Lasagna is already delicious, but maybe you’re looking to add more protein and cut back on some carbs, maybe digestive sensitivities prevent you from enjoying pasta the way you want., or maybe the grocery store has run out again. Anyway, you’re here craving some lasagna, so IInstead of forgoing the dish altogether, make this protein-rich lasagna layered casserole with egg white “pasta” sheets that is so delicious it might make you not so accidentally forget to buy regular lasagna sheets next time.
I love lasagna as much as the next orange, cartoon cat, but this dish really made me doubt my resistance to alternative noodles. The egg whites created unmistakable layers, the meat sauce and ricotta mixture took center stage, and it sliced beautifully. The leftovers the next day were just as delicious, I even ate the first bites cold because it smelled so good that I couldn’t wait the 90 seconds for the microwave to do its job.
The beauty of using egg whites in place of pasta sheets is that it is relatively neutral in taste, a thin layer cooks quickly, and cooked egg whites are strong enough to create and maintain discernment.ble layers in your casserole dish. (Eggs also do excellent protein wraps.) I included some greens by adding a healthy dose of chopped spinach to the mix. To simplify this dish, buy a carton of egg whites instead of breaking and separating whole eggs. Most grocery stores sell them right next to their whole eggs. Shake it well and keep going. If you’re using egg whites that you’ve separated, give them a vigorous whisk before making the sheets. They will spread more thinly and evenly this way.
Just as you would when making any other type of lasagna, prepare all of the components first. That’ll involve getting your meat sauce together, your ricotta mixture seasoned, and the cheeses grated. Make the egg white sheets by lightly oiling a wide bottomed pan. You can also use a wok, like I did. Just tilt the pan to create a wider circle. Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into a small bowl, and use a pastry brush to swipe in the oil between cooking egg sheets. Heat the pan on medium heat. Pour about ⅓ cup of egg whites into the pan. As it cooks, tilt the pan to ensure even coverage and to get the size you need, about eight inches in diameter for an 8- x 11-inch casserole dish. The egg white sheet will cook through in about two minutes. There’s no need to cook the other side. Peel the egg white carefully off of the pan and place on a lightly oiled plate. Place a small piece of parchment over it so the next one you stack on top is less likely to stick. Do this four more times, stacking the finished circles the same side up, with a piece of parchment in between them.
I used an 8- x 11-inch Pyrex dish and started with a super thin swipe of my sauce mixture on the bottom. Lay down one and a half egg sheets, breaking off any excess and puzzling it together to cover the bottom. Spread out half of the meat sauce, and cover with another layer of egg white. Spread the spinach and cheese mixture, and cover with the last egg white sheet and pieces. Use the rest of the meat sauce to cover the top and sprinkle on the shredded cheeses. If any egg layers are showing, tuck them down into the side of the dish to make sure the meat sauce is covering it. This ensures the egg whites don’t overcook and become rubbery. The components have already been cooked, so the bake time is short. It’s really just to settle the layers and melt the cheeses. Bake at 350°F for 10-15 minutes or until you see the edges are bubbling rapidly. Flick the oven to broil for another five minutes or so, just to toast the top layer.
Let this protein-packed ‘zagna (say it through your nose) cool for 5 or ten minutes before slicing. This casserole dishes out about six servings, and keeps, covered, in the fridge for up to five days.
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 5 ounces ground turkey
- 5 ounces ground beef
- 2-3 cups of bolognese sauce (I used Rao’s bolognese)
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt for seasoning
- 12-1 ounce bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- 15 ounces liquid egg whites
- 2 ounces Raclette, grated (or another melting cheese)
- 1 ounce parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly brush a dish with oil. Prepare a small to medium saucepan.
Add a little oil to a medium skillet and sweat the garlic and onion over medium heat, until translucent but not brown. Add ground beef and ground turkey. Break up meats while cooking. Lightly salt the mixture in the skillet. Once the meats are cooked through and most of the water has evaporated, stir in the bolognese sauce. Turn off the heat and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix well the ricotta with the garlic powder, chopped spinach and salt to taste. Put aside.
In a wide-bottomed skillet or wok, lightly brush the bottom and sides with oil. Fry five thin circles of egg white in the pan over medium heat, brushing the pan with oil between each frying. Each layer of egg white is ⅓ cup. So use a measuring cup to make portioning easier. Stack the egg circles on the oil-covered dish, with a small piece of parchment between each layer. You are ready to assemble!
Pour a few tablespoons of meat sauce into the bottom of the casserole dish and spread it out to cover the bottom with some moisture. This is just a buffer to prevent the bottom layer from burning. Add one and a half full sheets of egg white to the bottom, reserving the other half to fill in any missing spaces as you go. Cover with half of the sauce mixture. Spread another layer of egg white and cover it with whole spinach mixture. Spread the last layer of egg white on top, using the excess to repair missing areas, and cover with the other half of the meat sauce. Cover the surface with the grated Raclette and Parmesan cheeses.
Bake at 350°F for 10-15 minutes, or until you see the edges bubbling quickly. Broil another five minutes to toast the surface. Leave to cool for 10 minutes and enjoy. This recipe makes six servings.