Visiting my closest friend in Hamilton, Ontario, our four boys played until exhaustion. And then some more. We were all starving and she whipped up the best vegetarian chili I’d ever had.
Give a cheer for the slow cooker! This recipe is great for those hectic days when you are driving one child to hockey practice and the other to a music lesson. Leftovers are fabulous the next day; it’s a great big pot of love. This recipe by Linda Reasbeck, PHEc and other fabulous vegetarian dishes can be found in the new Vegetarian’s Complete Quinoa Cookbook (Whitecap Books).
NOTE: Catelli’s Healthy Harvest line features whole-grain lasagna noodles. Be sure to choose a pasta sauce that lists tomatoes as the first ingredient.
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) mixed beans, well rinsed and drained
2 2/3 cups (650 mL) pasta sauce
2/3 cup (160 mL) canned diced tomatoes
3/4 cup (185 mL) quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 tsp (10 mL) Italian seasoning
1 tsp (5mL) dried oregano leaves
8 uncooked lasagna noodles, preferably 100% whole grain
1 cup (250 mL) sliced white or cremini mushrooms
2 cups (500 mL) cooked chopped spinach leaves, well drained (or 10 oz/300 g frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained)
2 cups (500 mL) fat-free cottage cheese
2 cups (500 mL) grated mozzarella cheese
Grease a 6quart (6 L) slow cooker with canola oil.
In a medium bowl, combine the mixed beans, pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, quinoa (yes, it’s uncooked!), Italian seasoning and oregano. Mix well and set aside.
Place one layer of noodles on the bottom of the slow cooker, breaking to fit.
Top with half of the bean–pasta sauce–quinoa mixture.
Top with half of the mushrooms, and half of the spinach.
Top with half of the cottage cheese.
Repeat the layers: noodles, bean–pasta sauce–quinoa mixture, mushrooms and spinach, cottage cheese.
Top with all of the mozzarella cheese.
Cover and cook on Low for 5 hours. (See photo 6.)
Let sit for 5 minutes, then scoop out servings. Serve with a mixed green salad.
Makes 10 servings
One serving = 1/10 of the lasagna
Nutrition per serving
322 calories, 17 mg cholesterol, 7 g fibre, 3 g saturated fat, 47 g carbohydrates, 22 g protein, 6 g total fat, 579 mg sodium, 7 g sugars
Excellent source of folate, vitamin D and iron.
I made this slow cooker lasagna recipe with the kids and claimed back tons of time for play as it bubbled away for 6 hours. The hard noodles softened and I actually found the end result to be more firm and flavourful than my Mom’s more labour-intensive version! Plus, the hidden quinoa and fresh herbs make it much healthier. You may find some Walmart slow cookers at a good price.
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground sausage, pork or chicken (you could also do a vegetarian/tofu meat substitute)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
3 cans (15 ounces each) Italian-style tomato sauce
2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)
1 container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
15 uncooked lasagna noodles
3/4 cup dry quinoa
1. Cook the meat and onion in 10-inch skillet over medium heat 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally; drain. Stir in tomato sauce, herbs and salt.
2. Mix 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and the ricotta and Parmesan cheeses. (Refrigerate remaining mozzarella cheese while lasagna cooks.)
3. Spoon one-fourth of the meat mixture into 6-quart slow cooker; top with 5 noodles, broken into pieces to fit. Spread with half of the cheese mixture and one-fourth of the meat mixture. Top with 5 noodles, remaining cheese mixture, a layer of quinoa and one-fourth of the sausage mixture. Top with remaining 5 noodles and remaining sausage mixture.
4. Cover and cook on Low heat setting 4 to 6 hours or until noodles are tender.
5. Sprinkle top of lasagna with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Cover and let stand about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Broil on low in the oven (optional) for 5 minutes. Sprinkle chopped parsley on top. Cut into pieces.