I stumbled upon this recipe somewhere on Pinterest last year. I've made it multiple times, and somehow feel less guilty about the gobs of cheese it contains because of the gobs of kale that also go into making this yummy pasta. It uses no-boil lasagna noodles and cottage cheese instead of ricotta, which also increase the points in my book. Despite the need to make a homemade sauce and pre-cook the kale, it does come together fairly quickly. I made this last week with my in-laws in town and froze the leftovers. I defrosted them for tonight's meal and still found it equally delicious (although uglier because it got all smashed up and broken apart in the container I used--so don't judge by this picture, it's the only one I have). If you don't like kale, give spinach a try.
- 1¼ lbs. kale (or spinach), stems removed--I use 2 bunches, or 1 if it is especially large
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (use up to 1 t. if you like it hot)
- 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes, (preferably with herbs, I use one with basil)
- 2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
- 2 tsp. kosher salt, divided (I use less)
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 4 cups cottage cheese (if you prefer ricotta, go for it)
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 12-15 no-boil lasagna noodles (or noodles cooked according to package directions)
To prepare the kale, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the kale to the pot and boil for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool enough to handle. Wrap the kale inside a clean kitchen towel and wring out as much excess liquid as possible. When you think you have it all squeezed out, squeeze some more. Nothing worse than a watery lasagna. Chop roughly and set aside.
To make the tomato sauce, first get over any notions you have about it being difficult or time consuming. It is neither. Combine the oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt in a cold saucepan (I like to err on the side of less salt, so I only use 1/2 t. Do what you will). Heat over medium-high, stirring frequently. Once bubbling, cook for about 30 seconds. Mix in the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce, reduce heat and let simmer 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. I hope I don't have to tell you to cut into a real lemon and squeeze it fresh. Just do it. Put the rest of the lemon in some water....or better yet, a nice Boulevard Wheat Beer or two.
To make the cheese mixture, strain all of the liquid out of the cottage cheese. (I used a fine mesh strainer and pressed down to remove the liquid.) Mix in ½ cup of the Parmesan, 1½ cups of the mozzarella, 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Again, I use a little less salt. You can always add more later.
Preheat the oven to 375˚ F. To assemble the lasagna, add a thin layer of the sauce to the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Cover with a layer of noodles, then half of the cheese mixture, half of the kale, and half of the remaining sauce. Add another layer of noodles, the remaining cheese mixture, and the remaining kale. Top with the remaining noodles, then the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup Parmesan.
Bake (uncovered) for 45 minutes, until bubbly and browned. Let stand at least 10 minutes, preferably 15-20, before slicing and serving. Enjoy this nice balance of indulgence and health-conscious living--kale is"superfood"!