling this lasagna. Nevertheless, it's a great layered dish FULL of flavor, texture, nutrition and color. Best of all, it's fantastically filling and still low in calories. And I am already counting the minutes till Lunch Leftovers tomorrow.

And if you want more of the pasta flavor that lasagna noodles gives, I would just try decreasing the amount of zucchini and add the noodles.

Serves 6

The winner for me in this dish was using high-protein quinoa instead of a meat filling. It gave it good density and just absorbed all the flavors of the sauce and vegetables.

2 large zucchini, cut lengthwise into 12 ¼-inch-thick slices
1 tsp. salt
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
½ cup tomato sauce
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp. dried oregano
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
2 Tbs. cream cheese (non-dairy options such as Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese works, apparently)
1 25-oz. jar marinara sauce* (see my notes below in Directions)
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (can use non-dairy options here too, such as Daiya Mozzarella)

I made my dish tonight with the roasted tomato sauce that I used this weekend. I used 7 Roma tomatoes, added a can of tomato paste and a cup of water to make it thinner. I think it made the dish even better -- perhaps that was due to the 5 cloves of garlic I roasted with the tomatoes?!

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place zucchini slices on bed of paper towels. Sprinkle with salt, cover with paper towels, and let stand to release moisture while preparing quinoa.

2. Bring broth, quinoa, tomato sauce, onion, and oregano to a boil in saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 25 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, and stir in basil, parsley, and cream cheese, if using.

3. Spoon 1/3 cup marinara sauce over bottom of 8-inch square baking dish. Blot remaining moisture and salt from zucchini slices, and lay 4 zucchini slices over marinara sauce in pan. Spoon half of quinoa over zucchini, and cover with 1/3 cup marinara. Repeat with 4 more zucchini slices, remaining quinoa, and 1/3 cup marinara. Top with remaining 4 zucchini slices, remaining marinara, and shredded cheese, if using. Bake lasagna 30 minutes, or until zucchini is tender and top is bubbly.

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