Butternut Squash and Sage Lasagna
What makes a comfort food? Our idea of the perfect foods might differ depending on a person’s experiences, but chances are for a lot of people, lasagna is up there in their list. This Italian pasta dish is known for its layers and layers of noodles, lots of cheese, and hearty meat sauce with more than a few hundred calories per slice- which doesn’t make it a realistic regular on your weekly menu. Our recipe, however, is definitely doable: swapping out meat for one of his favorite squashes (Butternut!) and lightening up our cheeses with 2% fat, Chef Jeff was able to create for us a recipe that comes in under 300 calories for those of you who would prefer to save your more decadent indulgences for the actual holidays, and not the 12 weeks leading up to the season.
As far as using a vegetable as a meat alternative, the key is to season, season, season! For the butternut squash Jeff opted to season with a classical vegetable spice (Nutmeg) and one a little south of the border (Ancho Chile Powder). Nutmeg is a traditional pairing for foods that have a sweet undertone, as it’s a sharp but delicate spice that adds great contrast and can instantly brighten a dish. Ancho Chile Powder is a mild to medium spiced chile powder, but it has a distinct fruity and smoky quality that adds a little more complexity to our creamy butternut squash. Deciding to go with fresh sage over the dried sage we offer was a conscious choice on Jeff’s part, as sage in this dish works well to give a more “herbaceous” flavor from the fresh herb, rather than the more conspicuous earth-y flavor our Rubbed Sage has. If you didn’t have any fresh available however, it could definitely be used in a pinch (pun intended).
The serving size for 12 slices of a 9 x 13 pan means if you’re just cooking for one, you’re going to have a lot of leftovers. Certainly if you are very, very hungry you could dig right in, but if you have a small appetite you might consider sharing this as a vegetarian side dish for an upcoming Thanksgiving feast!
HELPFUL HINT: Being mindful of what stock you use, our lasagna recipe is vegetarian, but not vegan. We have yet to find suitable alternatives for all of the cheeses a lasagna calls for, but if you have any recommendations, let us know!
- 3.5 Lbs Butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 Tbsp Olive oil
- Kosher Salt- to taste
- Black Pepper- to taste
- 1 tsp Ancho Chile Powder
- 16oz Ricotta cheese, low fat 2%
- ½ Cup Almond milk, plain unsweetened
- 2 Large egg yolks
- 8oz Mozzarella cheese, low fat 2%
- ½ tsp Nutmeg, fresh grated
- 2 Tbsp Butter, unsalted
- ⅓ Cup Fresh sage leaves, packed loose and coarsely chopped
- 1 ¼ Cup Vegetable stock
- No bake lasagna noodles
- Parmesan cheese- optional garnish
- Cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 425F. Divide squash in 2 and place on 2 baking sheets. Toss squash with olive oil. Season with Ancho chile powder, salt, and pepper. Place in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 375F. Combine ricotta cheese, almond milk, egg yolks, mozzarella cheese, and nutmeg in a medium size bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a sauté pan, heat 2 Tbsp butter to medium-high and add sage. Cook until it starts to crisp at the edges. 3-4 minutes.
- In a medium size bowl, mash half the squash up with a potato masher. Add the rest of the squash and the sage-butter mixture, and lightly fold in. Season with salt and pepper.
- Lightly spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Spread 3/4 Cup ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a layer of noodles. Spread half the squash mixture over the noodles. Top with noodles. Spread 1 Cup ricotta mixture over noodles. Repeat layering once more. Garnish with Parmesan cheese if desired.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.