Welcome to 2018, a time for new beginnings… and a time to contemplate whether or not you want to go through with that “eat healthier” resolution. The goal sounds completely feasible, but once the clock strikes midnight on Jan. 1 and you have to make good on your word, all the wrong choices seem to call your name. Been there, friends.
Whether it’s cutting back on sweets or parting ways with bread (perish the thought), the challenge is never simple. I’ve personally been warned on numerous occasions that I should consider swapping out a pasta or gnocchi dinner for some grilled chicken, but carbs are the way to my heart—especially when it comes to lasagna.
Chefs, food bloggers, and adventurous spirits in the kitchen have toyed with the idea of forgoing noodles in their lasagna dishes. LASAGNA! The sandwiching of sauce and cheese between delicious noodles is the whole point. I’ll admit, I thought that the idea sounded a little bizarre—and I’m sure my ancestors are shaking their heads at this suggestion—but after contemplating it a bit further, the whole idea doesn’t sound so terrible after all. In fact, it actually sounds pretty inviting.
“The beauty of lasagna is that it contains rich layers, each offering an opportunity to surprise one’s palate,” Ingrid Beer of The Cozy Apron tells Chowhound. “Traditional lasagna uses noodles to separate those layers, but there’s no reason why tender slices of grilled or roasted vegetables can’t be used instead. They not only add nutritive value, but additional flavor and texture—and that can only enhance a dish like lasagna.”
I do enjoy greens almost as much as I love my pasta (keyword here being “almost”), so I suppose I’ve learned my lesson. I won’t dismiss a noodleless lasagna dish before giving it a try, and you shouldn’t, either. If you’re looking to switch up a classic and keep that New Year’s resolution, here are some new takes on the meal we all know and love.
Zucchini is certainly having a moment. The trendy veggie makes for the perfect substitute when you aren’t too keen on using lasagna sheets. But this isn’t the recipe’s only enticing feature. Once you top off your cottage cheese-Parmesan mix with sauce, it also calls for other vegetable fan-favorites: Sauté mushroom and artichoke hearts. Yes, please! Get our Noodleless Zucchini Lasagna recipe.
Maya, the brains behind Wholesome Yum, decided to give the go-to dinner a vegetable touch by swapping out the noodles for eggplant. This mixture of greens, cheese, meats, and red sauce is so welcoming, you’ll forget all about the grains. Added bonus? It’s gluten-free. Get the Low-Carb Eggplant Lasagna recipe.
Between the sauce, spinach, and meat in Low Carb Yum’s recipe, you’ll be so busy munching that you won’t have time to figure out what’s missing from the dinner. Lisa, the creator of the blog, swaps in eggplant for lasagna sheets to add an even greener effect. You’ll definitely want to give this bad boy a try. Get the Low-Carb Spinach Meat Lasagna recipe.
If using cabbage or zucchini in place of pasta just won’t cut it, try making this low-carb lasagna that combines eggs, cream cheese, parmesan, mozzarella, and spices to create layers of a low-carb noodle substitute that you can bake, cut, and stack between your layers of sauce, meat, and cheese. It takes a bit more time, but might be worth it for pasta die-hards who are intent on cutting carbs. Get the Just-Like-the-Real-Thing Low-Carb Noodle Lasagna recipe.
Alternative Options (Baby Steps)
Though some of us might not be brave enough to part ways with noodles entirely (fair enough) there is good news. Not all lasagnas have to use the classic sheets. You can opt for gluten-free noodles to create crowd pleasers such as Lasagna alla Bolognese, Turkey and Artichoke Lasagna, and Pesto and Pea Lasagna.
You can include noodles (even ones that aren’t gluten-free), but focus more on the vegetables you’re planning to use, similar to cookbook author Mollie Katzen’s approach. Her main goal is to “flip” dishes and give them a healthier vibe while still maintaining that deliciousness we all crave. Learn more about Katzen’s leeks, cabbage, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, and sweet pepper lasagna recipe here.
Okay, so I might be helping you cut corners, but sometimes you have to start your resolutions with some baby steps. Happy New Year and enjoy your lasagna.