Garden Spinach and Zucchini Chicken Lasagna
Yields: servings 6 – 8 Prep Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 1 hour
This garden vegetable and chicken lasagna is loaded with fresh vegetables and a depth of flavor from herbs and marinara sauce. Cheese and noodles are the bonus to this delicious and wholesome lasagna, making it a family favorite! Chicken can be omitted for a vegetarian dish.
9 whole wheat lasagna sheets (or gluten free)
1 medium zucchini (about 1 cup), diced
3/4 cup frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
1 chicken breast (about 1/2 pound), diced
1 clove garlic, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup whole fat cottage cheese
3/4 cup shredded cheese mix, plus 1/4 cup for the top
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup for the top
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup of your favorite marinara sauce
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Boil lasagna noodles according to directions and set aside.
2. In a sauté pan, cook chicken, zucchini, spinach, salt, oregano, onion powder, and garlic powder with a 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Sauté until chicken is cooked through and vegetables have softened.
3. In a bowl, combine the egg, cottage cheese, and 1 1/4 shredded cheese and mix well. Set aside.
4. In a pan (I used a Le Creuset 9” by 12” dish - not pictured in all of the photos below), spread 1/2 tablespoon olive oil on the bottom of the pan with about 1 to 2 tablespoons of sauce.
5. Begin layers, starting with the noodles (I used about 3 noodles per layer). Add about 3 tablespoons of sauce, then about 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture, followed by ¼ cup of the chicken and vegetable mixture. Repeat layering with noodles, sauce, cheese and chicken.
5. Top with final layer and sprinkle half a cup of cheese (suggested 1/4 cup cheese blend and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese) over the top.
6. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes.
It was one of those nights. 4:30 was approaching, and I had no idea what to make for dinner. Frozen pizza had been done (and done) for the week, and I wanted something fresh and warm. A bonus would be something that brought minimal complaints from the peanut gallery as well.
I had some spinach, zucchini, and some leftover pasta sauce. Putting it all together, this Garden Vegetable and Chicken Lasagna was born!
It was pretty simple to pull together, and you could always substitute different vegetables that are on hand. My kids don’t always go for onions in a dish. It all depends on their moods, and I wasn’t chancing it on this one. My personal preference would be to add some diced onion, but I didn’t for this version, keeping it neutral for the family.
My middle child is my picky one. She is picky about taste and texture, and she’s not afraid to walk away from the table for the night if she doesn’t like dinner. However, equally surprising, is she loves pungent (ie: fresh pesto) foods.
Anyway, I have to be mindful of her with cheese. Yes, cheese. The salty, savory food that goes with everything – this child is very particular about melted cheese. Lucky for me, she scarfed this down. Zucchini used to be more of an issue, but we just kept serving it and serving it, requesting she try it at least once. Now, she’s a fan. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way.
I have made this two different ways and using no-boil noodles and alternatively, uncooked noodles that require boiling prior to using (which is what this recipe follows). Again, depending on your preference (and time constraints), you could use either. No boil noodles are a little drier, and often do well with a little bit of chicken or vegetable stock poured over the top before cooking.
*Updated August 20, 2016. Originally published January 20, 2016.