Mushroom Spinach Lasagna

On Saturday I made a low calorie vegetarian lasagna, and it turned out very well – tasty and filling. I took the recipe from the Canadian Living 2005 Crockpot Cooking special issue, and I adapted it.

It has to be made in a larger oval crock. It uses 12 no-cook or oven-ready noodles; the noodles need to be snapped at the ends to fit in the pot. After making the sauces, it cooks in about 3 hours. Give yourself an hour and half to chop and process vegetables, grate cheeses, and to cook or mix the 2 sauces. It makes 8 servings. The recipe notes say it would be about 370 calories per serving. I added some cheese so lets say 400 grams per serving. It uses whole containers of ingredients which is convenient. No half cans of stuff sitting around, nothing wasted. There is a cold cheese sauce, a hot tomato mushroom sauce, and a topping.

The cold cheese sauce is made by mixing these ingredients in a bowl:

  • 1 500 gram tub of low fat cottage cheese (The recipe suggested 2% but 1% should work. However 1% isn’t that much lighter than 2%).
  • 1/4 cup (50-60 ml) grated parmesan cheese.
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup (125 t0 250 ml) grated mozzarella cheese.
  • 1 egg, beaten.
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (grated.
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (or more to taste).
  • (The recipe also says 1/4 teaspoon salt but I skipped the salt as I always do).
  • 1 package (10 oz or 300 grams) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained.

The hot tomato mushroom sauce is made with a large onion or a couple of medium onions, 5 or 6 cloves of garlic, a carrot, 4 cups of sliced mushrooms, some dried spices, and one 700 ml jar of any basic off-the-shelf pasta sauce. The onion should be chopped. The carrot should be finely diced. The garlic should be minced. The mushrooms should be washed and sliced. The next step involves a saucepan big enough to hold the vegetables and the sauce. Heat some vegetable oil in the saucepan and sauté the onion, garlic, carrots and mushrooms with dried spices over medium heat until the onions mushrooms cook down. They give up their water at first, and the water steams off. This should take 8-10 minutes.

The main spice is 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning. (Italian seasoning is a mixture of Marjoram, Thyme, Rosemary, Savory, Sage, Oregano, and Basil. I don’t know the proportions. If I didn’t have Italian seasoning on the shelf I would use 1/2 tsp Marjoram, 1/2 tsp Thyme, and 1/4 tsp each of Rosemary, Savory, Sage, Oregano, and Basil). The other spices are 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground, and a pinch of hot pepper flakes. The recipe said a pinch but I used a healthy pinch. more like a quarter teaspoon.

When the vegetables have cooked down, add the pasta sauce and 1 and 1/2 cups (375 ml) of water. Stir to mix, then heat until the mixture boils.
Fill the crockpot in layers, from the bottom up:

  • One cup of tomato sauce – fill the bottom of the pot.
  • Three noodles.
  • A layer of spinach-cheese mix – half of the bowl.
  • Three noodles.
  • A layer of tomato sauce – half of what’s left in the pan.
  • Three noodles.
  • A layer of spinach-cheese – the rest of the bowl.
  • One last layer of 3 noodles.
  • The rest of the tomato sauce on top.

Then sprinkle a cup or a cup and a half of grated mozzarella (the printed recipe also suggests provolone) cheese on top, cover, and cook for three hours on low. The cheese will melt but it won’t bake. You can tell it’s done if you can poke a knife or fork down into the noodles and they are nicely soft.


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