Friday, January 11, 2013

Noodle Free Zucchini Lasagna

 I have read about noodle free zucchini lasagnas from a lot of blogs, like the one from The Frugal Chef and I thought it was a wonderful idea! I don't like the taste or texture of gluten free noodles so zucchini lasagna seemed like a no-brainer and it really is a fun new way of preparing zucchini. I decided to go for it! I didn't want an Italian style lasagna with cheese and tomato sauce so I went with a fresh approach. Instead of cheese I used some plain greek yogurt and instead of cooked-down tomato sauce I used fresh tomato slices with fresh basil and oregano; it turned out beautifully and delicious!
The first thing I did was slice up some zucchini. I made a small batch, using the loaf pan I typically use for banana nut bread, so I only sliced up 3 zucchinis. Make sure you use a sharp knife for this for this. Don't make the zucchini slices too thin, a nice medium slice is perfect. By the way, now's a good time to preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Next I sauteed kale, mushrooms, crushed garlic, and onions in a small amount of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It made the whole house smell Earthy and Heavenly at the same time! I'm sure my neighbors were jealous, I know I would have been. As the mushroom medley sauteed I sliced up one nice large tomato.
Mmmm look at all that wholesomeness right there. This looks like the making of a salad, right? Nope! It's really the mis en place for a deliciously deceptive noodle free zucchini lasagna that is sure to fool even picky eaters into eating their veggies. So far we have the zucchini and tomato slices, sauteed greens and shrooms, and some fresh basil and oregano; the only thing I left out of the photo was the half cup of greek yogurt.
Now it's time to layer! I lined a loaf pan with parchment for easy clean up, then I sprayed on a little non-stick cooking spray just to help out the cause. Since I'm not using a traditional sauce I started with a layer of zucchini slices then I added slices of tomato. To the tomato I sprinkled chopped fresh basil and oregano as well as salt and pepper. I topped this with a layer of the sauteed kale, mushrooms, and onions. Then I added 1/4 cup of greek yogurt in dollops, you can use more yogurt if you'd like and you can even slather on a whole layer of it if you want (I'm sure it will be delicious!). I chose to use a small amount of yogurt because I'm trying to cut back on my dairy. Salt and pepper this layer. Once this is done, top the yogurt with another layer of zucchini and keep building your masterpiece.

One your zucchini has been layered with love, sprinkle on a little chopped tomato, and more seasonings. Feel free to sprinkle grated parmesan or panko to the top which gives it a nice texture and browns beautifully in the oven. I choose panko. Stick this masterpiece in a nice hot 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or so. You will be able to smell the seasonings working their magic in the oven.
After about half an hour you are ready to dig into this super delicious and incredibly healthy dish. Sure it looks like you are getting into something bad, but it is really good and good for you too. This small loaf pan made enough zucchini lasagna for 4 servings. I made this for two, so he and I had a lovely meal and we froze the rest the other half into two portions for a quick dinner option during the mid-week hustle. Not bad!

So, here's the recipe:

3 medium sized zucchini - sliced
1 small bunch of kale
1 large tomato - sliced, reserve 2 tbsp chopped
1 cup mushrooms - diced
1/4 cup onions - diced
2 tbsp crushed garlic
fresh basil and oregano - chopped, to taste
salt and pepper - to taste
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt, to taste - divided

Preheat oven to 350degrees. Slice zucchini and tomato and set aside. Saute kale, mushrooms, onion, and garlic. In the bottom of a lined and sprayed loaf pan layer zucchini slices and top with tomato, add basil, oregano, salt, and pepper to taste. Add a layer of the kale-mushroom mixture over this and top with 1/4 cup greek yogurt dollops, then add salt and pepper. Top this with another layer of zucchini slices and continue building each layer. Sprinkle the top of the zucchini lasagna with chopped tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and parmasan or panko to taste. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until the dish is cooked through and the parm/panko has browned. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Makes 4 servings.

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