Better Beef Lasagna

This crowd-pleaser is beefed up with veggies in every layer, portobello mushrooms in the meat, spinach in the cheese, and of course tomato sauce in between. No one will notice they're eating their vegetables, they'll be too busy devouring their cheesy beef lasagna.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 15 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 15 min
  • Yield: 6 (4x4-inch piece) servings
  • Nutrition Info
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Ingredients

12 ounces whole-grain lasagna noodles (15 noodles)

8 ounces lean ground beef (90% lean or higher)

2 teaspoons olive oil

8 ounces portobello mushrooms, diced (about 3 large mushroom caps)

1 teaspoon salt

4 cups Quick Marinara Sauce (1 1/2 recipes), recipe follows, or store-bought marinara

One 15-ounce container part-skim ricotta cheese

One 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pinch ground nutmeg

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

3 ounces grated part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 2/3 cup)

Quick Marinara Sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped 

4 cloves garlic, minced

One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (preferably no-salt-added)

1 teaspoon dried basil

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes 

1/2 teaspoon salt (if using no-salt-added tomatoes), or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cook the noodles al dente according to the directions on the package. Drain well, then lay out on wax paper to prevent them from sticking to each other.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until no longer pink, breaking up the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, about 3 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate, discarding any fat remaining in the skillet.
  4. Heat the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid is evaporated and they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Return the meat to the pan. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, stir in 2 cups of the tomato sauce, and simmer for 2 minutes.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, spinach, egg, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, the black pepper, and nutmeg.
  6. Spread 1 cup of the remaining tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Place a layer of lasagna noodles over the sauce, touching but not overlapping. Spread half of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles. Add another layer of noodles. Top with half the beef-mushroom mixture. Repeat with another layer of noodles, then the remaining cheese mixture, more noodles, the remaining beef mixture, and finally one more layer of noodles. Top the final layer of noodles with the remaining 1 cup tomato sauce, then sprinkle with the grated cheeses. Cover loosely with foil. Bake for 45 minutes, uncover, and bake 15 minutes more.

Quick Marinara Sauce:

Yield: 6 (1/2 cup) servings
  1. Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, basil, and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. 

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