Summertime Chicken and Spinach Lasagna

I’d like to present to you…the best of all comfort foods and favorite of Americans everywhere…..Lasagna. But, this isn’t your ordinary lasagna…it’s much, much, healthier. No, no, don’t close out this window!

Now, don’t be mistaken; it may be a healthier version of the classic, but it most certainly does not lack in flavor! There’s a rich, creamy-ness from the ricotta, a spicy bite from the crushed red pepper, a sweet crunch from the corn, a bitter, earthy layer from the spinach, and a savory bliss from the garlic basil marinara. It is a delight on your tastebuds, that’s for sure!

I like to make this lasagna in the summer time, because aside from being healthier, it’s much lighter and full of fresh veggies. You know how when you eat regular lasagna, you want to unbutton your pants and nap afterwards? This doesn’t do that. (Unless you eat the whole pan, which has been done before).

I’m comparing the healthy-ness of this to a store-bought, super heavy meat lasagna. Of course, many people have recipes at home for regular lasagna without tons of extra cheese, etc. that are probably close to as healthy as this one.

But….you save HALF the calories with a piece of this compared to one of the store-bought frozen lasagna. Plus, the flavor is incomparable.

I like to make double the recipe, and freeze one! That way, if I’m having a long day or searching for a quick dinner, it’s all ready and only 40 minutes to happy bellies.

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Chicken and Spinach Lasagna

What You’ll Need: 

+ 1 pound ground/cubed chicken

+ 3 cups your favorite marinara sauce (See my recipe below)

+ 1 small onion, minced

+2 eggs

+ 2 cloves garlic

+salt and pepper

+ 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

+ 1 teaspoon dry basil (or better yet- a few leaves fresh basil)

+ 30 ounces low fat ricotta cheese

+ 1/2 cup grated parmesan

+ 12 cooked (or no boil) lasagna noodles

+ 3 to 4 cups spinach

+ 1 cup corn kernels

+ 1/4 cup mozzarella (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat oil in a skillet and cook the chicken and onions over medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and basil. Cook until no longer pink. Set aside.

Mix the eggs, ricotta, and parmesan together, along with another pinch and dash of salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Lightly grease a 13X9 inch baking dish.

Spoon a thin layer of marinara on the bottom. Place 4 lasagna noodles on top to cover the pan. Add 1/2 of the ricotta mixture. Then 1/2 of the chicken and onion mixture. Then half the spinach and corn. Top with more marinara, 4 noodles, and repeat the layers. Finish with noodles a layer of marinara on the top. If you want to be fancy, add 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella to the top and a sprinkle of parmesan. Cover with tin foil and Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes.

To Make My Basil Marinara Sauce:

Makes about 1 Quart

+ 1 small onion, finely chopped

+ 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

+ 2 (14 ounce) cans of diced tomatoes

+ 6 ounces tomato paste

+ 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

+ 1 teaspoon oregano

+ 1 teaspoon salt

+ 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat a sauce pot over medium heat and drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil in. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Pour in the white wine and cook for about 2 minutes, scraping the bottom to get all the yummy bits. Add in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, and cook for about 20-30 minutes, or until it’s reduced and thickened to your liking. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

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