Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna

I’ll be honest: I haven’t done much cooking this summer. Between busy weekends, spending a lot of time with RM and cooking with him, having things after work and really just not having motivation to cook in the heat, I’ve been subbing out real meals with easy substitution meals (eggs have been a big hit here). But, a few weeks ago I made time on a Sunday night to make a recipe I found in the Hannaford’s “Fresh” Magazine. Have you ever read through one of those magazines? They are free with a purchase of $20 or $25 or more and always have the best recipes in them!

The recipe was really easy to follow and not overly labor-intensive (does anyone else feel like Cooking Light recipes are super labor intensive??) and I was a big fan of all of the ingredients!

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Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna

Ingredients (from Hannaford’s Fresh Magazine- Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna)

  • 2 large zucchini
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 11/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp. reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 (23 to 26 oz.) jar marinara sauce
  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese

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Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare the zucchini: Trim ends. Use a mandolin slicer or very sharp knife to slice zucchini lengthwise into long, flat noodles.

2. Layer zucchini on paper towels and sprinkle with salt, then cover with more paper towels to absorb moisture. Let noodles sit while you prepare the quinoa.IMG_7748

3. In a large saucepan, combine quinoa, broth, tomato sauce, onion, garlic, and oregano and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.

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4. Gently stir in cream cheese, pepper, and basil until incorporated.

5. Assemble the lasagna: Pour enough marinara in the bottom of an 8-by-8-inch pan just to cover the bottom. Wipe zucchini slices dry and lay about 4 slices over the sauce. Spread half the quinoa in a layer over the zucchini, then sprinkle with a third of the mozzarella cheese. Top with a third of the remaining sauce, then another layer of zucchini, remaining quinoa, half the remaining cheese, and half the remaining sauce. Top with a final layer of zucchini. Pour on remaining sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

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6. Cover pan with foil and bake until zucchini is tender and cheese is brown and bubbling, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove foil during the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking so cheese will brown. Let rest for 10 minutes, then slice into rectangles and serve.

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Source: Hannaford fresh Magazine, May – June 2014

The only thing that I would change about this recipe is subbing out the 2 tbsp of cream cheese for a wedge of Laughing Cow Cheese. I thought the quinoa/cheese/sauce mixture was a little bland and think that by adding a flavored cheese the flavor would have been intensified. I would also add more seasoning to the mixture to jazz it up.  Otherwise, I followed the recipe pretty much to a T and really enjoyed eating it throughout the week.

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Although there’s protein in quinoa, if you wanted to add a little extra you could certainly add in some ground chicken or turkey or beef- I think that would be delicious!

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If you’re looking for other lasagna recipes, check these out:
Summer Squash and Zucchini Lasagna
Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms, Kale & Ground Turkey Lasagna
Butternut Squash, Kale and Goat Cheese Lasagna! (the pictures aren’t showing up in this post for some reason- I have to fix it!)

The Zucchini and Summer Squash Lasagna recipe is quite possibly the most popular recipe on this little blog!

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Questions for you: What’s your favorite type of lasagna? Do you like the traditional version or do you like to change things up? Where do you get most of your recipes from?

Summer Squash and Zucchini Lasagna

Well, I think it’s safe to say that it has been a REALLY long time since I’ve posted a recipe for you guys! Between the hot, summer weather and busy, summer plans, cooking “real” meals has really gone by the wayside. Since I was around all day on Sunday doing my “Sunday” things (workout, laundry, blogging, cooking, etc.), and I had a summer squash and zucchini from my garden that I wanted to use, I figured it was a great time to cook!

I’ve been on the lookout for new recipes to use the veggies that I’ve grown in my garden. Athena recently posted a Summer Squash and Zucchini Ribbon Salad that is likely next on my list of recipes to try, but since my summer squash was on the bigger side, I realized that it might be better used in a lasagna to replace the noodles vs. a ribbon salad.

I didn’t really have a recipe in mind, but I knew the basis of a lasagna recipe: ricotta cheese, egg, meat/filling, and noodles (or, summer squash and zucchini in my case). With that said, I did double-check my idea of a recipe against a number of different websites. Man, there are A LOT of different lasagna recipes out there; some of them are so detailed and ingredient heavy, which was not at all what I was looking for. So, I went simple! And, you know what? You couldn’t even tell the difference!

I am a fan of lasagna with a lot of “stuff” in it, so in addition to the ground turkey and ricotta stuffing, I sautéed onions and mushrooms (in wine, of course!) and added in diced tomatoes. I didn’t want to overload the lasagna with too many veggies/flavors, but sautéed onions and mushrooms are such a good combination that I had to add them.

Summer Squash and Zucchini Lasagna

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 large summer squash
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 15 oz. part skim ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar jack since that’s all we had, but I would likely do Italian instead)
  • 1/4 cup fresh mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp. parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • herbs and seasoning to taste (I added some to the turkey while it was cooking, veggies while they were cooking, and the ricotta cheese mixture)

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Directions

1. Cut up the onion and mushrooms and sauté them with wine, minced garlic and seasonings.

2. Cook the ground turkey. When it is cooked through, add in a can of diced tomatoes (drained).

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3. Use a kitchen gadget (peeler or a slicer from Pampered Chef) to create thin slices of summer squash and zucchini. Make sure to pat the slices with a paper towel or place them on a paper towel to help absorb some of the water. I didn’t do this, and I ended up with a very watery lasagna!

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4. Mix together the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, shredded cheese, egg, milk and seasoning.

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5. Once everything is combined, start to create your lasagna layers: summer squash and zucchini ribbons, meat & veggie mixture and cheese mixture until all of the ingredients are used up. I put one last layer of shredded cheese at the top before baking at 350* for 30 minutes. To brown up the top of  the lasagna, I broiled it for about 5 minutes.

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This meal was a perfect example of a “healthified” home-cooked meal because even though the noodles were substituted with veggies, we still felt satisfied when we finished. Between the ricotta cheese mixture and ground turkey, there was enough sustenance to leave us feeling full, but not in a bloated/stuffed way.

Questions for you: Do you have a garden? Do you tend to cook less in the summer because of a busy schedule and hot weather?