Lightened-Up Veggie Lasagna

standard February 8, 2017 Leave a response

While I am all for all the veggies all the time, pregnancy has made me rethink ways to include veggies into meals. Especially during my veggie boycott phase, where raw or cooked veggies on their own were just not appetizing. Many of us also have picky kids or picky spouses, so getting creative with their veggie intake is always a challenge. The best way to sneak in veggies? Puree them and stir them into delicious sauces, such as Sneaky Shells and Cheese or Pumpkin Alfredo. Another way? Blended into delicious, creamy, rich lasagna. The other benefit of sneaking in all these veggies? Fewer calories and more volume!

There is a layer of sautéed greens and mushrooms in this dish, but if your family doesn’t like either, blend them up with the rest of the veggies and stir them into the sauce. You can also add in crumbled seitan or tempeh for an extra protein boost. Or swap tofu for the cashews in the cheese sauce.

Lightened-Up Lasagna

Yield: Serves 6

Calories per serving: 421 kcal


  • 1 c cashews
  • 1 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 c winter squash
  • 1 c broccoli
  • 1/2 c carrots
  • 1 c mushrooms
  • 4 c spinach or kale
  • 32 oz crushed tomatoes with basil
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 16 oz dry lasagna noodles (I used the no-cook variety to save some time)


  1. Soak cashews in 1 c water overnight. Alternatively, soak in 1 c boiling water for 30-60 minutes. Drain and rinse cashews.
  2. In a high speed food processor, combine cashews, almond milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic powder, and a pinch of sea salt. Process until smooth. Pour into a container and set aside. Rinse out blender.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add squash, broccoli and carrots and saute until soft. Blend veggies with 1/2 c crushed tomatoes in a high speed blender until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in remaining crushed tomatoes. Set aside.
  4. In same saucepan, add mushrooms and cook until softened and water is released. Add spinach and let wilt. Season with italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. In a 9x13 casserole dish, thinly spread 1/4 tomato mixture. Place one layer of noodles on top of sauce. Next add another 1/4 tomato sauce, followed by 1/2 of the spinach and mushrooms. Top with a 1/3 cashew sauce.
  7. Repeat with another layer of noodles, 1/4 tomato sauce, remaining 1/2 spinach and mushrooms, and 1/3 cashew sauce.
  8. For final layer, add noodles, remaining tomato sauce, and cashew sauce. Swirl sauces together, making sure all noodles are covered.
  9. Cover and bake for 30 minutes until bubbly and starting to brown at edges.


Per serving: 421 calories, 68 g carbohydrate, 11 g fat, 14 g protein, 273 mg sodium, 6 g sugar

Seasonal Eats: Mushrooms

standard February 6, 2017 Leave a response

With a wide assortment of varieties, mushrooms are a versatile veggie staple. From the standard white button to the uniquely shaped oyster or maitake, they all provide an array of nutrients and health benefits. Easily found year round, these hearty and flavorful fungi are perfect for winter meals, lending bulk, meatiness, and depth to casseroles, stews, and pasta.


One cup of sliced white button mushrooms contains 15 calories, 2 g carbohydrates, zero fat, and 2 g protein. Yup, its tiny, but there is a bit of protein in this little, overlooked vegetable. Over 5% DV of riboflavin, niacin, copper, potassium, selenium, and phosphorus can be found in this same single cup. Mushrooms also contain thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin D, folate, and iron.


Mushrooms are particularly rich in selenium and copper, compared to other vegetables, providing antioxidant properties and aiding in red blood cell production. This allows these fungi to be beneficial in providing immunity support to the body.

While low in calories and fat, mushrooms are dense and filling, allowing them to be a terrific addition to any weight management diet. Their high nutrient content also means that for little calories, they provide a lot of health benefits.

Mushrooms are also unique in that they are the only vegetable with a significant amount of vitamin D. Most of us get vitamin D through sun exposure, which can be difficult in the dreary winter months. Vitamin D works with calcium to strengthen bones, promote bone growth, aid in immunity protection, and support brain health.


Add some mushrooms to your winter menu with these hearty and flavorful dishes:

Mushrooms, raw. USDA Food and Nutrient Database.
Vitamin D. National Institute of Health.

Weekly Menu: Freezer Classics

standard January 30, 2017 Leave a response

One of my goals this month before baby came was to pack my freezer with healthy meals and snacks for easy thawing and eating at all hours of the day. I batch cooked meals little by little on the weekends, freezing in individual portions to maximize freezer space and allow for quick heating and eating. My goal was to make things that could be eaten with one hand or eaten quickly, meals that my family and friends can heat up and prepare easily for me if needed, and foods that were packed with nutrition and nourishment. I also made sure to include plenty of breakfasts, smoothies, snacks, and lunch foods, in addition to traditional dinner or entree meals. For anyone else looking to do the same, here are some of my blog favorites that fit these criteria.




Snacks & Dessert