Tag Archives: entree

Healthy Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls

My dad makes the most beautiful lasagna you’ll ever lay your eyes on. With layers of noodles, ground beef, homemade marinara, homemade bechamel, and cheese, it’s a sight to behold.  It’s also usually a multi-day process to make. Maybe if I was newly retired like he is or a full time food blogger I’d make it myself, but as a working woman trying to stay active, have a social life, and somehow keep up with this blog, ain’t got no time for that.

These vegetarian lasagna rolls are a speedy alternative to lasagna for an easy and healthy dinner!

Enter my easy peasy healthy vegetarian lasagna rolls that can be whipped up in under an hour! I skip the homemade bechamel in lieu of ricotta and cottage cheese. You could use entirely ricotta cheese, but I like swapping in some cottage cheese to beef up the protein in this meatless meal. I also use (gasp) jarred marinara sauce. I know I often advocate for cooking from scratch, but sometimes convenience trumps that. Look for a jarred sauce with no added sugar in the ingredients and as little sodium as possible. Under 5% DV for sodium per serving is the ideal, but the lowest I’ve been able to find is 7% DV in Mediterranean Gardens marinara sauce (not sponsored, I just like this brand!). Still not too shabby when them norm for pasta sauce is often double that!

These vegetarian lasagna rolls are a speedy alternative to lasagna for an easy and healthy dinner!

The result is a fast dinner that’s as convenient as it is healthy. I’ve made this numerous times for John and recently for a class on family meals at work, where it got the thumbs up from parents and kids alike. Pair it with a side salad to make half your plate vegetables and enjoy its cheesy goodness!

These vegetarian lasagna rolls are a speedy alternative to lasagna for an easy and healthy dinner!

Healthy Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls
 
Prep time
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These vegetarian lasagna rolls are a speedy alternative to lasagna for an easy and healthy dinner!
Author:
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 9 whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 10 oz full fat ricotta cheese
  • 6 oz cottage cheese (or more ricotta cheese)
  • 2 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 6 oz frozen spinach, defrosted with excess water squeezed out
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp pepper
  • 2 cups marinara sauce (I love Mediterranean Gardens marinara)
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook your lasagna noodles according to the package directions (note: you may need to cook them in two batches).
  3. Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, cottage cheese, 2 oz mozzarella cheese, spinach, egg, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  4. Once your noodles are finished cooking, lay them out on a wire rack. Once cool enough to touch, divide the cheese mixture amongst the noodles, spreading it across their entire length.
  5. Roll up the noodles and place in a baking dish (I used a 9x9 dish and managed to squeeze them all in) with ½ cup marinara sauce spread over the bottom. Spoon the other 1.5 cups marinara on top of the rolls then top with the shredded mozzarella.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes and finish them off for 1-2 minutes under the broiler to brown the cheese (keep a close eye on them when broiling!).

These vegetarian lasagna rolls are a speedy alternative to lasagna for an easy and healthy dinner!

What are your best tricks for making speedy weeknight dinners?

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Sun Dried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Feta

This post was written as a part of the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador Program, however all opinions expressed are my own.

This whole grain sun dried tomato and roasted red pepper pasta with feta is a healthy vegetarian dinner on the table in just 30 minutes!

Sun Dried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Feta. A healthy vegetarian dinner on the table in just 30 minutes!

I’m a firm believer in second chances.

Because sometimes when we decide we don’t like something, all we need to do is change it up and see it in a new light. Take one of my best friends, Lauren, for example. We didn’t like each other in 4th grade because she thought I stole her best friend, but when we realized how much we had in common (read: we’re both big dorks), we became inseparable.

I also thought I didn’t like working out. When I first started exercising, I thought that meant I had to do hour long cardio workouts – I mean duh, that’s what all the magazines recommended. Well I soon realized that sucked and I didn’t enjoy it at all. But then I started exploring the weights section at GoodLife Fitness and found out I actually really enjoyed strength training – so that is now what I base the majority of my workouts around and I (almost) aways look forward to it.

What does this all have to do with this sun dried tomato and roasted red pepper pasta you might be wondering? I’m getting around to my point!

Sun Dried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Feta. A healthy vegetarian dinner on the table in just 30 minutes!

See JZ doesn’t like tomatoes or bell peppers. He likes pasta sauce and chili, but fresh tomato salads, sun dried tomatoes, and grilled peppers are out of the question. Which is a shame because I live for these foods around this time of year! I didn’t give up hope though – I knew there must be a way to slowly break down his food barriers. So inspired by a class I was teaching on homemade pesto at work, I decided to puree these forbidden fruits into a pesto.

