Is there anything better on a nippy evening than a pan of cheesey, gooey homemade lasagna bubbling away in the oven? For many of us heart attack survivors, however, lasagna may now seem but a dim memory of past high-fat, high-carb, low-fibre dinners.
But thanks to Bonnie Stern and her wonderful cookbook, HeartSmart™ Cooking For Family and Friends, even those wanting a heart-healthy version of this family favourite can rejoice, especially when fresh veggies are so plentiful in our markets. I’ve made some minor changes here and there to suit our own family’s preferences, but I think you’ll be amazed at how deceptively healthy – and easy – this casserole-style vegetarian version is. You can make this up to two days ahead of time and refrigerate, or a few weeks ahead and freeze it. And if you have any leftovers (you won’t!) – you can follow the frittata recipe at the end to create one more hearty meal.
Bonnie Stern’s Crazy Lasagna
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and then put a large pasta pot filled with water on the stove to boil. On two baking sheets lined with parchment paper, arrange a layer of:
2 lbs plum tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 large eggplant, chopped into 1/2″ cubes
2 smallish zuchini, sliced
1/2 lb. mushrooms, trimmed and cut into chunks
2 sweet red peppers, cut into chunks
1 large onion, cut into chunks
Drizzle with about 2 tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle with ground pepper. Then cut the top quarter off two heads of garlic and wrap garlic in foil. Place on baking sheet with veggie chunks.
Roast veggies in a preheated 400 degree oven x 45 minutes or until brown. Remove from oven and lower heat to 350.
Meanwhile, cook 3/4 lb whole wheat lasagna noodles, broken into pieces, in boiling water until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water.
In a large bowl, combine cooked lasagna noodles with roasted veggies. Squeeze in baked garlic. Add:
2 c. pureed tomatoes or tomato sauce, no salt added
1 c. light ricotta cheese
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil (or parsley if you don’t have basil – but basil is definitely better)
1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano (or 1/2 tsp. if using dried)
1/2 lb. low-fat part-skim mozzarella cheese, chopped into small chunks
Taste and adjust seasonings.
Transfer mixture to a 13″ x 9″ lasagna pan and sprinkle with 2 tbsp parmesan cheese. Cover and bake x 30 minutes in 350 degree oven. Uncover and cook for 20-30 minutes longer or until lightly browned. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Enjoy alongside a fresh green salad and – of course – a heart-smart glass of wine.
As for those leftovers: a frittata is a great way to use up all kinds of leftovers. Just combine:
- eggs (I use 4 whole eggs and 4 egg whites)
- 2-3 c. leftover lasagna or any other pasta/veggie dish
- 1 c. low-fat part-skim mozzarella cheese, chopped into small chunks
Pour mixture into a greased baking dish and bake at 350 degrees x 30-50 minutes or just until set.
Find out more about Bonnie Stern and her HeartSmart™ cookbooks.
Want more heart-smart hits? Check out my favourite heart-healthy recipes for:
Q: Have you tried this recipe yet?