Lightening up Lasagna: White Spinach Mushroom Lasagna
As you probably already know, I love a good casserole. And I love lasagna - so when I was craving a white spinach mushroom lasagna the other day, I searched through Feastie to see if there were any good recipes. And of course there were - quite a few! But I had something really specific in mind, so I decided to wing it on my own and see what happened. I knew I wanted to lighten up the white sauce - because the Béchamel is key in the white lasagna, and getting it just right is not an easy task if you're not using a traditional recipe (i.e. lots of butter, flour, and whole milk). So I winged it - in other words, I had a backup dinner in the freezer. But it worked - it was delicious! And I'll toot my own horn for a minute here and declare this lasagna a success. The lasagna was awesome - you'd have no idea it's light(er)! I could lighten it up even more (I include suggestions below), so the next time I make it I may try it with some lower fat dairy. Yes - the next time I make it - because it's good enough to make again!
Like I said, I was winging it here - but feel free to add whatever veggies you like - some shredded carrots would be good in here, possibly some broccoli.
Lighter White Spinach Mushroom Lasagna
- 12 oz lasagna noodles
- 2 oz finely shredded Parmesan, divided
- 4 oz shredded part skim mozzarella
- 16 oz frozen chopped spinach thawed, drained, and squeezed of excess moisture
- 8 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and roughly sliced
- 10 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
- 2 tsp finely chopped shallots
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 15 oz part skim ricotta
- 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp unsalted butter
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 3 cups 2 % milk
- 5 Tbsp all purpose flour
- ground nutmeg
- freshly ground black (or white) pepper
- Boil the noodles according to the instructions on the package - cook to al dente. Plunge the noodles into ice water to stop them from cooking, then drain well in a colander and spread on a towel to absorb excess moisture.
- Melt olive oil and 1 tsp butter in a skillet over medium heat. Sautee shallots and mushrooms, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste, until the mushrooms are soft and all moisture has been released and evaporated. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a medium bowl mix the ricotta, egg, spinach, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and half of the shredded Parmesan until combined. Set aside.
- Warm the milk in the microwave (don't scald it, just warm it up a bit). In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, melt 1 Tbsp butter; add flour and cook for about 1 minute, until mixture becomes golden (it'll look like clumpy flour, just keep whisking). Increase the heat to medium and gradually add the milk, whisking constantly to prevent clumping. Whisk over medium heat until mixture thickens and begins to boil, about 10-15 minutes. The mixture will thicken considerably and turn glossy - you want it nice and thick. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining grated Parmesan, a dash of ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Your sauce should be nice and thick and shiny.
- Preheat oven to 375. In a 9x13 baking dish, spread some of the Parmesan sauce in the bottom and layer noodles to cover the surface with a slight overlap. Add the mushrooms, and moisten them slightly with a drizzle of Parmesan sauce. Add another layer of noodles. Spoon the ricotta mixture on top, and spread evenly to cover the noodles. Add another layer of noodles and pour the rest of the Parmesan sauce on top, making sure to cover the whole surface. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella on top and cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake, covered, at 375 for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes, until cheese is golden and bubbling. Remove from oven and let rest 15 minutes before serving.
Nutritional info: Calories: 428; Fat: 16.5g; Cholesterol: 66.2mg; Sodium: 500.4mg; Carbohydrates: 46.2g; Fiber: 3.2g; Protein: 23.4g; Sugars: 8.7g
If you'd like to cut the fat a bit more, you can try the following:
- use nonfat ricotta instead of part-skim
- use nonfat cottage cheese (whirl it in the food processor) in place of ricotta
- use only 3 oz mozzarella
- use 1% milk in the Parmesan sauce