Recipe: Lasagna Roll-Ups

This is a post-church potluck vegetarian recipe my mother came up with as self-defense against homemade stuffed shells. If you have ever tried to stuff anything into those jumbo pasta shells, you know exactly what I mean. They shoot out of your hands like torpedoes, they drop in the sink or on the floor, your hands are covered in cheese goop, and by the time you’re done you’ve lost your appetite and never want to see a stuffed shell again.

This is far, far easier. It’s also far, far healthier than the traditional full-fat cheese filling. You cannot taste the difference (though your waistline and arteries just might notice). This dish goes well with a green salad, steamed broccoli or green beans, or sautéed zucchini. Any leftovers will freeze well for future meals.

Lasagna Roll-Ups and Green Beans with a sprinkling of Parmesan

8 oz. package lowfat cream cheese, softened
1 cup low- or nonfat ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese (the stuff in the green can is just fine)
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon lemon zest
Pinch of nutmeg
Jar of meatless spaghetti sauce, or an equivalent amount of homemade sauce
12 whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked, rinsed and drained

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large stockpot, cook the lasagna noodles until al dente (do not overcook or they’ll fall apart). Rinse, drain, and cool by hanging over the edges of the stockpot. Be aware, they will be very slippery.

Combine the cheeses, egg, herbs, lemon zest and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl. Mix well and spread flat in the bowl, then demarcate 16 equal wedges with a sharp knife in order to have the cheese filling divided evenly among the lasagna noodles.

Lay out the individual lasagna noodles on a cutting board or flat baking sheet and carefully blot dry with paper towels. Using a gentle, steady hand (and a butter knife or rubber spatula), spread the cheese mixture evenly along the entire length of each noodle, carefully rolling it up and standing it on end in the prepared baking dish. Arrange the roll-ups so that none is leaning against another; they should stand up just fine on their own if you have rolled them straight.

Pour the spaghetti sauce over and around the roll-ups. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30-45 minutes or until bubbling and heated completely through.

Yield: 4-6 servings

For fresh, quality, naturally-grown basil, oregano, thyme, and nutmeg used in this recipe, visit MySpiceSage by clicking on the banner below:

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