Way back when, in the practically prehistoric days of the Internet (I'm talking 2009 here), we ran a reader recipe contest. Quick Weeknight Meals gave us a nice collection of really memorable and delicious weeknight meals. Here's one of my personal favorites: Nicole's lasagna roll-ups, which boast the trifecta of being easy, quick, and rather good for you.
Upon retesting, these pasta pinwheels turned out to be one of the easiest (and tastiest) dinners I've made all month, and given that they're stuffed with low-fat cottage cheese and oodles of spinach.
Nicole, the originator of this recipe, said about it: "I adore Italian food, and this is an easy and healthy way to end my day."
I did make a few changes from her original. She used Veggie Shreds; I use plain shredded cheese. She suggests using some dried spices to flavor the filling; I used a couple cloves of garlic, which made these just garlicky enough for my taste.
This is just the simplest and easiest way to get lasagna on the table on a weeknight. I made the filling as the pasta cooked, then rolled them up and baked them. My husband — ever the pasta-lover — was a fan of lasagna even in this simplified form, and I loved the ease and lightness of the recipe, too. A winner!
Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups
Makes 4 2-roll servings
8 lasagna noodles
2 cups finely chopped baby spinach, from about 3 ounces
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
2/3 cup shredded cheese, such as mozzarella, Romano, or a blend, divided
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup spaghetti sauce
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-x9-inch baking dish.
Cook the lasagna noodles in plenty of salted boiling water according to package directions. Remove when they are al dente and lay out on a clean towel to dry and cool.
Mix the spinach, cottage cheese, 1/3 cup shredded cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and a generous quantity of black pepper.
Divide the spinach and cheese mixture evenly between the noodles, spreading the mixture over the entire length of each noodle. Roll up the noodles from bottom to top, and place in pan, side by side, touching. Pour the tomato sauce over the rolls, and sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup shredded cheese over top.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until heated through and the sauce is bubbling.
(Image credits: Faith Durand)