No, there was no zucchini noodles lasagna or pasta lasagna on our dinner’s menu growing up in Ukraine. The closest I could get the taste of Italy was by hiding in a dark cold room with a knife and slicing leg of prosciutto my uncle brought from Italy. I still remember it vividly – bright red glossy leg hanging on a door. How can a 9 year old resist that?! So, now I know if I could slice food hanging in the air in the dark with a paring knife, my 9 year old can chop salads with a chef’s knife on a chopping board in a well lit kitchen. And he does, all the time.
My uncle worked at an Italian furniture manufacturing company. One of the first businesses appearing after the collapse of communism. He was considered middle class and often went on business trips to Italy from where he brought many Italian delicacies. I secretly was stealing them. Yep. My mom was a single mom and even cheese was a treat for us. We mainly survived on potatoes, jams and canning. You couldn’t buy anything imported even if you want to until mid 90s but even then it cost an arm and a leg.
So, I was steeling my uncle’s cheese too. He didn’t share and I got tired of waiting. We shared 3 bedroom apartment between 3 families, so fridge, bathroom and kitchen were common areas. So, I could get creative and sneak others’ food. And I did because go figure who out of 12 people did it. I do not remember other Italian treats but that prosciutto is a vivid memory. I still love prosciutto and bananas to death. Alex doesn’t get it but I can eat both in huge amounts.
Now, I could make lasagna all I want. When people ask me “Why did you move here?”, I think “Oh boy, where do I begin?! How can I explain so you understand?!”. So, I just say “For a better life” but inside I’m thinking “So, my local news headlines say “SaskTel worker helps rescue owl with a broken wing” and “Heartbroken racoon tries to wake up dead friend on a Toronto street”. By the way, later on Toronto residents created a memorial for a dead racoon. I would much rather wake up to news like this than a half empty fridge!
So, I could make lasagna but I rarely do for some unknown reason. I don’t know, I make zucchini lasagna but very rarely I make pasta lasagna (slow cooker roasted red pepper lasagna and chicken lasagna roll ups with artichoke).
I was on a mission of creating another zucchini noodles recipe and thought of lasagna. A stovetop zucchini noodles lasagna since everyone seems to be making anything oven on a stovetop and desserts in a slow cooker. Some hacks I totally get, they are genius. Stovetop lasagna is one of them. In my case, with zucchini noodles and white navy beans.
I didn’t have my own cooked white beans so I bought Eden Organic in BPA free can. Man, I paid $4.19!!! No, I really know why I cook my own beans (=> how to cook dried beans). They are optional, and so is the meat. So, you could really make this zucchini noodles lasagna all vegetarian or meat only and no beans.
I added a cup of water which made lasagna more soup-y but it is up to you how you like it. Enjoy this healthy 30 minute dinner! Oh, and for extra hungry people I cooked whole wheat pasta on a side and served this more of a sauce on top.
- 2 large zucchini, spiralized
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tsp coconut or avocado oil, divided
- 1 lb ground meat (chicken, turkey, bison or extra lean beef)
- 2 cups pasta sauce, organic*
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 11 oz baby spinach (1 box)
- 17 oz tub cottage cheese
- 14 oz can white navy beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup water (optional)
- Salt, ground black pepper & Parmesan cheese, to taste (I used a pinch of each)
- Preheat dutch oven on low-medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add onion and garlic; cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add ground meat and cook until browned a bit, breaking into pieces and stirring.
- Add pasta sauce, balsamic vinegar and baby spinach in batches. Stir and add more spinach; cook until spinach is wilted, a few minutes. Add cottage cheese and beans; stir gently, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add zucchini noodles, cover, turn off the heat and let lasagna sit for 5 minutes. Add water for thinner consistency if desired. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and adjust salt and pepper to taste, if necessary.
*Use flavoured one, like with herbs.
Nutritional Info (using beef)
Servings Per Recipe: 8
Amount Per Serving = 1.5 cups:
Total Fat: 13.0 g
Cholesterol: 57.7 mg
Sodium: 528.9 mg
Total Carbs: 18.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.9 g
Protein: 28.4 g
WW Points+: 8