I was super happy last Sunday night.
I felt like a Top Chef. Or at least one of those totally put together women. We know the ones- they host lavish dinner parties where guests whisper, “She is the best cook ever” while passing around homemade macaroons.
Yes, that sounds delightful. I’m not quite there yet- but dreaming is positive, yes?
As part of this continued desire to morph into Julia Child, I asked Dr. P to start rating my recipes. I wanted to gauge his preferences and my progress as I experimented with culinary creativity. It’s also a rad tool to have- a list of recipes our man loves for when we need extra spousal points.
Thus, the Dr. P Scale was born.
It’s a Likert scale from 1 to 10 . A score of 1 is basically inedible while a 10 is the most delicious thing on this sweet, sweet planet.
Drum roll, guys. This was arguably my first 10!
I have cooked many a tempting dish before, but Dr. P is akin to the Olympic figure skating judge who likes to give “point-5s” for notability.
“And here come the scores: 10, 10, 10, 9.5, 10…”
I know it isn’t fall, but on a Sunday night, we sometimes need a tummy-filling, heavier meal. And there was no denying it- this vegetarian lasagna, which I adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe in Everyday Super Food, hit the spot.
It was mouth-watering, second-helping-justifying, make- for- a-party good. I hate to admit it, but we finished the whole pan in two dinners… I was (quite literally) dreaming about leftovers all day at work on Monday!
And it is basically healthy, too. Incredible considering most vegetarian lasagna boasts alfredo sauce or loads of cheese.
I modified the original recipe a bit to decrease the saturated fat and increase protein. I manipulated the sauce by adding basil and seitan (I’ll explain in a moment), included lots ‘O spinach, used a lower fat cheese and less of it, added Italian seasoning (salt free, please), and decided to use fire roasted tomatoes and jalapeno in the sauce for more of a pop.
Borrowing from the original Jamie Oliver recipe, we roast butternut squash, use sunflower seeds and rosemary sprigs for the top layer, and coat the entire dish in cottage cheese prior to baking. Baked cottage cheese is a stroke of genius! So what is seitan? It is a fav veggie protein source of mine. Basically, a combo of wheat and bean protein (avoid if you have a wheat allergy or gluten intolerance), it is protein-rich and low in carbs and sugar. For 3 oz, it has 15 gm protein, no fat whatsoever, and only 8 gm carbs.
It can be made from scratch, which I had wanted to do for this recipe, from bean flour and vital wheat gluten, but I was running short on time since Dr. P and I saw the new X-men in the afternoon. Highly recommend, by the way!
So seitan has a texture like chicken or ground beef. I added it in the blender to my tomato sauce, and it was the perfect meaty-texture.
A famished barn full of meat lovahs could be fooled by this dish. No problem-o.In fact, with the International Advisory for Research on Cancer categorizing red meat as probably carcinogenic, it would be advisable to find acceptable alternatives in our favorite recipes.
If you are trying to cut back on red meat, please try this! It is so much more heart healthy as it has no saturated fat or cholesterol. I know Dr. P appreciated the hearty, stick-to-your-ribs meal that many vegetarians don’t often get. Seitan definitely delivered tonight.This recipe does take a bit of time to make- between roasting the butternut squash and then baking the lasagna- so make sure you have a couple hours to mill around the house. But the sauce and seitan were super easy. I prepared my food for the week while everything bubbled and baked.
Let me know if you like it! Enjoy!