Veggie, Gluten Free, Low GI Lasagna
1 package (tube) of polenta (I use the kind with quinoa in it, but any will do)
16-24 oz of pasta sauce (I recommend Francesco Rinaldi To Be Healthy Tomato & Basil)
1/2 cup of chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup chopped fresh kale (leaves only)
1/2 cup chopped fresh red or green swiss chard (leaves only)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
*1/4 cup pesto (See below for recipe, if you'd like to make your own and if you do, you can omit the leafy greens from above)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (omit for vegan)
1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray an 11 x 7 baking dish with non-stick spray. 2. Place spinach, kale, swiss chard and pesto in a food processor or blender and process or blend to a spreadable consistency. Drain excess liquid. 3. Cut polenta into 1/4 inch thick slices and layer on bottom of dish. 4. Spread 1/2 of the pesto veggie mixture over the polenta. Spread 1/2 of the pasta sauce over the pesto veggie mixture. Place a layer of mushrooms over the sauce. Sprinkle some cheese over the mushrroms. 5. Repeat layers without the cheese on top. 6. Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes. Turn oven to broil, sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and broil for about 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted.
NUTRITION BENEFITS: Polenta is a complex carbohydrate and is on the low end of the glycemic index and will break down slowly in the blood. It will be converted to Vitamin A (good for your eyes!)
Leafy Green Veggies: KALE in particular is a nutrition "powerhouse"! It's an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K. It also has a good amount of calcium! Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. Kale contains more calcium per calorie than milk (90 grams per serving) and is also better absorbed by the body than dairy. One serving of kale not only contains 5 percent of the recommended daily intake of fiber, but it also provides 2 grams of protein. A serving of kale contains 121 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 92.4 mg of omega-6 fatty acids.
All leafy greens are rich in vitamin K and have the most concentrated source of nutrition of any food. Swiss chard is an anti-oxidant containing vitamin C which helps to get rid of free radicals. If you want to be healthy, ADD LEAFY GREENS TO YOUR MEALS! Vitamin K is key in regulating blood clotting. They are all low calorie and low fat foods which help lower cholesterol, help you lose weight and boost immunity!
Pasta Sauce: Tomatoes are an incredible source of lycopene which acts as a sort of internal sunblock. It is great for the skin. If you are going to have a day in the sun, have some cooked (better than raw, believe it or not) tomatoes (tomato paste is best, or tomato sauce). The sauce I recommended has no trans or saturated fat, only 2.5g of total fat, low sugar (5g per serving) and fairly low sodium (330 mg per serving).
Mushrooms: Mushrooms are an excellent source of B vitamins. B vitamins are needed for metabolism and help prevent fatigue. And what does that mean? More energy!
You can add meat to this if you would like, but try ground turkey. It's got less fat and you'll never notice the difference!
*Pesto Recipe: Place in food processor (or blender if that's what you have):
1/4 cup chopped fresh spinach, 1/4 cup chopped fresh green swiss chard, 1/4 cup chopped fresh kale, 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, 1/2 cup vegan parmesan cheese, 4 cloves garlic, zest of about 1/4 - 1/2 of a lemon, juice from 1 lemon, 1/4 cup pine nuts, 1/4 cup sliced almonds, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 cup EVOO or grapeseed oil. Blend until smooth. * You can freeze some by scooping it into muffin tins (spray them first with non-stick spray). Once they are frozen, remove them and place them into a ziplock freezer bag and use as needed!