6 October 2010

Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club Goes Vegetarian

Butternut Squash Lasagna

We are so glad you have decided to join us once again for our Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club. This is a monthly event where 5 ladies in two neighbouring countries get together to create a delicious meal with a theme in mind. We are now in our second year and continue to share a love for Cooking Light magazine which has an emphasis on healthy eating and living. The idea is simple because of our common interest in cooking and healthy cuisine. We love to share these ideas with you each and every month through our Virtual Supper Club. This is a team effort where we combine what Cooking Light readers like best...good food with great company!!! This month our theme was chosen by Shelby of The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch.

If you are thinking of making the switch to a vegetarian life-style for its health benefits, you’ll be pleased to find that there is a wonderful additional benefit to vegetarian eating. It’s a delicious and fun way to explore new foods. A vegetarian meal can be as familiar as spaghetti with marinara sauce, as comforting as a bowl of rich, potato soup, or as exotic as grilled polenta with portobello mushrooms. A vegetarian menu is a powerful and pleasing way to achieve good health.

Vegetarians avoid meat, fish, and poultry. Those who include dairy products and eggs in their diets are called lacto-ovo vegetarians. Vegans eat no meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or dairy products. I grew up with a dad who was lacto-ovo vegetarian so am quite familiar with the variety of dishes available, despite the fact that my dad continues to be a picky eater.

Long time member Jamie of Mom's Cooking Club started this months potluck menu with Candied Walnut, Pear and Leafy Green Salad. This is a refreshing choice Jamie with fall flavours a highlight in every bite.

Shelby of The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch was unable to make it this month since she has been in the throws of moving and beginning a new chapter in the lives of Grumpy and Honeybunch. We missed you Shelby.

Patsy of Family, Friends and Food wowed us with her choice of  Fusilli with Roasted Tomato Sauce . Oven-roasting tomatoes with garlic and herbs boosts the flavour in this meatless sauce and brings it into fall.

 Sandi of The Whistestop Cafe brought the finale of a fall-inspired Carrot Cake. Carrot cake has always been a favourite here at More Than Burnt Toast! Save me two pieces Sandi!

I brought along a twist on an old favourite. We have been experiencing a warmer than usual Indian summer in the past few weeks so summer is still lingering. That doesn't prevent me from enjoying all the fresh produce from our local farmers markets and fruit stands. Butternut squash is a favourite around here so it was inevitable that it would make its way into a potluck dish. The sweet squash contrasts beautifully with Smoky Marinara in this Butternut Squash Lasagna. You can make the marinara in advance, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. I twisted the recipe a little by omitting the onions in the spinach mixture, squeezing the spinach dry, chopping it and adding it to the ricotta mixture.

**Butternut Squash Lasagna**

Cooking spray
3 cups chopped onion
10 cup fresh spinach
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp provolone cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1 (15-ounce) carton part-skim ricotta cheese
1 (15-ounce) carton fat-free ricotta cheese
3 cups diced peeled butternut squash
6 cups Smoky Marinara
12 oven-ready lasagna noodles (such as Barilla)
1 cup (4 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion (if using); sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add spinach; sauté 1 1/2 minutes or until spinach wilts. (rinse under cold water and squeeze dry; chop finely) Combine provolone, parsley, salt, pepper, eggs, (chopped spinach) and ricotta cheeses in a large bowl.

Place squash in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and cook on high 5 minutes or until tender.(Cook in a pot for 10 -15 minutes until tender)

Coat the bottom and sides of 2 (8-inch-square) baking dishes with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup Smoky Marinara in the bottom of one prepared dish. Arrange 2 noodles over sauce; spread 1 cup cheese mixture over noodles. Arrange 1 1/2 cups squash over cheese mixture; spread 3/4 cup sauce over squash.

Arrange 2 noodles over sauce; spread 1 cup cheese mixture over the noodles. Arrange 1 1/2 cups onion mixture over cheese mixture; spread 3/4 cup sauce over spinach mixture.

Arrange 2 noodles over sauce; spread 1 cup Smoky Marinara evenly over noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan. Repeat procedure with remaining ingredients in remaining pan. Cover each pan with foil.

Bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes.

To freeze unbaked lasagna: Prepare through Step 6. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing to remove as much air as possible. Wrap with heavy-duty foil. Store in freezer for up to 2 months.

To prepare frozen unbaked lasagna: Thaw completely in refrigerator (about 24 hours). Preheat oven to 375º. Remove foil; reserve foil. Remove plastic wrap; discard wrap. Cover lasagna with reserved foil; bake at 375º for 1 hour. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Makes 2 lasagnas, 6 servings per pan

Smoky Marinara

Look for fire-roasted tomatoes in the organic section or with the canned tomatoes in your supermarket.

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 (28-ounce) can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, undrained

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, basil, parsley, and oregano; sauté 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in vinegar and remaining ingredients. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

6 cups (serving size: 1/2 cup)

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. Gorgeous Val! I LOVE butternut lasagna- it just says Fall. Off to check out the others
    xoxo Pattie

  2. That stack looks so good! I made a squash lasagna and sage was a wonderful herb in the mix.

  3. Val, what a fabulous vegetarian lasagna. Fire roasted tomatoes always make sauces sing.

  4. It's easy to cut back on the amount of meat in my diet when I see fantastic recipes like this. I've never made lasagna with butternut squash (my favorite) and know I'll love it.

