How to Use Squash Instead of Pasta in Lasagna

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Amp up the nutritional value of traditional lasagna and lower the calorie count by substituting squash for the pasta. When you add a cheesy filling, zesty sauce and savory seasonings, you won't miss the noodles. You also save time since the squash doesn't have to be pre-cooked like pasta. Plus, you save money because you don't need as much sauce as you would when you use the ready-to-bake lasagna pasta.

Select the Squash

  • Summer squash is a better choice for lasagna than hard-shelled winter squash like butternut or acorn. You don't have to peel summer squash, and it's easier to slice lengthwise that mimic lasagna noodles. Scrub the squash to remove any debris, and slice it no thicker than 1/4-inch. Sprinkle the slices liberally with salt to draw out some of the moisture from the squash. Run your thumb and forefinger down the strips, squeezing out additional moisture. Rinse your squash to remove the excess salt and pat dry. Too much liquid makes for watery lasagna, so don't skip the salting step. Yellow, green and variegated summer squash, also called zucchini, is suitable for lasagna.

White or Red Sauce

  • A red tomato-based sauce is the classic sauce for lasagna. Use marinara, spaghetti or even a zippy pizza sauce. Another alternative is to amp up plain tomato sauce with garlic and onion powder, dried oregano, basil and fennel seeds. White sauce brings out the colors of the vegetables, and Alfredo sauce used for the classic dish fettuccine Alfredo is suitable for vegetable lasagna. Make your own white sauce by combining equal amounts butter and flour with half-and-half: A good ratio is 1 tablespoon each flour and butter to 1 cup of half-and-half.

Cheese It Up

  • Lasagna wouldn't be lasagna without cheese. Ricotta cheese is used as part of the filling, but you can also use drained cottage cheese. Mix in some Parmesan cheese with the cheese filling. If you've forgotten to buy ricotta cheese, but have whole milk in the refrigerator, you can make the cheese yourself. Heat milk until it forms bubbles around the edges. Add in an acid such as white vinegar and continue heating. The milk will separate into curds -- the cheese -- and whey -- the liquid. Drain the curds, and you have ricotta cheese.

Various Vegetables

  • Squash doesn't have to be the only vegetable in your lasagna. Pair the squash with layers of drained frozen spinach, bright orange and yellow sweet peppers, and red onions for color contrast. You don't have to cook any of the vegetables before you use them; they'll cook as the lasagna bakes.

Luscious Layers

  • Create layer upon layer of flavor, colors and textures. Drizzle olive oil into the lasagna pan, and spread the oil on the bottom and sides of the inside of the pan. Divide the sauce into four parts and the cheese into two parts. Start with sauce, then add a layer of squash and additional vegetables. Add one part of the sauce and another layer of squash; layer on half of the cheese and one more part sauce. Finish with squash, the rest of the cheese and a final layer of squash. Cover the top with the remaining sauce, and sprinkle grated Romano, Parmesan and or mozzarella cheese on the lasagna. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes until the squash and other vegetables are tender, and the sauce is bubbly.

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