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.
I 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.
I 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)
- Cook the noodles according to package directions. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350.
- 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.
- Place ricotta, beans and sun dried tomatoes in a food processor or high speed blender; process until smooth.
- 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.
- Top with 3 more noodles, then the ricotta mixture. Layer on another 3 noodles.
- Spread remaining sauce over noodles; sprinkle with cheese.
- Cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes.
- 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.