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Butternut Squash Lasagna
Butternut Squash Lasagna Erin McDowell

Lasagna is one of those foods you might be inclined to cross off your monthly menu. (The calories! The carbs!) But what if we told you there was a way to make it more diet-friendly by going heavy on the vegetables? Here, ribbons of butternut squash are subbed in for pasta, and garlicky spinach boosts the cheesy filling. Try adding roasted mushrooms or toasted walnuts for even more healthy oomph.

Makes 6 servings
Start to Finish: 2 hours

Ingredients

1 large butternut squash, peeled, halved and seeded

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

4 cups spinach

One 15-ounce container part-skim ricotta

2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

⅓ cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease a large casserole dish with nonstick spray.

2. Prepare the squash noodles: Cut off the lower third of the squash (the part where the seeds have been removed) and reserve for another use (see Finishing Touches, below). Slice the neck of the squash into long strips that resemble wide lasagna noodles, about ⅛ inch thick. It is helpful to use a mandoline, but a long slicing knife will also work.

3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the squash noodles until they’re slightly tender, 4 to 5 minutes, then gently remove the noodles with a slotted spoon.

4. Prepare the spinach: Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the onions and cook until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Add the spinach in batches, allowing it to cook down before adding more. Cook until all the spinach is wilted, 5 to 6 minutes.

5. In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta with the nutmeg and sage. Cover the bottom of the prepared casserole dish with a layer of squash noodles. Top with a third of the ricotta mixture and gently spread it evenly. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with half of the spinach mixture. Continue layering, and finish with a layer of squash, ricotta and a final drizzle of oil. Top with the mozzarella cheese.

6. Bake until the filling is bubbly and the mozzarella is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Finishing Touches

It's the details that count! Try these tips

  • Use your butternut squash scraps to make this tasty marinade.

  • Slicing the butternut squash pasta-thin is easier with a mandoline. We like this handheld one from OXO. The safety guard makes it a cinch to use, and it fits neatly in a drawer.

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