Light Version of Giada’s Butternut Squash Lasagna

I’m taking a break from sweets this evening to share some info related to the previous discussion about how good Giada’s butternut squash lasagna recipe is but how unfortunate that it is such a splurge. I promised to try out a lower fat version, and I did. After working it out on paper, I put the recipe into a software program called “Mastercook” which gives nutrition stats. Tonight, I tested the new version and it was very good – definitely not as rich as the full fat version, but very flavorful. Best of all, it went from 22 grams for fat per serving down to 13 grams.

Below are the stats from the old version and the new version. I put the brand names in so the nutrition counts would be accurate. I also played around with numbers. If you use regular shredded mozzarella cheese as opposed to the low fat cheese I used, the fat content goes up to about 16 grams per serving. That’s still a lot better than 22! My only criticism with this recipe is that like the other recipe, there’s not a lot of filling. It’s more noodle-dense. If you really like squash, you might want to double that. Before this recipe, I didn’t even like squash. Thanks to Giada, I’m really starting to warm up to it. I’m still plan on trying this with sage in place of basil and whole wheat lasagna noodles in place of the regular no-bake.

Per Serving : 489 Calories; 22g Fat (39.0% calories from fat); 19g Protein; 58g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 64mg Cholesterol; 333mg Sodium. Exchanges: 3 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Non-Fat Milk; 3 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Per Serving: 429 Calories; 13g Fat (27.1% calories from fat); 28g Protein; 51g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 21mg Cholesterol; 596mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Non-Fat Milk; 1 Fat.

I tested this recipe in an 8 inch glass pan, which is half of the original 13×9 inch pan. So this recipe serves 4 as opposed to 8. You have to overlap the noodles a bit to get them to fit, but it’s do-able. The noodles don’t have as much room to expand, but they still get cooked.

If you make it in a 13×9 inch pan, double everything, but only use 12 noodles (3 noodles per layer).

giadas lasagna -- light version.jpg

Low Fat Version of Giada’s Recipe (for an 8 inch pan)

10 ounces winter squash — frozen, thawed (Cascadian Farms or Trader Joe’s)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons dried bread crumbs (Progresso
1/2 tablespoon amaretto
1/8 teaspoon each, salt & pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
1/3 cup reduced fat milk
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup basil leaves, loosely packed
1 Pinch nutmeg (fresh)
ΒΌ teaspoon each – salt & pepper
8 no-boil lasagna noodles (5 ounces) (Skinner Oven Read)
1 1/4 cups 2% Milk Italian Three Cheese Blend (Kraft)

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Spray an 8 inch square glass baking dish with cooking spray.

In a saucepan or mixing bowl, stir together the thawed squash, bread crumbs, amaretto, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk butter and flour together for 1 minute or until smooth. Gradually whisk in the evaporated milk and reduced fat milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium or medium low and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

In bowl of a food processor or blender, puree basil and cottage cheese until creamy. Add in 2-3 tablespoons of the hot sauce and puree for another minute. Slowly stir the cottage cheese mixture into the saucepan with the sauce. Stir in nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Spread 1/3 cup of sauce over bottom of baking dish and begin making layers.
Anchor two 2 noodles in the sauce, they will overlap slightly; spread with 1/3 cup of squash, sprinkle on 1/3 cup shredded cheese and 1/3 cup of sauce. Repeat two more times so that you have three layers of filling. Cap with last two noodles. Pour remaining sauce over top

Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over the lasagna. Continue baking uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, 10 minutes longer. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.

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  1. says

    Nice! Jeff “thinks” he doesn’t like butternut squash, but he’s eaten it several times and loved it. This might be another way to get him to eat it!

  2. says

    I’m intrigued by your lower-fat version. This sounds wonderful, but my husband swears he hates squash. I may have to try making this for my parents when I visit them, a more approving audience! Either that or I have to be sneaky and not let him know.

  3. Debbi says

    I just found a recipe last night on the foodnetwork for Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese. I want to try that and see if the kids will eat it. Thanks for the squash idea! Now, if you could just get squash into cookies…..

  4. Jen says

    I definitely see myself liking sage in this better than basil. I just like that combination. I’ll be curious what you think.

  5. says

    I’ve been meaning to try this recipe, but was a bit intimidated by the fat content. Thanks for providing a “lighter” version. It sounds perfect for fall-time!

  6. says

    Yum! I’m making this for dinner tonight — wanted to make Giada’s version for a while, never got around to it. This sounds lovely.

    PS. Love the blog — I read it regularly!

  7. says

    Elizabeth, if you make the light version, let me know what you think. It was definitely not as rich as Giada’s, but it was tasty nonetheless and seemed more practical for every day. I’d like to figure out a way to make it creamier and richer without adding more fat.

  8. says

    Oh, yummmmmm! We loved it! It may not have been as rich as Giada’s but the butternut squash itself is so rich and creamy that I don’t know that it needs more richness.

    I made a couple of changes, using ricotta instead of cottage cheese and fat-free half-and-half instead of the regular milk — not sure how much of a difference that made but it was lovely.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  9. says

    Elizabeth, thanks for trying the revised version. Next time I make it, I am going to use ricotta cheese and fat free half & half just for fun. Both of those things sound like good substitutes

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