Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Recipe -- No Garbage Lasagna

I don't like garbage in food. Let me clarify, I try to avoid a lot of overly processed, refined grains and sugars as best as I am able. I find that eliminating them entirely is quite difficult, but with each new recipe I put in front of me I do my best to eliminate at least one item that is refined or processed. Additionally, I've noticed that a lot of recipes use waaaay too much oil. So that's another item I tend to lessen when possible too.

The dinner I made last night I've dubbed my "No Garbage Lasagna". I cut out all cheese, got rid of the noodles, reduced the oil and added way more veggies. Ringing in at 284 calories per (hearty) serving, boasting a deep flavor and being as simple as it is I'm definitely going to be making this one again!

No Garbage (Vegan) "Lasagna"

Serves 4-6
Takes: ≈ 90 minutes (can make some parts ahead of time to reduce the time)
Adapted from Cheeky Kitchen

what you'll need:
  • 1 small eggplant, sliced into 1/4" slices (about 10 pieces)
  • 2 can diced tomatoes (either zesty jalapeno or Italian spiced)
  • 6 cups raw spinach
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced and divided
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 4 slices firm bread (I suggest Ezekiel flaxseed or sourdough)
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1/4c bread crumbs (I used panko)
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced into 1/8" slices (about 10 pieces)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • salt/pepper to taste throughout
what you'll do:
  1. Spray eggplant with olive oil spray, salt, pepper and roast at 400° for 20-25 minutes, flip halfway through. Leave oven on when eggplant is done.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small put heat 1 tbsp oil and add half the garlic until fragrant. Add spices and "toast" for about 30 seconds. Pour in tomatoes, stir thoroughly, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes**.
  3. In a large saute pan heat to med-high and spray each piece of bread with cooking spray, then toast in the pan.
  4. Using the same pan heat 1 tbsp oil, add the remaining garlic and stir until fragant (being sure not to burn). Add spinach slowly until all is wilted. Set aside.
  5. In a high speed blender, blend half the tomato sauce until smooth, then add back to remaining sauce, stirring thoroughly.
  6. To assemble, in the bottle of a 9" x 9" glass baking dish, layer as follows: 1/2c tomato sauce, 2 pieces of bread, 1/2c sauce, eggplant slices and garlic spinach, 1/4c sauce, 2 slices of bread, the remaining sauce, tomato slices and bread crumbs on top. See below.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 400°.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 10-15 minutes. 
  9. Before serving pour balsamic vinegar over top and spread the fresh basil evenly. 
  10. Eat immediately, store in an air tight container in the fridge or freeze in portioned containers for future use.

**: The longer your sauce cooks down the thicker it will be. 6-12 hours is actually recommended, but we don't all have that kind of time. You can, of course, make the sauce a day (or several days) in advance.

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