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Recipe by Jackie Silver MHSc, RD
Photos by Julia Hop Hing
This Deconstructed High Protein Lasagna recipe has been my number one requested recipe! Whenever I’d make this and post about it on my Instagram stories, people would always ask me for the recipe so I’m excited that it’s finally up on the blog.
This is my go-to recipe when I am craving warm comfort food that I can whip up quickly for my meal prep lunches. It makes such a large batch that I usually have half of it for my lunches for the week and freeze the other half for another week. I probably make this recipe 5-6 times a year. I absolutely love it.
This recipe is incredibly easy to put together and you can make it in one pot. It’s even easier than making an actual lasagna because you don’t have to put the layers together and bake it in the oven. I like to call it “deconstructed” lasagna because it has all the ingredients you’d associate with lasagna but in a messy, one-pot form. Skip the casserole dish and oven and make this recipe instead!
Health Benefits of Deconstructed High Protein Lasagna
This deconstructed lasagna is slightly different from your typical lasagna ingredients. I use low-fat cottage cheese instead of ricotta because it is higher in protein and lower in fat than ricotta cheese. Cottage cheese is one of those underrated foods that are super high in protein and an excellent source of calcium. It makes a great substitute for ricotta cheese.
To increase the protein and fiber content, I’ve added a can of lentils. Feel free to customize this recipe however you’d like. If you’re not a fan of lentils, you can omit them or use ground beef, crumbled tofu, or a vegan ground meat substitute.
This recipe is also packed with veggies. Lasagna is an awesome way to sneak extra vegetables in without compromising on taste. To add even more fiber, I use whole grain lasagna noodles instead of white flour. Feel free to use whatever you’d like – gluten-free lasagna noodles will work well too.
All in all, this is truly a balanced, one pot meal prep recipe. It is packed with protein, fiber, healthy fats, calcium, and vegetables making it a filling meal you can heat up in a pinch.
Why This Recipe is Disability-Friendly
This recipe is amazing for meal prep – one batch makes 8-10 servings which means you can freeze it and have a balanced meal ready to reheat when you need a meal in a pinch. It’s great to store in the freezer (in a freezer-safe container like this one) and save for days when you’re in pain or fatigued and don’t have the energy to cook.
This deconstructed protein lasagna is high in protein which makes it great for those with pressure wounds because extra protein is needed to support wound healing. Protein also helps maintain muscle mass.
It’s also high in calcium and fiber. The calcium from the cheese and cottage cheese supports bone health and the fiber helps your digestion, making it a great option for those with constipation or gut issues related to neurogenic bowel.
Why Deconstructed Protein Lasagna is Autism-Friendly
Lasagna is hit or miss when it comes to autistic kids and adults. Some people can’t stand the texture of tomato sauce while others love it. If your kiddo loves pizza and you’re looking to expand their diet preferences, you can try introducing this deconstructed protein lasagna. The flavours are somewhat similar to pizza so it wouldn’t be too big of a stretch from what they’re used to.
This recipe is also a great way to sneak in extra veggies and protein in your kids’ diet or yours if you’re an autistic adult reading this.
If you’re an autistic adult who’s looking to get into meal prep and enjoys the taste of lasagna but finds it too much effort to prepare a real lasagna in a casserole dish, then this is a great recipe to get started. It’s simple to follow, uses one pot, and makes a freezer-friendly balanced meal.
You can store this deconstructed protein lasagna in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for 2-3 months. I recommend letting the recipe cool for about a half hour or so before transferring to the fridge.
If storing it in the freezer, I recommend portioning it out into smaller storage containers to make it easier to defrost. If you plan on eating it for your lunches or dinners for the week, you can portion it out into meal prep containers in the fridge to pull out and reheat when you’re about to eat.
This Deconstructed Protein Lasagna is:
- Perfect for meal-prep
- One pot
- High in calcium
- Great source of protein
- High in fiber
- Packed with veggies
- Easy and quick to make
- Made with few ingredients
- Freezer safe
- Perfect for lunch or dinner
- Warming and comforting
Here are some things that you might need for this recipe:
- Cooking pot
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cups
- Contoured handle vegetable knife
- Non-skid bowl
- Weighted utensils
Deconstructed High Protein Lasagna
- 1 package whole grain lasagna noodles (roughly 375 – 450g)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 11 oz spinach (can use fresh or frozen; there isn’t a specific amount you need because it shrinks so much. You can also throw in several handfuls. It’s up to you)
- Other chopped vegetables of choice: carrots, bell peppers
- 1 jar marinara sauce (roughly 28 oz)
- 1 can lentils (about 540 ml – I like using no salt added versions)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups cottage cheese
- Pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp ground oregano
- 1 tbsp ground basil (can use fresh basil leaves if you'd like)
- Other spices of choice
- Fill a large pot about ¾ full with water (or according to lasagna noodle package instructions) and bring to a boil.
- Before putting the noodles into the pot, break them up into bite-sized pieces with your hands.
- Add to the pot and cook according to package instructions or for about 8-10 minutes (until the noodles are tender). Drain the water.
- Place the cooked noodles in a bowl for now.
- Using the same large pot, heat up olive oil. Add onion and garlic and saute until cooked.
- Add any other vegetables you’re using except for spinach (ie. carrots, bell peppers). Saute until slightly softened.
- Throw in spinach, pepper, basil, oregano, and any other spices you plan to use.
- Add marinara sauce and bring to a simmer.
- Now add the lentils, lasagna noodles, cottage cheese, and shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Stir thoroughly so the cheese melts and all the ingredients are mixed evenly together.
- Serve right away or store in the fridge for 4-5 days or freezer for 1-3 months.
Want more easy lunch or dinner recipes? Check out this lentil feta salad, tofu crumble bowl, lemon chickpea vegetable orzo soup, roasted butternut squash carrot ginger soup or 10 high protein vegetarian salads.
Jackie is a Toronto-based Registered Dietitian with a Masters of Health Science (MHSc) in Nutrition Communications, whose mission is to empower and support people with disabilities to manage their condition, prevent complications, and live active lifestyles through nutrition. Jackie runs a virtual private practice and consulting business and runs her blog which has simple recipes and health information for the disability community.