Sure, the slow cooker’s great for stews and soups, but it also happens to make a mean lasagna! In this ingenious slow-cooker recipe, all you have to do is chop your veggies; then layer the ingredients (raw) into the crockpot.
Serve with garlic bread and a green salad.
Slow-Cooker Vegetarian Lasagna
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low
1 large egg
1 (15- to 16-ounce) container part-skim ricotta
1 (5-ounce) package baby spinach, coarsely chopped
3 large or 4 small portobello mushroom caps, gills removed (see tip), halved and thinly sliced
1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
15 whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 12 ounces), uncooked
3 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella, divided
Combine egg, ricotta, spinach, mushrooms and zucchini in a large bowl.
Combine crushed and diced tomatoes and their juice, garlic and crushed red pepper (if using) in a medium bowl.
Generously coat a 6-quart or larger slow cooker with cooking spray. Spread 1 1/2 cups of the tomato mixture in the slow cooker. Arrange 5 noodles over the sauce, overlapping them slightly and breaking into pieces to cover as much of the sauce as possible. Spread half of the ricotta-vegetable mixture over the noodles and firmly pat down, then spoon on 1 1/2 cups sauce and sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella. Repeat the layering one more time, starting with noodles. Top with a third layer of noodles. Evenly spread the remaining tomato sauce over the noodles. Set aside the remaining 1 cup mozzarella in the refrigerator.
Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4 hours. Turn off the slow cooker, sprinkle the reserved mozzarella on the lasagna, cover and let stand for 10 minutes to melt the cheese.
Tip: The dark gills found on the underside of a portobello mushroom cap are edible, but can turn a dish an unappealing gray color. If you like, gently scrape the gills off with a spoon.
Nutrition per serving: 414 calories; 14 grams fat (8 grams saturated and 4 grams monounsaturated); 63 milligrams cholesterol; 48 grams carbohydrates; 0 grams added sugars; 28 grams protein; 7 grams fiber; 641 milligrams sodium; and 829 milligrams potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Calcium and vitamin A, 56 percent daily value; vitamin C, 39 percent DV; iron and magnesium, 26 percent DV; zinc, 25 percent DV: potassium, 24 percent DV; and folate, 18 percent DV.
Exchanges: 2 starch, 2 vegetables and 2 1/2 medium-fat meat.
EatingWell is a magazine and website devoted to healthy eating as a way of life. Find it online at www.eatingwell.com.