Sunday, January 26, 2014

Skinny Spinach and Pesto Lasagna Rolls with Chicken Sausage

I love lasagna as much as any other fat, orange house cat, but there's something about making the dish that is an ordeal. So many layers, such a long baking time, and with all those noodles, even if you try to make a healthier lasagna, you're still going to get hit with a calorie bomb. That is why I love the lasagna "roll ups" that have been blowing up on Pinterest. So much quicker to assemble and, with less pasta per serving, you get a lower calorie dish with much more emphasis on the delicious, cheesy filling part (also known as the good part) compared to it's cousin, lasagna. 

On my take here, I add some lean protein by way of chicken sausage and sneak in some leafy greens with steamed spinach. 

You'll need:
  • 8 sheets of lasagna 
  • 15 oz part skim ricotta 
  • 2 tbs pesto 
  • 3 links italian chicken sausage, crumbled 
  • 8 cups spinach steamed - fresh or frozen is fine
  • 1/2 cup part skim shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup parmesan 
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara
Calories: 250 calories per roll

Set the oven to 350 degrees. Boil and cook the noodles as you normally would over high heat. Meanwhile, get some mise en place going. Break apart the chicken sausage with your hands. Steam the spinach. Stir pesto into ricotta until they are evenly mixed. I just toss the pesto into the ricotta container to save from cleaning an extra dish. Dish cleaning reduction is one of my primary goals in any recipe.

Set yourself up so you have an assembly line of ricotta and pesto, crumbled chicken sausage, and steamed spinach. Spray a pyrex pan with olive oil and begin assembling your rolls. Lay out the rolls one at a time in the pan and first spread on about 2 heaping spoonfuls of the ricotta pesto mix. Then, sprinkle on the chicken sausage on top of that. Add some spinach on the very top and roll the stuffed lasagna noodle from one end to the other into a spiral roll. Repeat until you've got them all laid out in the pan.

Top the rolls with marinara sauce, spooning the sauce over one roll at a time so it's evenly distributed. Repeat with shredded mozzarella cheese and finish off the dish with a sprinkling of parmesan. 

Pop into the oven for 25-30 minutes.

You'll know it's done when the cheese is getting browned and the sauce is nice and bubbly. Serve with a side salad and a big ol' glass of vino because, damn it, you earned it!

At 250 calories a roll, with plenty of lean protein, low fat dairy, and hidden veggies, feel free to shovel  these into your face without much guilt. Continue to hate Mondays. That's what the wine is for.

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