I tossed it with some whole grain spaghettini and threw in some feta and arugula, then set the plate down in front of him, hoping my disguised tomatoes and peppers would pass undetected by his scrutinous tastebuds. I bit my nails nervously and stared at him intently as he took his first bite. He had a look of concentration on his face as he chewed, swallowed, and looked up to meet my eyes. “This is really good” he said.

Hallelujah! I just may make a tomato and pepper lover out of him yet.

But picky boyfriend or not, this sun dried tomato and roasted red pepper pasta is an easy vegetarian dinner that you can have on the table in just 30 minutes. It’s also very customizable to different dietary needs: leave out the feta to make it vegan or use gluten free pasta if needed. Either way, it’s an easy entree sure to pelase!

Sun Dried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Feta. A healthy vegetarian dinner on the table in just 30 minutes!

Sun Dried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Feta
 
Prep time
Total time
 
This whole grain sun dried tomato and roasted red pepper pasta with feta is a healthy vegetarian dinner on the table in just 30 minutes!
Author:
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • 1 red pepper, roasted and peeled (about ¾ cup)
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp + ⅛ tsp salt
  • 12 oz whole grain pasta
  • 4 oz feta cheese
  • 2-3 cups baby arugula
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, combine the sun dried tomatoes, roasted red pepper, pine nuts, olive oil, and salt. Run the food processor until it is a paste, but still has some small chunks in it.
  2. Toss the paste with your favourite cooked pasta noodle and divide into bowls. Top with crumbled feta cheese and fresh baby arugula

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Whole Wheat Flax Baked Chicken Fingers

This whole wheat flax baked chicken fingers recipe is a healthy twist on your childhood favourite. This delicious dinner is sure to be a hit with your whole family!

Whole wheat flax baked chicken fingers - a healthy twist on your childhood favourite. This delicious dinner is sure to be a hit with your whole family!

As a dietitian, I’m used to getting a lot of resistance to healthy eating.

“It’s boring.”

“It doesn’t taste good.”

“It’s bland.”

It’s then that I have to do a little deeper digging to find out exactly what their perception of healthy eating is – because healthy eating as I know it is far from boring! But it turns out a lot of people think healthy food means plain baked chicken with plain steamed vegetables, or something along those lines.

Well… that sounds boring to me too!

But luckily healthy eating doesn’t have to be like that. Healthy eating doesn’t even have to mean giving up your favourite foods – it just means tweaking them a little, like I did with these whole wheat flax baked chicken fingers.

Whole wheat flax baked chicken fingers - a healthy twist on your childhood favourite. This delicious dinner is sure to be a hit with your whole family!

I remember back in my university days I used to love the chicken fingers at the evening snack bar. So a few years ago I gave myself the challenge of creating a healthier version that still satisfied me like those cafeteria chicken fingers did. I swapped out the deep frying for baking, replaced the white breading with whole wheat breadcrumbs and flax, and probably cut down on the sodium by more than 75%! The result was these whole wheat flax baked chicken fingers that were a hit on all my taste testers!

On my chicken finger quest, I also discovered the secret to making them truly delicious: buttermilk. Buttermilk helps to tenderize the meat, giving it this wonderfully soft texture like all the best chicken fingers have. If you don’t have buttermilk, a combination of Greek yogurt mixed with milk works just as well. Either way, don’t skip this step.

The tender meat and crispy coating come together to make these whole wheat flax baked chicken fingers reminiscent of the fast food ones from your childhood but with a healthy twist. This is how I like to do healthy food – and it’s far from boring!

Whole wheat flax baked chicken fingers - a healthy twist on your childhood favourite. This delicious dinner is sure to be a hit with your whole family!

Whole Wheat Flax Baked Chicken Fingers
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These whole wheat flax baked chicken fingers are a healthy twist on your childhood favourite. A great recipe sure to please your whole family!
Author:
Yield: 2-3 servings
Ingredients
  • Two 5-6 oz chicken breasts
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅓ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
Instructions
  1. Cut your chicken breasts into 3-4 long strips. Place in a large Ziploc bag with 1 cup of buttermilk and let soak in the fridge for about 3-4 hours.
  2. Mix together the bread crumbs, ground flaxseed, garlic powder, chili powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Whisk the egg in another bowl and put the flour in a third bowl.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375°F and get out a large baking sheet and spray it with olive oil, or whatever cooking spray you have on hand.
  5. Remove a chicken strip from the bag and shake off any excess buttermilk. Place in the flour bowl and turn it over so it gets coated. Then dip it in the egg and turn it over so that it gets coated. Shake off any excess egg then coat it in the breadcrumb-flax mixture. Place it on the baking sheet then repeat with the rest of the strips.
  6. When all the chicken strips are on the baking sheet, place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Flip over all the pieces then bake for another 10 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 165°F.
  7. Serve your chicken fingers with ketchup or your favourite dipping sauce!

What’s your favourite recipe that’s a healthier version of a not-so-healthy dish? 

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