This is a recipe from B.E.S.T Weight Management’s August 6th Healthy Cooking Class. In this class and the following one, I came up with healthier and reinvented versions of recipes based on popular store bought frozen entrees. Enjoy!
Vegan Lasagna Rolls Serves 5 (2 rolls per person)
Recipe created by Bethanie Lundgren
10 teaspoons of prepared Basil Pesto, recipe follows
10 Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles (very easily made Gluten Free using Brown Rice Lasagna Noodles)
2 medium Zucchini
2 cups of baby Spinach leaves
2 ½ cups of any flavor Organic Muir Glen Pasta Sauce (or equivalent)
¼ cup of Gluten Free Panko Style Bread Crumbs or regular Panko Style Crumbs (see note)
1 tbsp of Earth Balance butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400. Place pasta sauce into a small saucepan; cover and place on low heat to warm through. Bring a shallow pan of salted water to a boil and reduce to a slow boil. Place lasagna noodles, 2-3 at a time into water, moving around until fully submersed. Turn noodles periodically. Total cooking time will be about five minutes or until noodles can easily bend (for rolling) without being completely cooked. Transfer noodles to a cookie sheet and spread into an even layer to prevent sticking. Next, wash and trim ends from zucchini. Cut zucchini in half, widthwise and then slice into ¼ inch slices lengthwise Place into simmering water used for noodles and cook until slightly translucent and flexible. Place on a paper towel lined plate to drain excess water.
Place a ½ to ¾ cup of warm pasta sauce in the bottom of a 9×12 pan, spreading out evenly. Starting with a pasta noodle spread one teaspoon of basil pesto evenly over the surface. Next, layer two slices of zucchini and then 10-12 spinach leaves on top. Roll up snuggly and lay seam side down in dish. Continue with the rest of the rolls. Pour the remainder of the sauce evenly over the top of noodles, making sure they are all covered well. At this point, if you feel it needs an extra ½ cup of sauce, it can be added. *Remember: the noodles are finishing their cooking in the sauce. Mix together panko and melted butter. Top each roll with crumbs. Cover with tinfoil and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes (sauce should be bubbling and when poked with a knife, noodles should be soft). Remove foil and turn heat to broil. Broil for approximately 4 minutes or until tops of rolls have a light golden hue. Serve with a side salad and enjoy!
Basil Pesto-makes 24 teaspoons (only using 10 for this recipe)
6 cups of packed fresh basil leaves
1 clove of garlic
6 tablespoons of pine nuts
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon of sea salt
In a food processor or blender, add basil, garlic, salt and pine nuts. Pulse until finely chopped. With processor on, slowly stream in olive oil; a thick paste should form. A tablespoon of lemon juice can be added to prevent browning or freeze unused portions into an ice cube tray. Once frozen, place into a zip top bag and defrost as needed.
*Note about Gluten Free Panko style bread crumbs vs. regular (wheat) Panko Crumbs:
When testing this recipe, I tried it with both gluten free and whole wheat lasagna noodles. Since I am wheat/gluten intolerant, friends were my testers for the whole wheat version. Both ways turned out great! Since I didn’t purchase regular panko specifically for this recipe, I only tested using the gluten free alternative. They both will work exactly the same. While there is about a $3 difference in price (the gluten free being more expensive) there is only a six calorie difference per serving with the gluten free being the greater.
One serving = 2 rolls (nutrition also shown for one)
Carbs: 62 grams/31 grams
Fat: 10.8 grams/5.4 grams
Protein: 10 grams/5 grams
Compared to Stouffer’s Five Cheese Lasagna:
Serves 11, one serving is a cup (also shown with two servings, since it would then be the same serving size as the rolls)
Carbs: 35 grams/70 grams
Fat: 6 grams/12 grams
Protein: 12 grams/24 grams
Chew on this:
I tried to find an accurate store comparison to the Vegan lasagna Rolls, but I wasn’t able. Not to mention, this particular frozen lasagna dinner is quite popular when compared to other “healthier” alternatives. Besides nutrition facts, think about this: the made over version has a serving of vegetables, a dose of Vitamins A, C, E, K, Folate, Calcium, Iron as well as other minerals. This calorie calculation doesn’t include fiber. Compared to Stouffer’s, made with “blanched macaroni” and only 3 grams of fiber per one cup serving, we’ve doubled that by using whole wheat lasagna noodles.
The Stouffer’s Five Cheese Lasagna will run you normally $13.85 (or on a sale day when I was there, $11.69). Compared to the normal retail price, you can make the Vegan Lasagna Rolls for $12.80. Since the Stouffer’s has one more serving then our recipe, the cost per serving came within a few cents of each other. Bear in mind, these prices are based on certain products that I used. For example, pine nuts can be a rather expensive ingredient when bought at your regular grocer. Two ounces will cost you around $5 depending on the brand. That means you’d have to buy two containers ($10) for the pesto recipe. If you have a membership at your local bulk foods store, you can get a 1.5lb (24oz) bag of Pine Nuts for around $20. That saves you $40! Plus, when kept in the refrigerator or freezer, they last forever! The cost configuration does not include: extra virgin olive oil, butter, sea salt or garlic.