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Healthy & Delicious: Lighter Spinach Lasagna

Editor's note: On Mondays, Kristen Swensson Sturt of Cheap, Healthy, Good swings by these parts to share healthy and delicious recipes with us. Take it away, Kristen!

[Photograph: Kristen Swensson Sturt]

This Valentine's Day, instead of blowing big bucks on a restaurant meal, why not pour a big ol' glass of red wine and whip up this lightened version of Better Homes and Gardens' Spinach Lasagna? It has all the cheesy goodness of regular spinach lasagna, minus a few extra calories.

While the original lasagna recipe wasn't terribly unhealthy, I knew it could be lightened fairly easily with a few natural substitutions. So, I used olive oil instead of margarine for sautéing, and cut the amount in half. For a binder, two whole eggs became three egg whites. Lastly and most significantly, part-skim ricotta and mozzarella were substituted for their full-fat counterparts.

In the end, the final numbers looked like this:

Original Spinach Lasagna: 455 calories, 19 g fat, 3 g fiber, 22 g protein
Lighter Spinach Lasagna: 324 calories, 12.5 g fat, 3.4 g fiber, 18.9 g protein

(Note: The first calculations come from Better Homes. The second numbers are my own, and are approximate.)

Granted, each serving lost a tiny bit of protein, but not enough to be truly significant. As for the flavor, you'd never know anything was cut. To chop the fat and calories even more, you may be tempted to use fat-free cheese. A few words of caution: Don't do that. Fat-free frommage doesn't melt well, and the list of added chemicals and preservatives sounds like something the Pentagon and Kremlin fought over in the 1970s.

Happy Valentine's Day, Serious Eaters. Hope it's full of love and spinach.

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