Diabetize My ... Old-Fashioned Lasagna
Is there anything about traditional lasagna that isn't unhealthy? Heaping portions of cheese and ground beef add too much fat—especially the heart-harming saturated kind. Sauce and cheese raise sodium levels. Layers of noodles up the amount of carbohydrates. And, aside from the tomatoes in the sauce, there's a big fat fruit-and-vegetable void. In other words, this "diabetize it" was a big challenge. Here's how I made it nutritious (while keeping the yum-factor intact):
My first adjustment was to change the dish's shape. By baking a lasagna roll-up instead of the more traditional layered style, I was able to cut the amount of cheese and meat while retaining a substantial portion size.
Next, I increased the vitamin and mineral content and boosted fiber by loading the sauce with vegetables. Another fiber hint: If you can find them, try purchasing whole wheat lasagna noodles. They're healthier and taste just as delicious as the usual white noodles.
A key part of lowering the fat content of the meal was reducing the amount of ground beef in the sauce. You can get the same flavor with far less fat by swapping all but a quarter pound of the ground beef with lean ground turkey meat. Feel free to play around here. Eliminating the meat entirely—and heaping vegetables into the sauce instead—will result in an even lower-fat lasagna.
When it came to cheese, I used a couple tactics to reduce fat and retain taste. First, I cut some of the excess cheese from the recipe. Then, I replaced the remaining full-fat cheese with a low-fat variety. Into that, I mixed a bit of tofu for a protein boost and added bulk.
Finally, I cut out added salt and instead boosted the flavor with fresh parsley. The result: a delicious lasagna that tastes rich—without the side order of guilt.
Click here to see the recipe for Diabetized Lasagna.