Noodleless Veggie Lasagna

I have always loved my mom’s veggie lasagna, filled with zucchini, tomato and a plethora of other colorful veggies. When I came across a recipe for veggie lasagna without noodles, I knew I had to try it out of curiosity. Aren’t noodles a defining factor of lasagna? While the end product was not comparable to my mom’s lasagna, it’s brilliant colors and perfect flavors make a wonderful warm meal.

The recipe was greatly adapted to accommodate for personal taste preferences and to play with some different flavors.

Noodleless Veggie Lasagna

Ingredients:

> 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
> 2 cans cremini mushrooms, drained, trimmed and sliced
> 5 cloves garlic, chopped
> 1 pound spinach
> 1 can cannellini beans, drained
> 1 can diced plum tomatoes, drained
> 6 ounces ricotta cheese (optional)
> salt and pepper

Instructions:

Heat a small nonstick skillet over high heat, and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add half the mushrooms, and saute, stirring occasionally  until mushrooms are golden brown and tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and repeat with second half of mushrooms.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a skillet, and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add garlic and a dash of salt, cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute. Raise heat to medium-high, and add 1/2 cup water. Add half of the spinach, and cook until wilted, about 1 minutes. Add remaining spinach, and cook until spinach is wilted and tender.

Preheat oven to 375°. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to bottom of a 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Spread half tomatoes in baking dish, and top with half of spinach. Spread half of the beans over the spinach, and scatter evenly with three-quarters of the mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Continue layering with a third of the tomatoes, the remaining spinach, and a quarter of the beans. Spread the ricotta cheese, if desired. Repeat layering to finish off ingredients.

Bake until tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Turn on broiler, and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Whole Living.

Noodleless Veggie Lasagna 3

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Vegetable and Chickpea Curry

To celebrate the start of spring, I had a potluck dinner with friends, each bringing a yummy dish to share. As the hostess, I decided to make the entree. Others brought roasted broccoli, a spinach salad, bacon-wrapped dates, chocolate-covered matzoh and cookie brownies. To add some protein and flavor, I made a vegetable curry with chickpeas. Since curries can take a lot of time and patience to make, the crock-pot was my best friend, since I threw all the ingredients in and let it cook.

Alternate vegetables may be substituted. To change the consistency of the curry, add more vegetable broth to make it more soupy and less for a thicker sauce. The curry can be enjoyed on top of brown rice, combined with sweet potatoes or solo.

Vegetable Curry Stew 2

Ingredients:

> 1 head cauliflower, divided into bite-size pieces
> 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
> 1 cup baby carrots
> 1/2 cup chopped onion
> 1 14-ounce can vegetable broth
> 3 teaspoons curry powder
> 1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
> cooked brown rice

Instructions:

In a crock-pot, combine cauliflower, chickpeas, carrots and onion. Stir in broth and curry powder.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 hours, or on high-heat setting for 3 hours.

Stir in coconut milk after letting it sit for 5 hours. Spoon rice into bowls, and serve curry on top.

Makes 6 servings.

Adapted from  Fitness Magazine.

Classic Granola

Many mornings I wake up to have the same breakfast: oatmeal or Greek yogurt. Eating the same thing over and over again can put you in a breakfast slump, so I decided to make granola to give my Greek yogurt some pizzazz. So many chefs and foodies out there have developed their own recipes for granola, so it was hard to choose among them. I chose one that was simple and classic, perfect for creating a yogurt parfait so as to not dominate the flavor of the yogurt. Enjoy this granola atop yogurt, as a cereal or by the handful.

A gluten-free version can be made by using gluten-free oats.

Classic Granola

Ingredients:

> 2 cups rolled oats
> 1 1/2 teaspoons butter, melted
> 1/4 cup honey
> 1/4 cup slivered almonds
> 1/4 cup dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, etc.)
> dash of salt

Instructions: 

Preheat oven to 300°. In a large bowl, stir together rolled oats, butter, honey, salt, almonds and dried fruit.

Spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 30 to 35 minutes, stirring halfway through. Be sure to keep an eye on the granola, as the oats burn easily.

Makes 8 servings.

Adapted from Oprah.com.

 

If you have any tasty granola recipes, share them in the comments section!

Caramelized Chickpeas

After a hiatus from sweets and baking, swellsweets is back with new recipes to share. Beans are a wonderful staple to keep in your pantry, not only for adding to salads and stir-frys, but also for baking. Chickpeas are one of my favorite beans. I’m so addicted to them that sometimes I go through two or three cans a week. So why not make chickpeas sweet? After all, they contain loads of protein and fiber, along with other health benefits. So dive in and give these a try.

Caramelized Chickpeas

The recipe was taken from Whole Living.

~ 2 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
~ 1/4 cup honey
~ 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
~ coarse salt and black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Spread chickpeas on a baking sheet and roast until dry, about 30  minutes.
2. In a medium bowl, combine honey, oil and a dash of salt and pepper.

Chickpeas can burn quickly, so be sure to pay attention to the roasting. These chickpeas can be enjoyed as an appetizer or dessert by the handful, or as a cereal with milk or yogurt.