It’s National Lasagna Day so what better dish to write about than a delicious vegetable or chicken lasagna. It can be a low-fat dinner using chicken or a nice vegetarian meal using zucchini noodles and mushrooms in place of chicken. You’ll want to be sure to make enough as this always goes fast in our house.
White Chicken/Vegetable Lasagna
- 9 whole wheat lasagna noodles or thinly sliced zucchini
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 onion, minced
- 2 heaping teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 cups chicken broth or white wine
- 1-3/4 cups low fat milk or plain almond milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 4 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
- 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 cups cooked chicken, chopped or can use mushrooms if want to leave meat out altogether
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta
- 1 9-oz box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 1 12-oz box frozen mashed squash, thawed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13″ x 9″ baking dish with Pam or other non-stick spray.
Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. When done, rinse well with cold water and set aside. If using zucchini strips, cut into 1/8″ thick long strips, lightly salt, and let sit for 15 minutes. Lightly dab with paper towel to help get rid of excess moisture. On a grill or under broiler, cook zucchini strips for 1-2 minutes per side then place on paper towels to drain.
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic (and mushrooms if using them to replace chicken) then cook for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add flour and stir well, cooking for about 1 minute. Add chicken broth or white wine slowly, stirring constantly to avoid lumps forming. Add milk, salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, basil and oregano. Set cheese mixture aside.
Lay out remaining ingredients – mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, cooked chicken (if using), spinach (that has been squeezed to get out all liquid) and squash.
Begin assembling lasagna by putting a small amount of cheese sauce in the casserole dish and spreading to cover bottom. Place 3 lasagna noodles/zucchini strips on top of sauce forming the first layer. Place 1/2 of the remaining cheese sauce on top of noodles/zucchini strips, 1/2 of the chicken (ignore if omitting chicken) and then spread ricotta cheese on top. Layer 3 more noodles/zucchini strips. Spread remaining cheese sauce on top of noodles and top with chicken (if using), spinach and 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella cheese. Add last layer of pasta/zucchini strips and spread butternut squash over the top. Add remaining mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and allow cheese to brown, about 15 minutes. If cheese is still not browning, turn on the broiler and watch carefully until browned.
Tip: If you let the lasagna cool for about 10-15 minutes it will be easier to cut and serve.
Note: You can prepare ahead of time, up to the covering with foil then store in refrigerator until ready for dinner. You may need to cook it slightly longer since the casserole will be cold.
Wine Pairing: Choose a wine that will compliment the cheeses such as a Sauvignon Blanc or one that will suit the spinach and squash as well like a nice oaked Chardonnay or a Viognier.