Lisa Lillien is the author of the popular Hungry Girl website and email newsletter, featuring smart, funny advice on guilt-free eating. She is also the author of twelve books, six of which debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Read her PEOPLE.com blog every Monday for slimmed-down celebrity recipes and more.
We all want to make smarter food choices in the New Year, but when the temps are chilly, we often crave comfort food. Lasagna is a personal favorite, but it’s typically loaded with calories thanks in part to carb-heavy noodles. So instead of layering those lasagna goods between carby sheets of pasta, spoon it all into delicious peppers. After all, pasta isn’t the most delicious thing in a lasagna. So skip it, and stuff it!
Mangia Lasagna Stuffed Peppers
4 large bell peppers
1¼ cups canned crushed tomatoes
½ cup light/low-fat ricotta cheese
2 tsp. chopped garlic
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
3 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
12 oz. raw extra-lean ground beef (4% fat or less)
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped mushrooms
4 cups roughly chopped spinach
¼ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Carefully slice off and discard stem ends of bell peppers, about half an inch from the top. Remove and discard seeds. Place peppers cut-side up in an 8” X 8” baking pan. If they don’t sit flat, gently lean them against the pan sides.
3. Bake until soft, 35 to 40 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine crushed tomatoes, ricotta, garlic, onion powder, and Italian seasoning. Add 2 tbsp. basil, ¼ tsp. salt, ⅛ tsp. black pepper, and nutmeg. Mix until uniform.
5. Bring a large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Add beef and sprinkle with remaining ¼ tsp. salt and ⅛ tsp. black pepper. Add onion and mushrooms. Cook and crumble until beef is fully cooked and veggies have softened, about 6 minutes.
6. Reduce heat to medium low. Add spinach and tomato mixture to the skillet. Cook and stir until spinach has wilted and mixture is hot, about 2 minutes.
7. Remove pan from oven. Increase temperature to 400 degrees.
8. Blot excess moisture from bell peppers. Evenly fill with skillet contents.
9. Sprinkle with mozzarella, and bake until melted, about 5 minutes.
10. Top with remaining 1 tbsp. basil.
Nutritional Information:(1 stuffed pepper): 256 calories, 7g total fat (3.5g sat fat), 618mg sodium, 22g carbs, 6.5g fiber, 12g sugars, 27g protein
Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
‘Til next time… Chew the right thing!