But it's delicious.
And in the heart of January when its chilly and you want something hearty and warm it definitely calls your name.
Traditional lasagna is usually made with ground beef which yes is a protein, however not the clean protein that keeps your heart and your digestive system healthy. A study from Harvard Medicine shows replacing red meat with ANY other protein reduces your risk of both heart disease and cancer. Replacing it with nuts and beans had the greatest reduction rates.
So today's Meatless Monday recipe gives you all the flavour and feeling of a hearty lasagna without the red meat, dairy or gluten. Brown rice noodles replace traditional noodles and I feel they cook beautifully. I used the "no cook" ones because I was short on time, feel free to boil them first if you prefer. The meat is replaced with lentils and cannellini beans for clean iron, protein and fibre (more than you will ever get from ground beef) and the mozzarella is replaced with Daiya cheese which is a vegan cheese and honestly pretty good.
"What you do today can improve all your tomorrows"
Clean Protein Lasagna
1/2 cup of lentils, rinsed and drained
1/2 white onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp oregano
Fresh ground pepper and sea salt
2 28 oz cans of organic crushed tomatoes
15 fresh basil leaves, torn
1 can organic cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3 crimini mushrooms, sliced and halved
1/2 bell pepper, chopped (colour of your choice)
1 12oz package of oven ready brown rice lasagna noodles
3 cups loosely packed spinach
2 1/2 cups shredded Daiya mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 350.
Place the lentils in a small pot and cover them with a couple inches of water. Cook them on low heat for about 30 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. This will give you strong (not mushy) lentils.
In a large pot sauté the onion and garlic with the olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper and basil and let simmer for 15 minutes. Add in the bell pepper, mushrooms, cannellini beans, mushrooms and cooked lentils and simmer for another 10 - 15 minutes.
Line the bottom of your lasagna pan (I use an 11" x 15" glass one which gave me three layers of noodles) with noodles so that they cover the bottom of the pan put do not overlap.
Cover the noodles with the tomato veggie sauce. If you are using the no cook noodles make sure you evenly cover all the noodles. Layer spinach leaves over top of the sauce. Sprinkle a little Daiya cheese on top of the spinach and then repeat this step. on the final layer of noodles only cover with sauce and sprinkled cheese.
Bake the lasagna in the oven for 30 minutes covered with tin foil and then 30 minutes uncovered until it is bubbling and the top is a bit crispy.
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