Monday, February 25, 2013

Lasagne Makeover - Now with 75% Less Sodium

Lasagne is LOADED with sodium.  One serving (1/12 of a 9x13 pan) of my old recipe has 990 mg of sodium. Rob asked me to make a pan for a family dinner but I have hunted high and low for my staple no salt added pasta sauce but cannot find it in the stores here in Florida.

Yesterday was the day I was planning to make that, gooey, pan of lasagne deliciousness so I had to make my own sauce.  I find people tend to be intimidated at the thought of cooking lasagne but it's really so easy.

For the sauce I like to use a really good quality tomato sauce as the base.  I like Pomi brand and they do not add salt.

Meat Sauce
3 lbs. ground beef (use turkey, chicken or a blend if you prefer)
1 - large onion, chopped
2 - cloves garlic, crushed 
2 - Tablespoons olive oil
2 - 26 oz cartons Pomi strained tomatoes
1 - 16 oz can crushed tomatoes, no salt added,  I like to add this for texture
2 - Tablespoons oregano
2 - teaspoons dried basil
1 - teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 - teaspoon dried sage
1/2 - teaspoon red pepper flakes
ground black pepper to taste

Cook ground beef until browned then drain the fat and set aside.  In the same pan, add the olive oil and saute onion and garlic until the onion is translucent.  Be careful not to burn the garlic because it will ruin your dish!  Add the remaining ingredients and the cooked beef and simmer for 30 minutes.  
Delverde Spinach Ondine Lasagne

For the pasta I like to use these instant (no cook)  lasagne sheets.  We use the spinach flavor but they come in tomato and regular.  I love the green color of the spinach flavor in the finished product.  They taste great and have only 6 mg sodium in two sheets. The directions say to soak the pasta in hot water for one minute but I don't.  I just add them dry into my dish. 

No Salt Added Lowfat 16 oz What makes lasagne so good?  The cheese of course.  Ricotta has sodium and I hate the texture.  I have always used cottage cheese for my middle layer but it is loaded with sodium.  I was stuck until I found no salt added cottage cheese.  It has just 55 mg of sodium per 1/2 cup and tastes pretty bland on its own but in the lasagne it's great and it doesn't have that gritty ricotta texture.  If you wanted to make the cottage cheese really smooth you could give it a ride in a blender or food processor.  Several brands make this product so if you don't have Hood in your area look at other brands.

In a greased, deep,  9 x 13 pan assemble your lasagne.  Cover the bottom of the pan with dry lasagne sheets.  I usually break them to cover the small areas around the edges.  Additionally my pan is an oval shape so I break the corners off to make the sheets fit properly.  Don't worry about being tidy because it won't show in the end.  The next layer is 1/3 of the meat sauce.  Just gently spoon it over the pasta sheets and spread it evenly to the edges.  Add another layer of pasta sheets and 1/3 of the meat sauce.  Next spread the whole container of cottage cheese over the meat sauce,  add another layer of pasta sheets and the rest of the meat sauce.  Top with 8 oz mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes if you go right from assembly to baking.  If you choose to refrigerate the lasagne prior to baking you'll want to bake it for 45 - 50 minutes.
Makes 12 servings with 247 mg of sodium each serving

You can make this a day or two ahead of time or even freeze it before baking. 

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