Combine your love of Italian food with a healthy serving of vegetables and cook-ahead convenience!
- 2 medium zucchini
- 1 medium eggplant
- Kosher salt
- 16 ounces tomato-based pasta sauce
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 16 ounces low-fat cottage cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 1 (8-oz) package part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese or provolone cheese, divided
- For serving: Parmesan cheese and freshly chopped herbs such as basil or parsley
- With a very sharp knife, slice the eggplant and zucchini length-wise into long, thin (1/4-inch) sections so they resemble lasagna noodles. Spread the vegetable slices out onto a kitchen towel or layers of paper towels and sprinkle them lightly with kosher salt. Let stand for 15 minutes to allow some of the excess liquid to drain off. Pat dry. Prepare the zucchini and eggplant according to one of the three methods below.
- GRILL METHOD: Preheat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to medium. Lightly coat the grill with canola oil, then grill the eggplant and zucchini strips until cooked and lightly brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.
- BROIL METHOD: Place the top oven rack about 5 inches from the upper heat element. Set the oven to broil at 500 degrees F. Arrange the zucchini and eggplant slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Lightly brush the slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Flip over the slices and repeat for the other side. Broil for 5-8 minutes, or until lightly brown, working in multiple batches as needed. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Place the slices on paper towels to remove excess moisture.
- NEITHER: Move ahead with the recipe—skip grilling or broiling the zucchini completely. The lasagna will have a lot of excess liquid around the veggie slices in the slow cooker, but if this doesn't bother you, you can scoop out the noodles and discard it.
- Lightly coat a 6-quart crock pot with nonstick spray. Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce on the bottom of the crock pot. In a small bowl, beat the cottage cheese together with the eggs.
- Create the first veggie lasagna layer in the crock pot as follows: 1 layer of eggplant "noodles"; one-third of the cottage cheese (about 2/3 cup); one-third of the bell peppers and onions; one-third of the mozzarella; 1/2 cup tomato sauce.
- Create the second veggie lasagna layer, this time using zucchini: 1 layer of zucchini "noodles"; one-third of the cottage cheese; one-third of the bell peppers and onions; one-third of the mozzarella; 1/2 cup of tomato sauce.
- Create the final layer: 1 layer of eggplant "noodles"; remaining cottage cheese; remaining bell peppers and onions; 1 layer of zucchini noodles; 1/2 cup tomato sauce; remaining mozzarella.
- Cover the crock pot and cook on high for 2-3 hours, until the eggplant is tender. To test, insert a long, thin knife into the lasagna and ensure the eggplant feels tender. Re-cover, turn off the slow cooker, and let stand until any remaining liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes-1 hour. (Note: if you did not grill or broil the vegetables first, you’ll have a lot of remaining liquid.) To serve, slice and scoop desired portions, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and herbs as desired.