It’s National Potato Day!
Funnily enough when I was planning this meal I had no idea that today was going to be P-Day. I did know that I had CSA vegetables to use up, but I love that it worked out this way. See – I’m contributing to something larger, the decriminalization of potatoes as an unhealthy food (in reasonable portions of course; have you noticed that basically anything can be “bad” for you when eaten in improper portion sizes ex: nuts, milk, eggs, cheese, corn, watermelons, bananas, etc)
When I make lasagna I always use half cottage cheese and half ricotta. Why? I could give you a reason about how the creaminess of the cottage cheese balances out the firmness of ricotta but honestly, I don’t have a scientific answer, I just think it tastes better that way. Feel free to use all of one or the other if you want (especially if it’s all you have on hand – don’t run out to the store or make a special trip).
I actually even made the pasta sauce for this meal Wednesday morning simply because I got two pounds of tomatoes in my CSA and had to use them up. Here’s the tomato sauce recipe if you’re interested, although this time I used the full 16 oz of tomato sauce, skipped the cream, skipped the chicken stock, reduced the crushed red pepper (since there was no cream to calm it down), simmered it partly covered, and added in some fresh basil towards the end (also because it was in my CSA).
Err…so reading that above I guess I made a totally different recipe. But hey, I was just winging it and it ended up super tasty. But you get the idea, think of that recipe as a guideline to making a veggie heavy tomato sauce and customize to your liking.
Although if you don’t have/don’t want to make your own sauce feel free to just sub in a jar of premade, just make sure you use a healthy one with minimal calories and no more than 2g of fat per serving (which is probably what I would have done if I hadn’t needed to use the tomatoes I received in my box).
- 1 lb eggplant
- 1 potato, you want one that's about 3/4 a lb
- 1 yellow squash, thinly sliced - optional, I threw it in because I needed to use it
- 10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (as dry as you can get it, you don't want your lasagna to end up watery) or use 10 oz of fresh spinach and wilt it down
- 4 oz fat free cottage cheese
- 4 oz fat free ricotta
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp shredded parmesean
- 4 oz grated (about a cup) fontina or mozzarella
- 1 - 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Crushed Red Pepper, optional
- 16 oz pasta sauce (if you use store bought, spice it up a bit with some basil, oregano, crushed red pepper or italian seasoning)
- Another note on store bought pasta sauce. If I were using it, I'd probably sauté some onion and garlic with a bit of olive oil and throw that in the lasagna. I didn't do it this time because my homemade tomato sauce is loaded with vegetables (onion, garlic, green pepper, carrots, celery, and mushrooms).
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Cut eggplant in half and sprinkle with kosher salt. Let sit for about 15 minutes, then rinse and thinly slice (I used my mandolin). If using yellow squash, also thinly slice that.
- Place potato in oven, directly on the rack is fine. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and lay out the slices of eggplant and squash. Spray the tops of the eggplant and squash with more nonstick spray and sprinkle with 1 - 2 tsp Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper if you want a bit more kick.
- Bake in oven for 8 - 10 minutes or until the eggplant has softened and slightly browned. If you have thicker slices you may need to bake longer but my slices were really thin from using the mandolin.
- Remove potato from oven and place in fridge. Remove sheet pan and let cool on top of the stove.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350.
- Combine cottage cheese, ricotta, egg, and parmesean in a bowl. Mix in spinach.
- At this point, the potato should be cool enough to handle. Cut potato in half and thinly slice (you want the potato somewhat softened but not so done that the potato has become mushy). I also used my mandolin here to get really thin slices.
- Spread 1/4 cup of pasta sauce on bottom of pan. Place a layer of potato slices. Add a layer of eggplant, and then a layer of squash. Top with half of the cottage cheese/ricotta mixture, then 1/4 cup more of sauce.
- Add another layer of potatoes, eggplant, squash, cheese, sauce, and then end it with a final layer of potatoes. Spread the last 1/4 cup of sauce on top and cover with the cup of grated cheese.
- Note - if you have a bit of potato left over it's not a big deal, I would use all of the eggplant and squash though.
- Cover lasagna with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil cover and bake from another 15 minutes until cheese is melted and lasagna is bubbly.
- Cut into 4 servings and serve with a side salad if you want.
Nutritional info is for 4 big servings. If you wanted to make 6 servings out of it, increase the size of the side salad or add another side and the nutritional info would drop to approximately 228 calories and 7.7g of fat.
Although this lasagna doesn’t “stand up” as well as one with noodles, I loved the fact that it was basically all vegetables with a bit of cheese thrown in (well maybe more than a bit but I’m not including the ricotta and cottage so there).
I served a small Caesar side salad, without the cheese (since I figured we were getting enough from the lasagna), just to round it out.
These portions are big, really big, considering you’re getting a 4 x 4 inch piece. The lasagna filled my baking dish from top to bottom, allaying my initial concern that it wouldn’t. Honestly, you could probably stretch this recipe and make six servings out of it by just increasing the size of the side salad, it’s up to you.
So Happy National Potato Day! If you’d like to try something a little different I encourage you to give this recipe a shot. If you don’t like squash or eggplant you could easily sub in whatever vegetables you do like (peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, be creative).
And remember, if you do use a premade sauce I highly encourage the addition of some sautéed onions and garlic, and mushrooms, and maybe peppers…
Alright at the very least the garlic and onions (yay for flavor) everything else is optional. Unless you hate garlic and/or onions, in which case I guess those are optional too.