• September 21, 2014

Meatless meal idea

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Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013 4:30 am

L ent began Wednesday, which means Catholics like me are supposed to abstain from eating meat on Fridays until Easter arrives March 31.

Going vegetarian on Fridays is rather easy for me, as I have several recipes I enjoy, including the vegetarian lasagna below.

The thing I love about this recipe, besides its delicious taste, is that it cooks in a crockpot, which takes less time to prepare than a traditional lasagna.

Since vegetarian eating isn’t a real sacrifice for me, I observe Lent by giving up foods I love for 40 days. This year, I’ve given up ice cream, my go-to comfort food.

My goal this season is to find healthier ways to deal with stress than overeating dessert. That will be a real challenge. But hopefully, I’ll succeed and get back on track with better eating habits that stick with me long after Easter passes.

Vegetarian lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 15- to 16-ounce container part-skim ricotta
  • 1 5-ounce package baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 3 large or 4 small portobello mushroom caps, gills removed, thinly sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 15 whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 12 ounces), uncooked
  • 3 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella, divided

Directions

  1. Combine egg, ricotta, spinach, mushrooms and zucchini in a large bowl.
  2. Combine crushed and diced tomatoes and their juice, garlic and crushed red pepper (if using) in a medium bowl.
  3. Generously coat a 6-quart or larger slow cooker with cooking spray. Spread 1½ cups of the tomato mixture in the slow cooker. Arrange 5 noodles over the sauce, overlapping them slightly and breaking into pieces to cover as much of the sauce as possible. Spread half of the ricotta-vegetable mixture over the noodles and firmly pat down, then spoon on 1½ cups sauce and sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella. Repeat the layering one more time, starting with noodles. Top with a third layer of noodles. Evenly spread the remaining tomato sauce over the noodles. Set aside the remaining 1 cup mozzarella in the refrigerator.
  4. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on High for 2 hours or on Low for 4 hours. Turn off cooker, sprinkle the reserved mozzarella on the lasagna, cover and let stand for 10 minutes to melt cheese.

Makes: 8 servings

Nutrition per serving: 414 calories; 14 g fat ( 8 g sat , 4 g mono ); 63 mg cholesterol; 48 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 28 g protein; 7 g fiber; 641 mg sodium; 829 mg potassium.

— Adapted from Eating Well magazine

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