I never was a big fan of lasagna back in the day. Maybe that’s because I was terrified of the number of calories in just one slice. My husband, on the other hand, is obsessed! Unfortunately for him though he married a health nut that doesn’t make foods such as this. He loves it so much he would probably kiss you if you made him some. In fact, days before I delivered our son, Hutson my mother-in-law asked what we would like for her to make us to have in the fridge. To be honest, anything is better then trying to cook right after giving birth to a baby. Of course Chris shouted “LASAGNA” and his wish was granted.
This is a healthier and in my opinion yummier lasagna that you don’t have to feel bad about diving in for seconds – or at least I don’t.
The first thing you need to make is the “cheese” which I recommend you make ahead of time to ensure your not feeling overwhelmed trying to do everything all at once. I also recommend that you clean up as you go and get into a good habit of this. No one likes a messy cook.Lemon Almond Cheese Ingredients: 2 cups soaked almonds 1/4 tsp salt 6 tbsp water 4 tbsp olive oil 1 freshly squeezed lemon Directions: Place the almonds in a bowl, cover with water and soak for 24 hours Drain and rinse the almonds before removing their outer skin. Try pinching the almond and the almond skin will slip off Place the almonds into the food processor along with the remaining ingredients Process until a smooth texture like goat cheese. If too dry add more olive oil so it’s sticky and moist Can store in fridge for up to 5 days
The next thing to do is make the pasta sauce. I am aware the name is strange but there’s a little meaning behind it. As you may have experienced as well, people tend to come up with some odd nicknames for you in grade school and this was mine. I was either Loch Ness Monster or if I got a little agitated about something friends would say Don’t Mess with Ness. I honestly never thought of it again until just now but I felt it would be fun to incorporate it because this sauce has a serious KICK! Now that I think of it my childhood nicknames made me sound like a scary person… This pasta sauce is something I created in college and make very regularly to this day. If it is something you enjoy as well I recommend making batches of it and freezing them to use when needed.Don’t Mess with Ness Spicy Spaghetti Sauce Ingredients: 2 tbsp olive oil ½ large eggplant, diced or 1lb ground turkey 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 onion, diced 1 red pepper, diced 1 yellow pepper, diced 8-10 large tomatoes, diced 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, optional pinch red pepper flakes 1 tbsp dried or fresh oregano, minced 1 tbsp dried or fresh parsley, minced ½ tsp dried or fresh thyme, minced 1 cup fresh basil, torn in ½ or smaller pinch salt and pepper Directions: In a large pan over low to medium heat add your olive oil, garlic and onion. Stir frequently and let cook until the onions are soft and caramelized in colour. Stir in the peppers and let cook till almost soft. Add the eggplant or turkey and continue to constantly stir until the eggplant or turkey is almost done cooking. Pour in your tomatoes, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano, parsley, thyme and salt and pepper. Stir. Bring to a boil before reducing the heat to a low simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Once the tomatoes have broken down and all the ingredients are mixed together well remove from heat, add your basil, stir and ENJOY! While your pasta sauce is simmering I suggest you cook your spinach and cut or slice your zucchini noodles. Once you are 100% ready to start layering your lasagna go ahead and set the over to 350°F. Now, it’s time to build this baby!
Pour 1 cup or more if needed on the bottom of your dish
Layer your zucchini strips overlapping one another ever so slightly so the sauce doesn’t seep through. If there are gaps around the edge of the dish fill them with little pieces of zucchini
Separate your cheese into three portions. Apply your first portion evenly over your zucchini strips
Separate your spinach into two portions. Apply your first portion evenly over your lasagna dish
Add a thin layer of pasta sauce
Layer your zucchini strips again
Apply the second portion of cheese
Add your final thin layer of pasta sauce
Finish with your third and last portion of cheese covering the top of your lasagna
This may seem time consuming but once you taste this mouthwatering, healthy, vegetarian WHAT?, spicy dish of goodness you will no longer care! Plus, you now have lunches for the next two days which is kinda awesome!
Vegetarian Zucchini LasagnaIngredients: Lemon Almond Cheese Don’t Mess with Ness Spicy Spaghetti Sauce 5 to 8 zucchinis depending on size 4 cups spinach Directions: 1) Make your Lemon Almond Cheese 2) Start making your large pot of Don’t Mess with Ness Spicy Spaghetti Sauce 3) While your letting your spaghetti sauce simmering for 10 minutes, get your spinach cooking in a small pan on low. Keep a close eye on this and once they are completely cooked take off the heat to let cool so its easier to handle later. 4) Slice your zucchini strips, a mandolin slicer works best. I unfortunately don’t have a slicer so I cut each slice as evenly as possible but you’ll want to use a slicer if you can for more even cooking and better presentation. Slice or cut each noodle the same thickness as a lasagna noodle. Your not making these slices too thin or too thick so use a regular lasagna noodle as a reference if needed. 5) Now that your ready to start layering turn your over onto 350°F 6) Spread one cup or more if needed on the bottom of your lasagna dish. Layer your zucchini noodles, sprinkle 1/3 of your lemon almond cheese, evenly spread 1/2 of the spinach over the cheese and cover with a thin layer of spicy spaghetti sauce. Zucchini noodles again, second layer of cheese, the rest of your cooked spinach, thin layer of tomato sauce and the remainder of your cheese can now be spread overtop. 7) Place in the oven for 40-45 minutes. Check on your lasagna after 35 minutes to ensure your cheese is browning nicely and not burning. If your unsure if it’s cook just carefully poke the lasagna noodle to make sure they are soft. Remove from oven, cut very carefully and serve! * There may be liquid in the dish but its just because zucchini contains a large quantity of water but not to worry!