  5. It's not so usual to cook with squash here in Spain... but I'm learning quickly, this dish looks gorgeous!

  6. Great roundup, ladies! This reminds me a little of another favorite Cooking Light vegetarian recipe of mine, the squash stuffed cannelloni.


    If you have a chance to make it you won't be disappointed!

  7. I am super impressed with your photo... of lasagna!! That is a skill in and of it self.
    The butternut lasagna looks great. I'll take a big portion of that~ thanks for bringing it to our virtual supper!

  8. This dish is visually beautiful--perfect for fall in both the colors and utilizing the fall/winter squash. It sounds so very delicious that one would hardly miss the meat.


  9. A beautiful light dish! Your lasagna look superb and so good.



  10. Wow! Your virtual dinner menu sounds wonderful. I have never made lasagne with butternut squash but I love butternuts so I am willing to try it. Yours looks superb!

  11. That looks amazingly good Val, I started drooling over it as soon as I saw the photo. The other entries sound fab too, so I am off to have a look, but I will definitely be bookmarking this one :)

  12. I have to say, Val, that this picture is really nice. What a great lasagna to bring for the Virtual Cooking Light Supper Club. xx

  13. Butternut is my favorite winter veg and to work it into lasagna is just genius.... I haven't been around for a while, but my life has been pretty hectic. You are still right there at the top of my foodie list, Val!!

  14. That looks so good Val. The photo is perfect. Thanks for another inspiring dish...vegetarian style. I love your grape background picture by the way.

  15. I love pretending I'm vegetarian sometimes, just to make myself think outside the box. :-) Your lasagna is GORGEOUS, Val! :-)

  16. Look really nice Vall, I love it! xx gloria

  17. Looks so good and healthy!
    Would you believe I am still waiting for my first issue after sending my registration 2 months ago?
    I wanted to join your Club. I called and found out they had the wrong add....So, I will eventually be able to be participate.

  18. I love butternut squash lasagna! This looks amazing! I definitely eat vegetarian most of the time. It's good for my budget!

  19. I just bought my first butternut squash of the season: I do love it - I mean, I love ALL winter squashes, but butternut is my favorite. Your lasagna looks amazing. Considering it is exactly lunch time here, I would gladly accept a portion.

  20. We often eat vegetarian because it's less expensive! What a beautiful dish.

  21. I'm all about exploring vegetarian food and this butternut squash is something I would adore! I've actually been meaning to make it for a while but haven't gotten around to it. I think THIS will be the year! Looks fantastic.

  22. Love it! I love butternut squash - another great recipe in my must makes!

  23. Now that's a tempting looking dish Val. I love that it is vegetarian, and part of the cooking light series. NICE!!

  24. What a lovely earth friendly dish. You asked about German roots in Virginia and Georgia. While there were no settlements per se, there are pockets where German's settled during the various immigrations. I hope all is well and that you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  25. This looks fantastic! I've been wanting to try making a butternut squash lasagna but just haven't gotten to it yet. Now, I want this for dinner!

  26. That is the best looking lasagna I have seen in years. My gosh it is colourful. The best one I ever had was in a small restaurant somewhere in Italy... I cannot recall where, but I was with my students in the restaurant overflow area in the basement and it was served with one piece of housemade pasta folded over a little meat with gorgeous tomato sauce over it and then topped with bechamel. Deadly... I have never forgotten it. I love vegetarian and will be trying this one, Val. Hopefully soon.

  27. What a lovely dish... it looks and sounds so delicious!

  28. This is beautiful! I made butternut squash lasagna for the first time last year. The obvious was quickly realized: those who like squash liked and those who didn't weren't interested in trying. Mine turned out a bit more squishy than yours. Did you mash the squash or slice it? In the photo, it looks sliced, which could be a great way for it to hold its shape.

  29. such a healthy and hearty meal!

  30. I love butternut squash and prefer veggie lasagne rather than a meaty ones. This picture looks stunning, it make my mouth water. :)

  31. So good! Squash is perfect for lasagna. I love the way its sweetness plays offf the noodles and the tomato-tangy marinara sauce. Wonderful.

  32. I'm so willing to skip breakfast and go straight into the digging of this incredibly flavourful lasagna. Fabulous recipe...my kind of meal ;o)

    Ciao for now,

  33. Val, first of all, I wanted to let you and the other ladies know that this is just a fabulous monthly post! I adore Cooking Light and simply could never find the time to try all of the recipes included. So your group narrows it down for me with some honest to goodness experiences of C.L.'s recipes. I have been increasing the amount of meat-less meals in my nutrition, with no intention of ever becoming a vegetarian, but have found that it really does improve my weight-loss efforts. Would it be possible for the ladies to give us the year and and month of the C.L. magazine or the cookbook? I only ask this so that I can go back to my "stacks and stacks" of saved Cooking Light magazines. Please let me know and KEEP UP THE GREAT work. Also, I don't want to in any way sound self-promoting, but this monthly post would fit perfectly on my weekend get-togethers where I've had numerous bloggers post about ways that they are improving their nutrition, life, etc. And we can ALL improve our lives by what we eat. This is just great! Roz

  34. Thanks for posting this! I'm always looking for great vegetarian recipes because i'm vegetarian. This looks great!

  35. My SIL made this for one of the holidays last year and I know where having it again this Thanksgiving. It's awesome and I'm thrilled to have this recipe. My SIL is a cater and I swear I ask for every single recipe. I think after 20 years of me asking, she's a bit annoyed. She's actually told me NO on some recipes. :(
    But now I can make my own butternut lasagna and not even bother her. And a cooking light recipe to boot!


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