Healthier Meat Lasagna

Everyone, meet my new favorite meat lasagna – Healthier Meat Lasagna from the November 2007 issue of Everyday Food. I say “meat lasagna” because Chicken Lasagna Alfredo is still very dear to my heart… In my book, though, comparing a meat lasagna with tomato sauce to a chicken lasagna with cream sauce is like comparing apples and oranges. This one is truly delicious, and you’d honestly never know it was a light recipe.

I started by prepping my vegetables for the sauce. I peeled a 1-pound eggplant and cut it into 1/2-inch pieces; I chopped an onion as well. I put the veggies in a bowl together, added 2 minced garlic cloves, and set the mixture aside. Next, I broke 6 whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 4 ounces) in half, put them in an 8 x 8-inch baking dish, covered them with hot tap water, and set them aside.

In my Dutch oven, I heated 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. I added the prepped eggplant, onion, and garlic and seasoned the mixture with salt and pepper. I covered the mixture and cooked it, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant was very tender (8 minutes). I added 1/2 pound of ground sirloin and cooked it, breaking it up with a spoon, until it was no longer pink (4 minutes). I added 1 can (10.75 ounces) of tomato puree and cooked until the sauce had thickened (4 minutes).

While the meat sauce was cooking, I combined 1 pint (2 cups) of 1% cottage cheese with 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese and seasoned the mixture with salt and pepper. I also removed the lasagna noodles from the baking dish, discarded the water, and wiped the baking dish dry.

When the meat sauce was finished, I seasoned again with salt and pepper. I spread 1/4 cup of the meat sauce on the bottom of my baking dish and topped it with 4 noodle halves. I layered the noodles with 1/3 of the cheese mixture followed by 1/3 of the meat sauce; I made 2 more noodle-cheese-meat layers with the remaining ingredients. I sprinkled the top of the lasagna with 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese and 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese to finish it off, and I baked it at 375F until it was bubbling and golden (30 minutes). After 15 minutes of stand time, I cut it into 6 pieces to serve.

Healthier Meat Lasagna

So, so delicious! I don’t know if it’s the eggplant in the sauce or what, but this one is special. Plus, one piece of this lasagna is seriously the nutritional equivalent of eating a Lean Cuisine, but it’s fresh and tastes about 1 million times better. I’ve made this twice in the past two weeks… I can’t get enough!

TIPS: The recipe says to let the lasagna stand for 10 minutes before serving. I went with 10 minutes the first time I made it and it was still a bit wet. Upping the stand time to 15 minutes produced great results.

Prep on this one takes about 40 minutes, so it’s probably best as a weekend meal. I haven’t tried prepping it the night before yet, but I think it would work fine. You might just have to add 10 or so minutes to the baking time.

Recipe link: Healthier Meat Lasagna

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