Healthy Chicken Lasagna
by Amber Pankonin, Registered Dietitian, Beginning Well, Lincoln, Nebraska
To make traditional lasagna healthier, Registered Dietitian Amber Pankonin substitutes ground beef for ground Smart Chicken and uses reduced-fat versions of the ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. This recipe also uses less garlic salt and shredded Parmesan cheese to reduce the sodium content, and swaps regular lasagna noodles for whole-grain.
- 12 whole-grain lasagna noodles, prepared according to package directions
- 1 pound ground Smart Chicken
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup finely chopped white onion
- 1 (24-ounce) jar traditional marinara sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 (15-ounce) container part-skim ricotta
- 2 cups shredded Italian 5 cheese blend
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- 2 cups 2% milk shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large saucepan, cook the ground chicken over medium heat. Once chicken is fully cooked, add garlic and onions and cook until soft. Then stir in the marinara sauce, basil, and oregano. Bring to a boil and let simmer 5 to 10 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, combine ricotta cheese, Italian 5 cheese blend, eggs, and garlic salt and mix well. Set aside.
After greasing a 13 x 9 baking dish, spread ½ cup of the sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.
Top with 4 lasagna noodles, overlapping the noodles so they cover the entire pan. Spread 1 cup of the sauce over the noodles, followed by half of the ricotta cheese mixture and ¼ cup of the shredded Parmesan cheese. Repeat with another layer of noodles, sauce, ricotta, and Parmesan. For the final layer, add the last 4 lasagna noodles and top with remaining sauce. Then sprinkle 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese and then ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving and garnish with fresh chopped basil leaves (optional).