Healthy Vegetable Lasagna with Butternut Bechamel
Butternut Bechamel sauce:
3 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (2 lbs)
1 cup vegetable broth, divided
1 cup whole milk
4 tsp freshly minced garlic (4 cloves)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ cup Gruyere cheese, shredded (2 ounces)
½ cups fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes (2 ounces)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
5 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced, (1 pound)
1 tbsp vegetable broth
5 cups Swiss chard, leaves thinly sliced, stems chopped and kept separate (1 bunch)
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped*
6 lasagna noodles, cooked
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes (4 ounces)
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375°.
Combine squash, 1 cup broth, milk and garlic in a medium saucepan, heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
Place squash mixture in a blender. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg and blend until smooth. Add Gruyere cheese and 2 ounces of mozzarella. Blend until cheese is well incorporated. Pour into a bowl.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add oil. Add onion, mushroom and chopped Swiss chard stems. Turn heat up to medium-high and cook until browned and liquid evaporates (7-10 minutes).
Add chard and 1 tbsp vegetable broth. Cover and cook 2-3 minutes or until chard wilts. Place vegetable mixture into a cheesecloth-lined colander and allow to drain for 10 minutes. Place mixture into a bowl and toss in pine nuts.
Mix ricotta and egg until well incorporated.
Coat 11 x 7-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Spread ½ cup bechamel sauce on the bottom of the pan. Lay two lasagna noodles on top of the sauce.
Spread ¾ cup sauce on top of lasagna noodles. Top with ½ of the vegetable mixture (about ¾ cup),
½ cup ricotta and ⅓ cup mozzarella cubes. Top with 2 lasagna noodles.
Repeat the above step for the second layer.
Put remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese on top of the lasagna. Spray aluminum foil with cooking spray and lay over top of the pan.
Cook, covered, for 25 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, until lasagna is bubbly and internal temperature is 160°. Put lasagna under the broiler to further brown top, if desired.
Allow lasagna to rest a minimum of 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
*Roast pine nuts in saute pan in a single layer until lightly browned.
6 servings, 480 calories per serving
Hack: Place individual portions of cut, cooled lasagna into individual containers (or one container, separating portions with parchment paper) and store in the freezer for a quick grab-and-go lunch!
Hack #2: Fresh peeled and cubed butternut squash can be purchased in the produce department of the grocery store. Frozen butternut squash can also be used.
Hack #3: Pine nuts can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 months or in the freezer for 6 months.
Hack #4: Make a double recipe of Bechamel sauce. Freeze extra portion in 1 cup portions to serve over pasta or vegetables! If the sauce separates after thawing, give it a whirl in the blender before heating.
Hack #5: Bechamel sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Cover surface with plastic wrap to avoid forming a skin.