This week’s goal is to continue my wheat-free diet and exercise at least 4 days (with at least 3 days of running). I find it is the running that changes my body quicker than anything else I’ve done. So, I just need to do it.
I have never been a runner. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I could run if there was someone chasing me with a chain saw. But now, I consider myself one. I can run a 5k. Not fast mind you, but I can do it. To me, that makes me a runner. I didn’t say I was a “good” runner, but a runner nonetheless. I’m working on it though. Now I am trying to build up my speed a bit by repeating the Couch to 5K program.
So, back to the “diet”.
What is the old saying? Necessity is the mother of invention?
So, in my desperate attempt to eat something rich, creamy and pasta-like, I came up with this lasagna using strips of zucchini “noodles”, assorted sauteed vegetables and a rich ricotta mixture, layered and topped with bubbly mozzarella cheese.
I have got to say, this was not overly difficult, and well worth all the effort I put into it. Since my family refused to eat it (they saw all the veggies and no actual pasta and ran as fast as they could), I had enough leftovers for lunches and it was even more delicious the next day.
I will absolutely make this again. I hope you try it. It will make a great use of all the fresh Summer veggies and the over-abundance of zucchini that home gardeners seem to have.
No Noodle Vegetable Lasagna
2 medium zucchinis, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips (approximately 8 strips)
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 c. chopped onion (I used a sweet vidalia, but any white or yellow will do)
1/2 c. julienned carrots
1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 Tbls olive oil
1 Tbls Butter
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 c. part skim mozzarella, shredded
1 (15 oz) container part skim ricotta cheese
1/4 grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbls freshly choppped Italian parsley (or dried)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Slice your zucchini lengthwise into 1/4 thick strips. You will use the outside (green) strips to chop and add to your sauteed veggies.
3. Place strips on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt to draw out some of the moisture and cover with another paper towel. Let sit while making the vegetables.
3. In a medium bowl mix together all the filling ingredients and set aside.
4. In a medium pan, add olive oil, butter and garlic and begin to saute for a minute on medium heat. Do not let garlic brown, you just want to give it a head start before placing the other veggies in. Raise heat to high and add onion, carrots, chopped zucchini, tomatoes, Italian seasoning and sugar. Saute for approximately 5 minutes to get all the moisture out and veggies begin to carmelize a little.
5. Spray an 8×8 glass baking dish lightly with non-stick spray and begin layering ingredients. Start with a layer of zucchini, half the ricotta filling, half the sautéed vegetables and half of the mozzarella. Continue with a second layer of each, ending with the mozzarella.
6. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden and bubbly.