My Black Bean Cheese Lasagna is not the typical lasagna recipe that you may be used to. My recipe is a healthier, lower cholesterol version that uses dried, cooked and ground black beans along with low-fat mozzarella and cottage cheeses. Instead of just layering my beans, I add this chunky bean paste to my tomato sauce that has a hearty portion of fresh basil, onion, celery, garlic, and just enough rosemary, and oregano to also contribute to its healthy goodness.
You might frown at the idea of using dried black beans because it seems a bit more work. After all, you have to sort through the beans first to check for any small pebbles. Using dry beans also means you have to prepare ahead of time instead of any last minute whim to cook a recipe. However, using the black beans in dry form is very economical compared to cooking with canned beans.
To save time as well as money, I have a trick for using dried beans. I buy a bag and sort the whole thing before transferring into my emptied, clean peanut butter jars. Once filled, I keep them in my pantry for later use.
When I’m ready to work with my beans, I soak about half a one-pound bag overnight. This will make enough for several meals like making my sensational black bean patties that I dare you not to love, casseroles and other dishes.
The next morning, I rinse and cook them until soft. Sampling them occasionally will clue you in when they are ready, soft enough to drain and grind in your food processor.
You can run across many healthy main dishes, but finding ones that taste good and won’t cost you a small fortune is something to consider as well. My black bean cheese lasagna is one such recipe that won’t disappoint in either of those departments. Try it yourself and see!
Black Bean Cheese Lasagna
- 1 box of lasagna noodles 16-oz.
- 1 can of crushed tomatoes 28-oz.
- 1/3 cup of spaghetti sauce any variety
- 1-1/2 cups dried cooked black beans ground in a food processor
- 1 medium onion 1 cup, finely chopped
- ½ cup finely chopped celery
- 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 2 cups of low-fat cottage cheese
- 2-1/2 cups of grated low fat skim-milk mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
- ½ teaspoons of dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano
- ½ cups of fresh basil finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon of hot sauce optional
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Heat the olive oil in your frying pan to brown your chopped onion, garlic and celery until golden and tender.
Add the crushed tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, herbs, and other dry ingredients next along with your black bean paste. I do not totally pulverize it completely in the way that I would do for a dip, but grind it enough to see tiny chunks of the bean throughout. This gives a nicer texture to this lasagna.
I cook this bean tomato sauce mixture to blend through until bubbly on my stove before assembling the lasagna.
As the sauce cooks and fills my kitchen with that delicious aroma of cooking basil and herbs, I put on a pot of water for my lasagna noodles to cook.
While my lasagna noodles are cooking, I take my grated cheese and cottage cheeses out of my refrigerator to line up on my table to prepare.
When I’m to start, I take my drained, cooked noodles and cooked bean tomato sauce to my table where I have a 13" x 9" baking pan ready.
My usual method is spooning just a little bean tomato sauce first in the pan before laying down my first layer of cooked noodles.
For each layer, I put the sauce first then use ½ cups of cheese, then noodles before moving to the next layer, rotating in this fashion until all my ingredients are finished. The last inner layer has one cup of the cheese, which makes it nice and gooey with cheesy goodness before that final layering of noodles and sauce.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 350-degree oven for about 35-40 minutes until it is hot and bubbly.