Best healthier lasagna recipe | Diabetic friendly cooking with whole wheat pasta
Here is a recipe for one of my favorite dishes - lasagna! I know I'm not alone when I consider it one of my favorite dishes. Lasagna is a very popular dish. It consists of baked pasta, ground meat, cheese and tomato sauce. Not only is it popular among families who cook it but lasagna is often served in restaurants as well. Preparing the perfect lasagna can be considered a culinary art. A bit time consuming to prepare, many people might not want to cook it for themselves and would prefer ordering the lasagna in a restaurant but I enjoy cooking it. With this recipe, I hope you will too.
A homemade dish
There are many different types of lasagna recipes available. Since it is already a very rich dish, I try to incorporate healthier options.
I almost always make lasagna with whole wheat and/or whole grain pasta not white pasta. One of the typical ingredients for preparing lasagna is ricotta cheese. Some healthier choice recipes will call for using cottage cheese in lieu of ricotta cheese.
I still stick with ricotta cheese which is an italian variety of the cottage cheese, but I use the part skim variety.
Ground meat for lasagna recipe
So many varieties of lasagna recipes to choose from: making the dish your own
The first time I attempted to prepare my own lasagna, I was lucky to spot a recipe on the very first ingredient I picked up in the supermarket. It was the ribbon like lasagna pasta and the box boasted two types of recipes, "Quick and Easy Lasagna" or "Old fashioned Lasagna". It turns out that many different brands of the pasta for lasagna feature a lasagna recipe right on the box. Such a recipe is a good starting point and guide to help with preparing this dish. The more frequently you make it, the more comfortable you will become with changing things around and replacing and/or adding some ingredients to make the dish more your own.
Cooking on a budget
With the lasagna dish as I prepare it with these photo illustrations, 16 people can be served! Talk about a money saving, delicious dish to prepare! This is best for a large family gathering or if you have friends over for a party.
Optionally, you can wrap leftovers in foil or plastic with an airtight seal, refrigerate and have leftovers for days. I haven't frozen and defrosted such a lasagna yet but am confident that it can freeze well also. (The recipe can also be halved if serving a smaller crowd)
- organic basil and tomato pasta sauce
- boxed lasagna pasta (whole wheat or semolina)
- raw eggs
- ricotta cheese
- mozzarella cheese
- various spices including garlic, parsley and optional salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil
- optional hot pepper sauce
- ground beef
- Start with 2 lb of ground beef. (The type of meat is of your choosing and ground turkey is another, even healthier alternative to ground beef) Cook the meat in a large skillet, adding sauce and spices after the meat has already been browned well over medium heat. I love spicy food and I add hot pepper even to lasagna, making a spicy lasagna that is not typical. Here are the recommended additions to the meat: •a full generous container of organic tomato and basil pasta sauce (approx. 26 oz), a brand of your choosing •2 tablespoons of hot pepper sauce •3 tbspn garlic
After you add the spices and sauce to the meat, allow it to simmer on low heat for at least ten minutes on the stovetop, then it will continue to cook when you later bake it in the oven.
2. Meanwhile, you can turn attention the the other ingredients that will be needed for the whole wheat lasagna. Take a large container (approx. 16 oz) of ricotta cheese and empty it into a bowl. You will also be mixing the cheese with spice for a lasagna that is far from bland. Sprinkle the ricotta cheese generously with parsley flakes and mix.
3. Break 3 eggs directly into the center of the bowl and fold into the ricotta cheese. Mix well.
4. Next, take a cutting board and cut 16oz of fresh part skim mozzarrella cheese into small cubes, as shown in the photo.
5. Set the two types of italian cheese (ricotta and mozzarella) aside for just a couple of minutes while you boil 2 boxes of lasagna pasta almost according to the directions on the boxes. Give it a few less minutes because it will also continue cooking while baked in the oven. Some of the "quick" lasagna recipes will say that you can place the pasta in the oven without boiling. I prefer the "old fashioned" way of boiling it for a few minutes first.
6. Once the pasta has boiled for at least 5-6 minutes, drain it well.
7. Use foil to line a large baking pan which can take the weight of all the ingredients.
8. Grease the foil with olive oil.
9. Use tongs to carefully lift the strips of pasta and line them side by side in the baking pan. Avoid tearing them.
Now for the Layers
10. On top of that 1st layer of pasta, spread some of the ricotta cheese mixture evenly until the pasta is fully covered.
11. Follow with adding some of the small mozzarella cheese cubes on top of the ricotta mixture.
12. By now, you can turn off the heat under the meat and begin scooping a layer of meat on top of the mozzarella
13. Repeat the layers of pasta, then ricotta cheese mixture, then mozzarella, then meat sauce until all ingredients are used up. You should be able to make 2-3 full layers.
The final, top layer should be a layer of pasta. Cooking the two boxes might allow you to set aside any strips of pasta that become very torn or crumbled and not use them for the dish.
14. Bake the lasagna at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 40 minutes.
Cool slightly, serve and enjoy.
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What's your favorite Italian dish?
Below are a couple of YouTube videos discussing other terrific versions of lasagna recipes. I agree with what is stated in the first video regarding the chef trying to make lasagna the quick way, with raw lasagna noodles placed straight in the oven without boiling first. He did not like that method when he tried it and neither did I when I tried it.