Iron Woman Lasagna


It was bound to happen. I’ve been a vegetarian for 18 years now and have never had any trouble with a classic no-meat worry: Iron. And then, last week at my 30-week check up–BOOM. Low iron.

Iron PillsI should have known. I was feeling sluggish, had horrible dark circles under my eyes and my heart was skipping more beats than usual. (I have MVP, so I’m used to some irregularity.) I was getting out of breath too fast and my pretty pregnancy hair was starting to break. I blamed all this on the dreaded third trimester, but turns out it was my stupid iron levels. Baby Sprout, bless him, depleted my stores.

SpinachI have new iron pills which I’m not a big fan of. I’m taking them every other day for now, as they are hard on the stomach. In the meantime, I am on a mission to get my mojo back by packing my diet full of iron-rich food. So far, that’s meant oatmeal, dried beans, leafy greens, tempeh and blackstrap molasses.

Last night, I made lasagna that’s chock full of these iron-laden staples. In the recipe that follows, spinach, whole wheat noodles, nutritional yeast and white beans all bring a significant supply to the table. Oh, and it tastes good. Like reeeeealllly good. You’ll want to remember the white bean/ricotta/sun dried tomato combo and use it as dip for the Super Bowl.

The beans I used had a little rosemary infused and it gave them great kick. Feel free to add in a little to your blend for the same effect. Enjoy!

Iron Girl Lasagna

9 100% whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 cups yellow onion, chopped

2 cups mushrooms, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

6 ounces fresh baby spinach

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 cup ricotta cheese

1.5 cups cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (oil packed), drained

2.5 cups of your favorite pasta sauce, divided

2 cups shredded cheese (I used an Italian blend)

  1. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion and mushrooms; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Add spinach; cook until just wilted. Stir in the salt and pepper.
  3. Place ricotta, beans and sun dried tomatoes in a food processor or high speed blender; process until smooth.
  4. Spread 1 cup sauce in bottom of a 13×9 inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 noodles over sauce; top noodles with all of the spinach mixture. Sprinkle evenly with nutritional yeast.
  5. Top with 3 more noodles, then the ricotta mixture. Layer on another 3 noodles.
  6. Spread remaining sauce over noodles; sprinkle with cheese.
  7. Cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes.
  8. Turn on broiler (do not remove dish from oven). Uncover and broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

*I used Cooking Light’s Kale and Mushroom Lasagna as the base for these instructions. (Lasagna layers can be complex!) FYI, I made the vegetarian adaptation of that recipe last week and it was mighty fine.


Un-Brie-Lievable Root Veggie Mashers

Root Veggies

If you’ve read this blog for any time (thanks!) you know that I’m pretty intense when it comes to waste. I save apple peels for smoothies, vegetable scraps for broth and use cornbread crumbles as stuffing, and that’s just the beginning. I learned the frugality from my Gran.

With that “use it all” mentality, you can imagine my disdain when I looked in the company fridge and saw several barely touched wheels of brie hanging out after a holiday party. The cheese was way too fancy for it’s destiny of being ignored –>mold –>trash. And so I took some home with me and got to experimenting.

I love this cheesy combo of winter’s heartiest root veggies. It will feel familiar to mashed potato lovers, but boosts nutrition and fiber content. The lowered calorie count from these vegetables doesn’t hurt!

Root Veggie Mashers with Brie and Panko

1 medium turnip, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 medium rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

(for a total of 5 cups root veggies)

1/2 wedge of brie (which equals 4 oz), rind removed

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter

1/3 cup seasoned panko bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the root vegetables in a medium size pot. Cover them with cold water, then head over to the stove.

Bring the vegetables and water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low boil–just a few bubbles in the pot. Let them boil at this pace for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, shred the brie cheese with a box grater.

After 15 minutes, check your vegetables. They should be fork tender. Remove from heat and drain.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the brie, salt, pepper and coconut oil or butter. Pour the hot root veggies on top.

Use a hand mixer to blend the vegetables, cheese and spices. You want to get it relatively smooth and well integrated, but a few chunks are nice!

Transfer the root veggie mixture to a greased 1.5 quart casserole dish. (I think an 8×8 pan would work as well!) Top with the seasoned panko.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, until the casserole is warmed through, bubbly and the panko is lightly browned.