Lasagna is one of those rare dishes that has it all – it’s comforting, but at the same time elegant. It’s substantial, yet also fairly economical. It can involve meat, but easily stand on its own without. Basically, it’s the perfect versatile entrée – to serve for guests, or a cozy night in (thank you, Italy!).
It seems that many families have their own favorite recipe for this dish. For whatever reason it wasn’t a staple in my household, so Alex and I had to forge our way into new territory on this one. I loved the idea of using kale, especially since it’s seasonal and can be picked up here if you’re local. (Feel free to substitute spinach or another dark leafy green if you’re not as big of a kale fan as we are!)
However, I was a little overly optimistic about the effort involved in creating our own “simple and healthy” seasonal lasagna recipe. Three pans and a lot of research later, we’ve finally emerged with a recipe that we enjoy. We hope you’ll enjoy it as well…and that this week’s pasta overdose has not been in vain!
- 1¼ pounds kale (around 3 bunches)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (with herbs if possible)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 4 cups cottage cheese
- ¾ cups Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 pound no-boil whole wheat lasagna noodles (or noodles cooked according to the package instructions)
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Prepare the kale: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Remove the stems from the kale. Boil the kale leaves for 2 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle. Using a towel, wring out as much water as possible from the kale. Chop it and season with kosher salt and pepper.
- Make the tomato sauce: Meanwhile, mince 3 cloves garlic. In a cold saucepan, combine garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 scant teaspoon red pepper flakes (or less depending on your spice tolerance), and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to medium high heat, stirring as the mixture heats up. Saute for about 30 seconds, then add the crushed tomatoes. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
- Make the filling: Strain out all liquid from the 4 cups cottage cheese (squeeze it in a strainer). Add ½ cup Parmesan cheese, 1½ cups mozzarella cheese, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper.
- Assemble the lasagna: Place a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9” x 13” baking dish. Cover the sauce with a layer of noodles, then half of the cheese mixture, half of the kale, and half of the remaining sauce. Add another layer of noodles, the remaining cheese, and the remaining kale. Top with the remaining noodles, then the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the top with ½ cup mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 45 minutes, until bubbly and browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.