Recent Recipes

Solid as a Rocco (Veggie Lasagna)


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As I have mentioned before, having this blog really encourages me to think outside the box and come up with more creative meal solutions than I have in the past.  I mean, I can't keep publishing the same recipes over and over again, right?  So, in an effort to expand my horizons, I went only Amazon and added to my cookbook collection.  While I did stock up on the newest Gourmet cookbook, I also added Now Eat This! by Rocco DiSpirito.  The concept is that all meals are under 350 calories, so naturally I had my doubts.  No butter?  No full-fat cheese?  No white bread?  This cookbook went against ever fiber of my being.  But, hey, what did I have do lose but I few lbs?  And if anyone could pull off good tasting, low cal meals, it had to be a James Beard award-winning chef, right?

My first selection was the chicken cordon bleu...I know, I know...I should have known better.  Matt and my Dad both liked it well enough, but I was disappointed.  Low fat ham and low-fat swiss combined for a combination that I felt was bland and uninviting.

But then Night 2 came along...I chose the Zucchini and Eggplant Vegetable Lasagna.  Holy amaze-balls!  This recipe was awesome!  Naturally, I made a few tweaks, but none that added too many calories and came out with a product that I will be happy to make and proud to serve...it's crazy good!

Zucchini & Eggplant Vegetable Lasagna (adapted from Now Eat This! by Rocco DiSpirito)
1 large eggplant, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into long, thin strips (1/4" thick)
3-4 large portobello mushrooms, sliced thin
3 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into long, this strips (1/4" thick)
salt & pepper
nonstick olive oil spray
1 1/4 c. nonfat ricotta
garlic powder
crushed red pepper
Italian Seasoning
3/4 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 c. low-fat marinara
1-2 c. (or so) reduced fat mozzarella
1 lb. ground turkey

  • Preheat the broiler on high.  Line 3 baking sheets with aluminum foil and spray them with olive oil spray
  • Lay the eggplant slices, in a single layer, on one of the baking sheets.  Lay the mushrooms on the second, and zucchini slices on the third.  Season the veggies with S&P to taste and spray them lightly with olive oil spray.  Broil each sheet of veggies until they are slightly browned and mostly tender - 5-7 minutes.  Set aside.
  • Preheat over to 450.  Spray 9x13 in. baking dish with olive oil spray - set aside.
  • Brown the ground turkey in a frying pan.  Season with S&P to taste.  Drain & set aside.
  • In a bowl, combine ricotta & half of parmigiano-reggiano cheese.  Season with garlic powder, Italian seasoning and S&P, to taste.
  • Spread 1/4 of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Lay the roasted zucchini on the top of the sauce.Spread 1/2 of the ricotta mixture over zucchini.  Top with 1/3 of the ground turkey and a thin layer of mozz. Repeat the process with the portobello slices, sauce, ricotta, turkey and mozz. Top the entire lasagna with remaining sauce, mozz and parmigiano-reggiano.
  • Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes.  Uncover, and continue to bake until the cheese begins to brown, another 10 minutes.  Let lasagna rest for about 5 minutes.
  1. I would recommend peeling the eggplant and preparing it earlier in the day or night before.  Layer the eggplant on a baking sheet and sprinkle generously with salt - this will remove the excess water for the eggplant.  While the flavore of this lasagna was awesome, it was runny.  Removing the excess water will help.
  2. Place a baking sheet on the rack below the lasagna while baking.  The pan will overflow and drip onto the bottom of the oven.
I can't even tell you how good this lasagna was...actually, I can.  My dad, Mr. Meat and Potatoes, Mr. Traditional food only, loved it!  And, I am so confident in it that I am making it for my in-laws next week...and she's off-the-boat Italian!  I will let you know how it goes!!!!

Ahhh...food therapy complete.


I loved this adaptation! Thanks for sharing.