Ree Drummond’s zucchini lasagna is a healthy vegetarian meal

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Ree Drummond takes the classic lasagna and gives it a healthy upgrade with her vegetarian zucchini lasagna. The pioneer woman star replaces pasta noodles with vegetables and loads the dish with cheeses, sauce, mushrooms and spinach.

Ree Drummond | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Ree Drummond remakes classic recipes with a healthy twist

Drummond showed how to make his vegetarian lasagna recipe on an episode of The pioneer woman dedicated to “healthy-ish” recipes. She revamped the classic pasta dish by replacing the pasta with zucchini “for a healthy twist on a much-loved dish.”

“Over the years, I’ve found the most success making healthy recipes,” she explained. “I’m not completely porky and completely changing the way I cook – I just make small tweaks to my existing favorite recipes and really like that approach.”

The Food Network host added, “Healthy cooking is all about delicious food, but you just need to make small adjustments that won’t affect the flavor. Enter the zucchini lasagna. I’m basically going to replace regular pasta with zucchini leaves and let me tell you, you won’t miss a thing.

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How to make Ree Drummond’s Zucchini Lasagna Recipe

Drummond first sautéed mushrooms, added minced garlic, and as she was making a spinach and mushroom filling, she got to work adding spinach in batches.

“Substituting zucchini strips is a really healthy hack,” she explained of her veggie lasagna. “You can basically substitute the lasagna noodles for zucchini, for any type of lasagna you like.”

She continued to add more fresh spinach as it wilted in the pan. “When I was younger, zucchini lasagna meant something completely different,” Drummond explained. “It was actually regular lasagna with noodles but with a mixture of zucchini inside. So it was like a vegetarian lasagna. But over time, zucchini lasagna became synonymous with zucchini noodles.

For the cheese mixture, Drummond combined cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. “I use cottage cheese instead of ricotta in my regular lasagna,” she shared. “I’ve always liked that. You can totally replace the cottage cheese with ricotta or you can do half and half.

She continued, “I swear, every time I eat veggie lasagna like that, I don’t even know meat exists. I don’t miss it at all. Of course the cheese helps.

Drummond added: “I’m a huge fan of cheese and that’s why I like to eat low carb a bit because it still allows you to eat cheese. I always said that I couldn’t follow any diet where I had to deprive myself of cheese. Cheese is my life.

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‘The Pioneer Woman’ star made the lasagna

Drummond’s lasagna came together quickly. She cut large zucchini lengthwise into thin strips and recommended laying them on paper towels to absorb excess moisture to keep the lasagna from getting watery.

To assemble the lasagna, The pioneer woman star placed some of the mushroom and spinach mixture in the bottom of a baking dish, covered it with marinara sauce, a layer of zucchini, cheese mixture and mozzarella cheese. Then she repeated the layers, with a final layer of spinach and mushrooms, sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan.

Drummond baked the dish in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 40 minutes, then let it rest before cutting into the lasagna.

The full recipe is available on the Food Network website.

RELATED: 5 Of Ree Drummond’s Healthiest Recipes

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