First, I want to talk a little bit about what’s going on in my life, because lots of exciting things have been happening recently! If you follow me closely on Instagram then you probably already know about all of it, and if so, you can skip ahead to the recipe. ; )
For those of you who don’t know, I am finally officially an AUNT! My sweet little baby niece was born on 1/18/18, and her name is Sierra Grace. She is absolutely perfect and it’s insane how much I already love her. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like to have one of my own someday, but for now I’m perfectly content with loving on her, spoiling her and handing her over to her parents when she has a poopy diaper. ; ) But in all seriousness, this has been a super exciting time for my family. Sierra and her momma (and her dad, my big brother) are all doing great, for which I am extremely thankful.
Since getting a new niece didn’t seem like enough excitement for one week, Ethan and I decided to finally bite the bullet on buying me a new car! I have been driving my 2005 Ford Escape since I was 15 years old, so I was a little attached to it, to say the least. But it was getting old, and I decided I was ready to let her go and upgrade to a car with a few more (okay, like 100 more) bells and whistles. I ended up getting a 2014 Ford Escape — I feel loyal to Ford and Escapes after all these years — and I could not be happier with our purchase. Escapes are safe and reliable cars, and the Titanium models are fully loaded! Navigation, moonroof, seat heaters, Bluetooth to sync your phone, power lift gate. The works. So that has been a new, exciting addition to our family as well! : )
Okay, that’s enough about me for now. Let’s talk about this recipe.
Lasagna is one of Ethan’s favorite foods. I never really ate lasagna growing up, because it just wasn’t something that my mom made on a regular basis. Truth be told, my brother and I were super picky eaters when we were young, and wouldn’t eat anything with red sauce in it. (Sorry, Mom.) As I got older, I continued to avoid it due to the fact that I thought it wasn’t “healthy” enough. But once I started dating Ethan, he begged me to make some lasagna for us, so I decided to start hunting for a recipe that I felt good about.
Thankfully, I now have so much more freedom & flexibility in my food choices; however, nutrition is still very important to me. I love feeling satisfied and nourished after I eat, so I strive to make meals that accomplish that. This recipe fits the bill! It’s packed with nutrients, but it is not lacking flavor whatsoever.
As the name states, we are using whole wheat lasagna noodles, so you’ve got your whole grains. Then, they are filled with quality proteins, like lean ground chicken (or ground turkey) and Greek yogurt, along with a variety of cheeses of course, because hey, it’s still lasagna, you guys! (We absolutely love dairy, and if you can tolerate it, there is no reason you have to cut it out!) I also snuck lots of veggies in there, in the form of spinach and onions. Both of these blend in very nicely and you can barely taste them, so if you have any picker eaters in your family, have them try it anyway! Even though this is a somewhat healthified version of lasagna, Ethan absolutely loves it! #Success.
You could even get fancy and make your own homemade marinara sauce. I have never done that before, but it is definitely on my list of things to do in the kitchen! If anyone has any awesome recipes for homemade pasta sauce, send them my way! 🙂 Otherwise, I try to choose a marinara sauce that doesn’t have any added sugars (simply because they are unnecessary here!). ALDI has some great organic options, and Rao’s homemade is another delicious brand.
I will admit, this recipe is a little bit more labor intensive than others I’ve shared. I’m not saying it’s difficult, but it has a few more steps to it, and things do get a little messy. I love to cook — and make a mess in the kitchen — so I personally think it’s super fun to make. Grab a friend or your significant other and whip it up together! That makes cooking so much more fun, and definitely speeds up the process!
Whole Wheat Lasagna Roll-Ups
- 10 whole wheat lasagna noodles cooked
- 1 cup frozen chopped spinach thawed and drained well
- 1 medium white onion finely chopped
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 6 oz plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 package lean ground chicken or turkey cooked
- 1 whole egg
- 32 oz marinara sauce
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning additional for topping
- Black pepper to taste
- Cook ground chicken in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain any fat. Set aside.
- Cook whole wheat lasagna noodles until tender. Drain, transfer noodles back to the pot and cover with cold water (so the noodles don’t dry out). Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Cook the frozen spinach in a small skillet over medium heat until cooked through. Transfer to a fine mesh strainer and drain well. Press down using a paper towel to drain liquid as much as possible.
- In the same pan, cook chopped onion until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the cooked spinach, onion, ricotta, Greek yogurt, Parmesan, garlic, Italian seasoning, pepper, egg, and cooked chicken to a large bowl. Stir to combine.
- Pour about 1 cup of marinara sauce and spread evenly on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. (Note: 8 roll ups will fill the 9×13 pan; you will need an additional small pan for the 2 extra rolls, as pictured above. Pour about 1/2 cup of sauce on the bottom of smaller pan.)
- Lay a large piece of parchment paper out on the counter and spread out a few lasagna noodles at a time, patting them dry on both sides using a paper towel. Spoon some of the chicken and cheese mixture (~1/3 cup) onto the noodles and spread evenly. Leave a little space on the ends so the filling doesn’t ooze out the sides.
- Roll the noodles up and place one at a time into your prepared pans, seam side down.
- Once the rolls are in the pans, spoon some sauce (1-2 Tbsp) on top of each one and top with about 1 Tbsp of shredded mozzarella cheese (or desired amount).
- Cover pan(s) tightly with foil and place in oven for 40 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Serving suggestion: serve along with roasted veggies or a side salad.
Bon appetit! 😉 As always, tag me in your creations @wellnessforthewin on IG if you try out this recipe, and pin this recipe on Pinterest so you can refer back to it!
Talk to you soon,
Shanna, RD LD