To Lend a Helping Hand

As my friend was in a packing frenzy in anticipation of next week's move, I offered to take dinner off her to-do list by bringing dinner to her. Not a grand gesture by any means, but it's the most intimate and pragmatic way I know how to show people I care about them. Truthfully, food can say so much more than the best card you can find at Hallmark.

Wanting to bring something homey and comforting, I immediately thought of lasagna. There's something calming about layering my favorite ingredients and finding melty mozzarella laced with marinara oozing from each layer. But being a dietitian, I have a (robust) tendency to tweak recipes to give them a nutritious reincarnation.

This dish isn't big on looks, but it's mighty big on taste (as confirmed by my "taste panel")! Because it's pasta-less, Lasag-touille is suitable for those who have to watch their carb intake or follow the Consistent Carbohydrate Diet (CCD) to manage diabetes. And might I add it's a terrific way to use up leftover veggies in the bottom of your crisper drawer.

3 medium zucchinis, cut into 1/4" rounds
2 medium Japanese eggplants, cut into 1/4" rounds
1 large onion, diced
1 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced 
1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed 
1 bunch of fresh spinach (but I'd recommend using frozen spinach that have been thawed and squeezed dried of water)
1 jar low sodium marinara sauce
12 oz. shredded mozarella cheese 
A good chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano, grated 
2 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 cup white wine (optional)... leftover Chardonnay in my case

  • Preheat oven to 400 F. 
  • With oil in pan, saute onions over medium heat until caramelized. Patience is a virtual here. Hit with a splash of white wine when onions are about done. 
  • Saute mushrooms in the same manner as the onion. 
  • Spray casserole dish with EVOO. Spread thin layer of marinara and layer zucchini medallions. 
  • Sprinkle 1/2 of the sauteed onion, no need to cover entire layer. 
  • Sprinkle a small handful of mozzarella
  • Layer eggplant medallions.
  • Layer mushrooms.
  • Layer cannelini beans
  • Spread thin layer of marinara
  • Sprinkle a small handful of mozzarella
  • Layer spinach (fresh spinach has a lot of moisture... hence the collapse of the lasagna when served).
  • Sprinkle remainder of sauteed onion
  • Layer zucchini
  • Spread thin layer of marinara
  • Top with mozzarella and grated parm
  • Bake on center rack for 40-45 minutes until top is golden with brown edges.
  • Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving (this baby is scorching hot!). 

Wish you all the best in your new niche, Alicia! I hope you'll meet many more who will be delighted to cook for you.


Delwin said...

This looks delicious. Need to recreate

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