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Healthy Spring Vegetable Lasagna

Healthy Spring Vegetable Lasagna

Put those nutritious vegetable scraps to good use this Earth Day! Try this Healthy Spring Vegetable Lasagna and learn more about ways to reduce food waste!

 

I am very happy to introduce you to a new colleague of mine in the food blogging world! Jenna Gorham, a Registered Dietitian in Bozeman, Montana, will be sharing some amazing facts about food waste and helpful tips to reduce it! At the end of the article, don’t forget to check out my vegetable lasagna recipe!

 

vegetable lasagna
Save those vegetable scraps for soups, pastas, or stir fry!

Guest Blogger: Jenna Gorham

I’m excited to be here on Katie’s blog today, especially in honor of Earth Day! This month’s Recipe Redux theme involves preventing food waste. I’m a big proponent of reduce, reuse, recycle and I love applying it in the kitchen. It’s estimated that approximately 30-40% of food produced for human consumption is wasted -from farms to processing facilities to grocery stores and restaurants and even in our own homes. Food waste is a national concern not only because of the millions of Americans going hungry each day but also because of the economic and environmental impacts.

 

Why Should We Care About Food Waste?

 

  • When we waste food, we’re also wasting valuable natural resources, including land, water, labor, and energy…
    • 25% of our freshwater supply and 300 million barrels of oil are used to produce food that is wasted

 

  • Food waste is a huge contributor to methane production…
    • Landfills are one of the largest sources of methane production in the country and food waste is the largest component filling up our landfills.
    • According to National Geographic, “Producing the food we throw away generates more greenhouse gases than most entire countries do,” that’s 135 million tons of greenhouse gases each year.

 

  • Over 40 million Americans continue to go hungry each day…
    • That’s 1 in 7 people going to bed without dinner or not knowing where their next meal will come from

 

  • We’re throwing money in the trash
    • As a country, $250 billion dollars each year, to be exact.
    • The average family in the U.S. throws away an average of $640 each year in food waste alone.

 

You can read more here, here, and here.

 

Did you know 39% of food wasted is fruits and vegetables?

 

As much as it bothers me to see someone de-stem a strawberry along with another good ½ inch of a perfectly edible fruit, or to see someone throw out a whole broccoli stalk and only eat the tree tops, I know there are things I can be doing better as well. There are plenty of reasons to waste less, and I think we can all do our part.

 

 

vegetable lasagna
Carrot peels make this lasagna subtly sweet!

8 Tips to Reduce your Food Waste in Your Kitchen

 

1. Leave the skins on your potatoes

Not only is peeling the skins off your potatoes wasteful, but also strips the vegetable of it’s amazing fiber content.

 

2. Use the stems of chard, spinach, kale and other veggie scraps in smoothies, pastas, soups, sauces, casseroles, and lasagnas

 

3. Buy multi-purpose ingredients

Choose ingredients useful in multiple recipes. Instead of letting your leftover ricotta sit for weeks until it gets moldy try making vegetable lasagna, cheesecake bars, muffins, pancakes, or a sandwich spread.

 

4. Save your scraps

Just like Katie did, you can puree your veggie scraps for a lasagna or paella or use the scraps to make a soup stock.

 

5. Go to the grocery store with a plan

Meal prep and Meal planning are great for organization, family dinners, weight loss, and overall nutrition and also help to reduce our waste from the start. Without a plan, it’s more likely our produce will get left to rot in the fridge.

 

6. Repurpose your leftovers

I can only eat the same meal over and over for so many days in a row. By repurposing your meats, beans, soups, roasted veggies, whole grains, etc. you can easily create a brand new meal from the same delicious leftovers.

 

7. Use your freezer

Preserve your leftovers, meat, bread, baked goods, and soups by tossing them in the freezer to eat later on. If bananas, strawberries, peaches, etc. are starting to go- slice them up and throw them in the freezer too. They’re great in smoothies, purees, or dessert sauces.

 

8. Don’t be picky about sell-by dates

Buy the milk that ‘expires’ today, it’s likely on sale and will last another week, otherwise it will just get thrown out!

 

In this recipe, Katie geniusly blended up her leftover veggie scraps to make an amazing vegetable lasagna and put her perfectly good vegetable scraps to good use. She then used her leftover ricotta to make cheesecake squares and her leftover blended veggies in paella. The girl’s a genius!

 

Jenna Gorham is a Registered Dietitian in Bozeman, Montana. She uses a non-diet, all foods fit approach to help women make peace with food and reach their health goals. She specializes in women’s health and works one-on-one with clients virtually across the country. Jenna also provides nutrition consulting services to businesses and brands. You can read more about her at www.jennagorhamrd.com or see what she’s up to on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

Healthy Spring Vegetable Lasagna

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Healthy Spring Vegetable Lasagna

This lasagna requires a few different steps. To shorten cooking time, prepare the filling and tomato sauce earlier in the day or the night before.

Ingredients

  • 12 "no boil" lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, part skim (set aside)
  • Tomato Sauce*:
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Additional vegetable scraps of your choice, optional
  • Vegetable Filling:
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large head of broccoli, finely chopped (stalks and leaves too!)
  • 1 cup green peas, thawed if frozen
  • 4 cups raw spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup vegetable scraps of your choice**
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Ricotta Filling:
  • 2 cups low fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium high. Saute the garlic and red pepper flakes for 30 seconds to 1 minute until fragrant.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and vegetable scraps. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Stir often, breaking up the tomato pieces with a large spoon to make a sauce. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. To make the ricotta filling, combine the ricotta cheeses and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  5. In a large nonstick skillet or saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium high heat. Saute the broccoli, peas, and vegetable scraps for about 5-7 minutes to soften.
  6. Add in the garlic, dried herbs, and spinach. Cook for only 1-2 minutes (to keep the garlic from burning) until the spinach leaves have wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.
  7. In a 9 x 13 oven-safe baking dish, pour in tomato sauce to just cover the bottom (about 1/2 to 1 cup). Layer the lasagna noodles crosswise to fill across the width of the pan, should be about 3-4 noodles each layer.
  8. Next, cover the noodles with a layer of the ricotta filling and then the vegetable filling. Repeat until you have three to four complete layers of noodles.
  9. Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. If the lasagna looks dry, feel free to pour in up to 1/2 cup water to soften the noodles prior to cooking.
  10. Cover with tin foil that is lightly greased with cooking spray (this prevents the cheese from sticking to the foil).
  11. Bake for 30-40 minutes covered, then 5-10 minutes uncovered. Let the lasagna sit for a few minutes out of the oven before serving (this allows the noodles to soften more just before serving).

Notes

*If you prefer store bought sauce, replace the sauce portion with your favorite brand.

** For the scraps, feel free to pulse in a food processor to finely chop.

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