Lightened Up Cheesy Quinoa Lasagna Bake
Lasagna is an all-time classic comfort food, but not exactly lite.
A pound each of mozzarella, ricotta, ground beef, sausage, and noodles doesn’t work for me.
This lasagna bake is meatless, noodle-less, gluten-free, and uses just 8 ounces cheese for the whole pan. Use vegan cheese to keep it vegan rather than vegetarian.
I won’t say it tastes ‘just like lasagna’ but for me, that’s okay. Lasagna is way too heavy and I’ve never like ricotta anyway.
If you’re looking for an easy family vegetarian dinner that’s lighter, ready in 1 hour, makes planned leftovers, and is also budget-friendly, this one is for you.
The leftovers are even better because the flavors marry and have more time to develop.
To make it, cook the quinoa on the stove, which takes about 15 minutes. I used white quinoa. Use your favorite.
Transfer the cooked quinoa to a large mixing bowl and toss with your favorite jarred or homemade marinara sauce, shredded cheese, a tiny drizzle of olive oil, basil, salt and pepper. I used fresh basil, but dried is fine.
Transfer to a baking dish, bake for about 45 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and is golden, and the edges are set.
Dinner is ready in one hour from start to finish. Love that.
It’s hearty and comforting, but in a lighter way so you feel full and satisfied, but not stuffed or in a gluten and grease coma, which can happen after traditional lasagna.
My family loved this and I was happy knowing not only that it was healthy, but that I had leftovers to pack in lunches the next day.
It’s the simple things.
Lightened Up Cheesy Quinoa Lasagna Bake
Lasagna is an all-time classic comfort food, but not exactly lite. A pound each of mozzarella, ricotta, ground beef, sausage, and noodles doesn’t work for me. This lasagna bake is meatless, noodle-less, gluten-free, and uses just 8 ounces cheese for the whole pan. Use vegan cheese to keep it vegan rather than vegetarian. It’s hearty and comforting in a lighter way so you feel full and satisfied, but not stuffed or in a gluten and grease coma. This vegetarian, family-friendly dinner is ready in one hour, makes planned leftovers for lunches the next day, and is budget-friendly, too.
1 1/2 cups dry, uncooked quinoa
3 cups water
2 cups marina sauce (storebought or homemade)
8 ounces shredded cheese (use your favorite cheese blend; lite/reduced fat/vegan cheese okay), divided
2 tablespoons fresh or dried basil, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
- In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa with water, and heat uncovered over high heat until mixture comes to a boil.
- Turn stove to low or simmer, cover, and cook until all the water has evaporated and quinoa has cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and test a bite.
- While quinoa is cooking, preheat oven to 375F and spray a medium/large baking pan with cooking spray; set aside. I used this pan and recommend a 9×9-inch pan for thicker lasagna, or 9×13-inch pan for thinner.
- Transfer cooked quinoa to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the marinara sauce, about two-thirds of the cheese (reserve remainder to be sprinkled on before baking), 1 tablespoon basil (reserve remainder), olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
- Turn mixture out into prepared baking dish, smoothing it lightly with a spatula and pressing it down gently.
- Evenly sprinkle with reserved cheese and reserved basil.
- Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until cheese on top is golden and edges are slightly set. Baking times will vary based on the exact dimensions of your baking pan and personal preference. Serve immediately. Extra portion will keep airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
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