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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A lighter butternut squash lasagna

 •  Bento!

By Elaine Magee

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Roasted butternut squash lasagna uses frozen squash cubes, which cuts down on time and labor. The dish has about one-third the fat and cholesterol of its full-calorie version.

Courtesy of Elaine Magee

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Q. Dear Recipe Doctor, I am looking for a butternut squash lasagna recipe. I would like one that uses a white sauce but I want it to be as light and low-calorie as possible. Can you help?

A. I do like the sound of butternut squash lasagna, but then lasagna is one of my all-time favorite foods. I used a recipe from epicu rious.com as my muse but I cut a few corners to make it easier to fix. For example, using frozen butternut squash cubes that you just pour out from a bag instead of carving out pieces from whole squash really saves time and elbow grease.

To lighten the calorie load, I made the white sauce without the usual half stick of butter and substituted fat-free half and half for whole milk and heavy cream. To pump up the fiber, a whole-wheat or whole-wheat blend lasagna noodle works well and adds at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. With these changes, the calories go down by more than 25 percent and the total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol all were cut by about two-thirds.

Original recipe contains 445 calories, 27 grams fat, 14 grams saturated fat, and 69 mg cholesterol per serving.


• 2 pounds frozen butternut squash cubes (available at Whole Foods and similar), partially thawed

• 1 1/4 tablespoons olive oil

• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme ( 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme can be substituted)

• 1 teaspoon fresh sage ( 1/4 teaspoon dried sage can be substituted)

• 3/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

• 1/3 cup unbleached white flour

• 5 cups fat-free half and half (1 percent lowfat milk can be substituted), divided use

• 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary (1 tablespoon dried can be substituted)

• 1 tablespoon minced garlic

• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (add more to taste)

• 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

• 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

• 9 whole-wheat wide lasagna noodles, cooked and drained

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, line a jellyroll pan with foil and coat the foil with canola cooking spray. Coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with canola cooking spray.

In large bowl, combine butternut squash, olive oil, thyme, sage and salt if desired. Spread the squash cubes in a single layer on foiled-lined jellyroll pan. Bake for 15 minutes, gently stir squash cubes and bake until squash is golden (about 10 minutes more.)

While squash is roasting, in small bowl combine 1/3 cup flour with 2/3 cup of the fat-free half and half. Whisk in another 1/3 cup of the fat-free half and half. In a large, nonstick saucepan begin to simmer the remaining fat-free half and half, rosemary, and garlic over low heat. Whisk in the flour mixture and continue to simmer, stirring often, until a lightly thickened sauce forms. Remove from heat and stir in the seasoned roasted squash cubes (you can cut the cubes in half if you want smaller pieces) and black pepper.

Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. In medium bowl combine Parmesan cheese with mozzarella cheese; set aside. In 13-by-9-inch prepared baking dish, spread 1 cup of the butternut squash sauce over the bottom. Cover with 3 lasagna noodles then 2 cups of the butternut squash sauce. Sprinkle half the cheese mixture over the top and top with 3 more lasagna noodles. Repeat with 2 cups sauce, the remaining cheese and the three remaining noodles. Spread all of the remaining sauce over the top of the noodles.

Bake in middle of oven until hot and bubbling (about 30 minutes). Let lasagna sit about 5 minutes before cutting into squares.

Makes 9 servings.

Per serving: 328 calories, 15.5 g protein, 46 g carbohydrate, 9.8 g fat, 4.7 g saturated fat, 3.7 g monounsaturated fat, .7 g polyunsaturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 6 g fiber, 415 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 27 percent. Omega-3 fatty acids = .2 gram, omega-6 fatty acids = .5 gram.

Elaine Magee is author of "The Recipe Doctor Cookbook" and "The Flax Cookbook." Readers may reach her through her Web site at www.recipedoctor.com. Personal responses can't be provided.