My favorite dish to make for company is a doctored-up version of a Weight Watchers recipe for tomato and roasted red pepper lasagna.
OK, I was so skeptical when I first saw this recipe…and I followed it exactly, only adding some mushrooms and onions to the tomato sauce. It was wonderful.
And each time I’ve made it since then, I’ve changed something. Sometimes it wasn’t quite as good (zucchini and summer squash), sometimes it was absolutely sublime (tonight’s version with turkey meatballs and an egg instead of substitute).
It reheats well, too, which is always good because I absolutely hate cooking on Monday nights. So I usually make this lasagna on Sunday night and we eat it once or twice more throughout the week.
If you want the original recipe, click here. But from here on, I will tell you how I make mine. It’s so easy, it’s so filling, it’s pretty healthy. And it’s so delicious (I promise).
The best part is you can switch up the ingredients. Don’t like mushrooms? Use green peppers or zucchini. Want to add some meat? Go for it. Tonight’s lasagna featured some Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs (freezer section), about 1/2 – 3/4 of a bag. I cut them up small and added them to the sauce. Phenomenal!
I think I’ll just call this lasagna “My Trader Joe’s Lasagna” because I get everything I need there.
My Trader Joe’s Tomato and Pepper Lasagna (modified from Weight Watchers)
24 oz marinara sauce, store-bought (I always use the simplest marinara I can find – usually Tomato and Basil marinara from Trader Joe’s)
1 cup(s) canned diced tomatoes, fire-roasted, drained (again, TJ’s has some delicious fire-roasted tomatoes)
sliced mushrooms (up to you how many you add – I usually use 1/2 to 3/4 of a container)
1 onion, chopped
a clove or two of garlic, minced
1/2 bag of fresh baby spinach
1 cup(s) fat-free ricotta cheese (ahem, TJ’s)
1 cup(s) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheeses (and extra for sprinkling on top!)
1 cup(s) shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup(s) fat-free egg substitute (or 1 egg, beaten)
1/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried oregano (I use a little more)
dash of crushed red pepper (optional)
9 item(s) dry lasagna noodles, regular or whole-wheat (TJs!)
1/2 cup(s) roasted red peppers, water-packed, cut into thin strips (TJs!)
- Saute some sliced mushrooms, onion and garlic in a little bit of olive oil until mushrooms are almost cooked.
- In a small pot, combine marinara sauce and tomatoes; throw in a dash or two of crushed red peppers (if you like a little spice) add mushroom mix and and simmer for 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses; stir to combine. I find that using the back of a spoon works well to break up the ricotta. Stir in egg ( or substitute), salt, pepper and oregano.
- Spoon 1 cup of sauce in bottom of an 11- X 7-inch glass baking dish.
- Arrange 2 lasagna noodles over sauce, down center of dish. Take another lasagna noodle and snap it in half – put one half below each of the full-length noodles. (So you are using 3 noodles per layer.) If it breaks awkwardly, it’s OK. It doesn’t have to be exact. Nobody will ever know!
- Spread half of cheese mixture (about 1 cup) over noodles; top with pepper strips and a layer of fresh baby spinach. Pile a lot of spinach on…it shrinks a ton!
- Place 3 more noodles on top; spread with remaining cheese mixture.
- Top with 1 cup of marinara sauce; place remaining 3 lasagna noodles on top.
- Spoon remaining sauce over top and gently press down on lasagna.
- Cover dish loosely with aluminum foil; bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove from oven and remove foil. I sprinkle some mozzarella on top at this point because cheese is awesome.
- Bake until sauce is lightly browned and noodles are tender when tested with a knife, about 10 to 15 minutes more.
- Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes to firm up slightly. Slice into 8 pieces and serve.