Not everyone knows that kale is a super food. I’ve known it for years, but its taken me awhile to come around to its hearty, earthiness and look beyond my undying love for spinach long enough to make room for this nutrient rich leafy green. From WHFoods: kale has cholesterol lowering benefits, contains anti-cancer nutrients (glucosinolates) that can lower your risk for five different types of cancer (bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate), and provides comprehensive support for the body’s detoxification system.
So I figured that after the glorious excesses of holiday celebrations and resolving to eat healthier, drink less, and exercise more in 2011, that this recipe might be worth bookmarking If none of this pertains to you, then never mind, you’re already the picture of health!
For now, I just had a craving for lasagna and a desire to make it a little healthier with the addition of kale and substituting feta cheese, which is lower in fat than traditional ricotta and mozzarella.
Kale and Sausage Lasagna
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch kale, chopped
1 cup water
sea salt and pepper
1 pkg. oven ready lasagna
2-4 Italian sausage links* (depending on how much meat you like – I used 2)
1 jar prepared pasta sauce
6 oz. crumbled Feta cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons butter
1½ tablespoon Wondra flour
1½ cup milk
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Prepare the kale: first remove the thick center stem, rinse leaves and coarsely chop. Heat canola oil in skillet over med-high heat, add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stir in one cup water. Add kale, ½ teaspoon salt and few grinds of pepper, cover and cook 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Transfer to a strainer to drain.
2. Meanwhile, remove the casing from the Italian sausage links and break into small pieces. Using the same pan, brown the crumbled sausage over med-high heat. Combine the feta and oregano in a bowl, use a fork to break up the bigger pieces of feta.
3. For the Bechamel sauce: In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over med-high heat. Be careful not to scorch the butter. Sprinkle flour into the butter and whisk until a golden brown roux is formed. Add milk slowly, constantly whisking. Cook 5 minutes or so until thickened. Stir in nutmeg. Remove sauce from heat.
4. Grease baking dish. Spread bottom of dish with pasta sauce. Place a layer of overlapping lasagna on top of the sauce. Spread half of the kale mixture on top of the lasagna, sprinkle with half of the Italian sausage and half of the feta cheese, spoon bechamel sauce on top, dot with more pasta sauce. Repeat with a second layer of lasagna, kale, feta, sausage, and bechamel. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
5. Cover with aluminum foil sprayed with oil so the cheese doesn’t stick. Bake for 50 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes more until cheese is browned.
* Eliminate the sausage for a vegetarian version. I used Lou’s Famous Sun Dried Tomato chicken sausage from Whole Foods and Classico Caramelized Onion and Roasted Garlic pasta sauce. Culinary Circle is an organic line of pastas from Italy that includes the oven-ready lasagna used here.
Serve with extra sauce on the side and a fresh mixed green salad. Enjoy