On a roll: Spinach lasagna takes out fat, keeps layers

January 17, 1996|By Charlotte Balcomb Lane | Charlotte Balcomb Lane,KNIGHT-RIDDER/TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

For millions of Americans, lasagna is heart-warming comfort food. Unfortunately, traditional lasagna, with its layers of meats or sausages, cheeses and sauce, is also tremendously high in fat.

This version of rolled spinach lasagna cuts the fat and calories but keeps the comfort.

Rolled spinach lasagna can be assembled in about half the time it takes to make a traditional lasagna. The filling requires no precooking and you can use any good-quality, store-bought pasta sauce as the topping. However, be sure you buy only brands that contain 1 gram or less of fat per serving.

Rolled spinach lasagna

Makes 12 rolls

1 (8-ounce) box dry lasagna noodles containing 12 individual noodles

nonstick cooking spray

2 (10-ounce) boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed

3 green onions, finely chopped

1 (15-ounce) container low-fat, low-sodium ricotta cheese

3 cloves garlic, crushed through a press or 1 teaspoon garlic powder

4 tablespoons fat-free grated Parmesan cheese topping

2 teaspoons dried basil leaves

1 teaspoon dried dill

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 cups low-fat, low-sodium pasta sauce made without meat

3 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or two 9-inch round pans with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Bring a large kettle of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook noodles according to package instructions, stirring occasionally. When the noodles are done, drain immediately and rinse under cold water. Lay the noodles flat on a cookie sheet and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray to prevent them from drying.

Squeeze the excess water out of the spinach. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the spinach, green onions, ricotta, garlic or garlic powder, Parmesan, basil, dill, salt and nutmeg. Puree until all ingredients are well mixed. Or, mix by hand in a large bowl.

Spread about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of spinach filling over each noodle and roll up each lengthwise like a pinwheel. Place seam-side-down in pans. Top with pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted.

Note: You can prepare the lasagna rolls up to three days before you bake them. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. The lasagna can also be frozen unbaked up to 3 months.

Per roll with sauce: 164 calories; 10 grams protein; 25.8 grams carbohydrate; 2.5 grams fat; 4 milligrams cholesterol; 524 milligrams sodium.

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