I’d just like to say thank you to my food cravings. Honestly, if I wasn’t the type of person with such strong cravings I wouldn’t be as inspired to hop into the kitchen and make stuff. The craving thing does have a down side…you know, cravings, so when I have a hankerin’ for sweets, I also generally end up concocting something in the kitchen to fix the sweet tooth or worse, trying new Ben and Jerry’s flavors like chubby hubby. Anywho, I’m usually on the lookout for healthier versions of the food I love or at least trying to make something a bit healthier and just as tasty. This goes hand in hand with my love of being a health and fitness coach and the fact that I love craft beer…gotta watch those calories. 😀 Life is about balance…
Back to the subject at hand, I’ve been craving Italian food. I ran through my mental craving checklist:
I didn’t want anything super heavy.
I wanted vegetarian (obviously).
I wanted something spicy.
I also wanted pesto.
Off to the kitchen to check what the fridge and pantry offer. I found some lasagna noodles, check. Oooh! Fire roasted diced tomatoes, mmm. Then it occurred to me how much I love minced mushrooms and spinach (not sure why at that moment I came to that realization but there you have it).
Later that day I was on the stationary bike when my exercise epiphany brought my food craving idea to completion: Lasagna Rolls with Arrabiata Sauce!! I planned for 3 nights since I don’t like leftovers more than 3 nights in a row and added it to my meal planner for the week.
Ingredients: (makes 8-10 rolls)
8-10 lasagna noodles
1 pkg baby spinach, chopped
4 oz mini bellas, minced
1 pkg organic silken tofu, I lightly rinsed it
2 Tbl pesto (if you want to go vegan, make vegan pesto. I didn’t have the stuff & forgot to add it to my list)
Dash sea salt
Dash black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
**I didn’t add the following but when I make it again, I will:
~ 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes, NOT drained
2 tsp EVOO
3 shallots, minced
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 Tbl lemon juice
1/2 Tbl sugar
1/4 cup dry red wine
1-2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 Tbl Italian seasoning or 1 Tbl fresh basil/oregano, minced
1 Tbl tomato paste
And we’re off!
Fire up a big pot of salted water. Once it’s boiling, add about 4 lasagna noodles at a time. Only cook for 3-4 minutes! Then, place the noodles on a piece of foil that has been sprayed lightly with Pam or the like. Don’t worry, the noodles will finish cooking in the oven, you just want them pliable. 🙂
Next, you should know that I cheat when I blanch spinach. I chop it, dump it in a colander, fire up the tea pot and pour boiling water over my spinach. Then drain and lightly dab with paper towel to remove some moisture. Honestly, works fabulously!
Get your sauce going:
Heat the EVOO over med heat. Add the shallots and garlic, saute a few minutes until soft. Then add the rest of the goodies, stir well. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste and add a bit of sea salt if desired.
It’s filling time and you might as well get that oven preheating to 425F!
Place your tofu in a large bowl. Whisk it. Add your pesto, whisk some more. Add your spinach and minced mushrooms…yup, whisk some more until well combined. If you’re going to use nutritional yeast, add it with the pesto.
Now is the super fun part, putting it all together.
Place 1/2 of your sauce in a glass baking dish.
Then, spread your filling onto each of your lasagna rolls and roll ’em up. Placing them in the dish over the sauce.
Pour the rest of the sauce over the top of the noodles and bake for 25-30 minutes.
I also steamed green beans and sprinkled sea salt, black pepper and nutritional yeast over the top.
NOW, pour yourself a glass of delish white or red wine, you totally earned it!
I think you’ll find this recipe pretty darn easy and fast. It’s my style 🙂 I love cooking but I don’t have a lot of time, check that, I don’t make a lot of time to cook extravagant or complicated meals (though I totally should more often). If you try it and change it up a bit, please share! This is the first time making it and I’d love to hear what you do with it.