2 red peppers, preferably organic
2 zucchini, preferably organic
1 large eggplant, preferably organic
1 cup packed organic baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
6 oz low-fat greek yogurt
15 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
8 oz part-skim mozzarella, diced
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
8 large basil leaves, chopped (extra for garnish if desired)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Olive oil in a mister
2 boxes whole grain lasagna noodles
1 jar of tomato sauce
Pre-heat the broiler.
Begin by peeling the zucchini and eggplant and slicing lengthwise using a mandolin slicer. Place the sliced veggies on baking sheets that have been lined with foil and lightly sprayed with olive oil. Spray the veggies very lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper and garlic powder. Broil for 5-7 minutes, or until slightly golden.
Flip over and broil the other side as well for another 5-7 minutes. Remove the veggies to a plate to cool. Place the whole red peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet, and place under the broiler. Broil the peppers and allow the skin to become charred and burnt. Turn the peppers occasionally in order to blacken the entire pepper. When done, remove the pan from the oven and loosely wrap the peppers in the foil to steam. After they have cooled, peel the burnt skin off, remove the seeds and stems and dice. Once the eggplant and zucchini have cooled, dice those as well and set aside.
While the veggies are cooling, make the cheese filling. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, yogurt, half of the mozzarella (save other half for topping), 2 tbsp of the parmesan cheese, the egg, parsley, half the basil, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper and 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Mix. Add the spinach leaves and cooled veggies and mix well. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook 24 of the lasagna noodles according to the package directions. To prevent sticking, I only cook 6 noodles at a time. It also makes assembly easier when working in small batches.
To assemble: set up two large baking dishes, approximately 13 x 8 x 2.
Pour 1 1/2 cups of tomato sauce in the bottom of each baking dish. Place the cooked lasagna noodles on a board, put filling into 1 gallon freezer bag. Cut off corner to create a nozzle. Squeeze the filling down the length of each noodle. Roll the noodles and place seam side down in the baking dish. Spread 2 cups of tomato sauce over the stuffed manicotti, and sprinkle with the rest of the mozzarella a few basil leaves.
Cover the baking dishes with aluminum foil and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!