My family and I are lasagna monsters—we consume layers of pasta in ridiculous amounts. Between the four of us, we could probably wipe out a tray in one sitting! It’s so delicious but it’s also easy to rack up the calories with all the cheeses, pasta and sauce that’s in it.
Since we like eating lasagna, I made a healthier version. Not a vegetarian lasagna but definitely more forgiving than the naughty lasagna recipe I make which includes copious amount of different cheeses and creamy bechamel sauce topping—I know. The secret is making a few (only three layers for this recipe) and “healthy” layers (using the beef and veggies sauce, mushrooms and low-fat cottage cheese) and top it with some of the naughty (aka sharp cheddar cheese and ricotta cheese) ingredients.
Beef & Veggies Lasagna
1 boxes of instant lasagna noodles (you can use the regular lasagna as long as you follow the cooking instructions in the package before you layer the pasta)
2 big jars of tomato sauce (I didn’t have time to make tomato sauce but if you can, best to use homemade tomato sauce)
500 grams lean sirloin ground beef
1 large carrots, shredded or finely chopped
1 large head of broccoli, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 packs of brown mushrooms, sliced
2-3 containers of cottage cheese (I only used 2 containers for this recipe, approximately 400 grams)
1 container of ricotta cheese (approximately 200 grams)
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar (as topping)
1/2 cup shredded mozarella cheese (as topping)
1 cup bread crumbs, seasoned
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
salt & pepper to taste
Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Step 2: Chop all the greens into small pieces. Depends on how much your family (children especially) loves or hates vegetables determines how you chop the veggies, haha!
I shredded the carrots because it’s easy.
Step 3: In a Dutch over or wok or any deep pan, sauté the ground beef and chopped onions.
Step 4: Add the tomato sauce. Bring the sauce into a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes to incorporate all the flavors. Season with salt, pepper and sugar.
Step 5: Once the sauce has simmered down, add all the bell peppers, carrots and broccoli. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Step 6: In a separate pan, cook the mushrooms and add garlic powder and stir. No need for salt and pepper. Set aside.
Cooking the mushrooms separately adds an extra layer of flavor to the lasagna.
Step 7: Build your lasagna!
• Spread 1 cup of the beef and veggies sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish.
• Arrange the noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Add the sauce then the mushroom and spread the ricotta cheese.
Step 8: Repeat layers
Step 9: Top with the remaining cottage cheese, ricotta cheese and add the shredded sharp cheddar and mozarella.
Step 10: Sprinkle some bread crumbs on top and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil
Take a moment and marvel at your creation.
The bread crumbs toppings adds that crunchy texture to the lasagna. I have to credit my husband Tom for this brilliant idea.
Step 11: Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
Step 12: Serve with a smile! 🙂
This version is healthier and tastes even better the day after. It’s a great make-ahead meal that the whole family will enjoy.
Try it and let me know how you like it!