|This Sausage and Kale Mock Lasagna is so delicious, you won't even miss the noodles!|
As we're making our way through the Month of Daily Phase One recipes, I've been giving thought to Phase One recipe ideas beyond the usual grilled-meat-and-salad meals that many people rely on when they're watching their weight. Not that I don't enjoy a delicious piece of meat or fish and a tasty green salad, but after a few days of that I start to crave something that's more in the "comfort food" category. I had comfort food in mind when I came up with the idea for Ham and Casserole au Gratin, and this Sausage and Kale Mock Lasagna is another comforting casserole that's so loaded with flavor that you won't even miss the lasagna noodles. When I made this I ate it for lunch and dinner two days in a row, and if I hadn't put some in the freezer, I might have had it the next day as well! If you're not a fan of kale yet, other sturdy greens like chard or collards would probably work, but I don't think softer greens like spinach would hold up that well in this.
I used two medium-sized bunches of kale. (If you're observant you'll see they're from two different stores because when I had the recipe concept more clear in my mind, I went back to the store and got a second bunch of kale before I started!)
Then let the kale drain very well while you work on the other ingredients. (I actually used my salad spinner to gently spin the cooked kale and then let it sit to air-dry more while I made the sauce.)
While the kale is cooking, start brown the turkey Italian sausage until it's cooked through and nicely browned.
Add 3 cups low-sugar pasta sauce along with some dried basil and ground fennel, and let the sauce simmer on low 20-25 minutes.
In a casserole dish make a layer of 1/2 the well-drained kale with 2 T finely grated Parmesan sprinkled over it.
Top that with half of the sauce mixture and 1 cup of reduced-fat grated Mozzarella. (I used a low-fat blend.) Then make another layer of kale, Parmesan, sauce, and mozzarella.
(Makes 6-8 servings; recipe created by Kalyn.)
2 medium-sized bunches of kale
1 tsp. salt (for water to cook kale)
2 tsp. olive oil
1 pkg (19.5 oz) hot turkey Italian Sausage
3 cups low-sugar pasta sauce (I used Classico Tomato and Basil sauce from a jar because I didn't have any homemade sauce)
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. ground fennel
2 T + 2 T finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 C + 1 C grated reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Spray a 9" x 12" lasagna-type glass or crockery casserole dish with olive oil or non-stick spray.
Add the salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Trim stems from the kale, then cut the kale into ribbons about 1/2 inch wide. When the water starts to boil add the kale, lower heat so the water is gently boiling, and cook kale 5-6 minutes. Drain kale into a colander in the sink and let it continue to drain while you prepare other ingredients. (I used a salad spinner to gently spin the water from the cooked kale and then let it continue to drain.)
While the kale is cooking, heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan, squeeze sausage out of the casings, and saute until the sausage is cooked through and nicely browned, breaking it apart with the turner as it cooks. When the sausage is done, add the pasta sauce, dried basil, and ground fennel. Stir to combine and let the sauce simmer 20-25 minutes, or until it's thickened and the liquid is reduced.
In the casserole dish, layer 1/2 the drained kale, sprinkle 2 T Parmesan, 1/2 the sauce, and 1 cup mozzarella. Repeat with another layer of kale, Parmesan, sauce, and mozzarella. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake another 15-20 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbling and cheese is starting to brown.
Let the mock lasagna sit for about 5 minutes before you cut it. Serve hot.
I am guessing this freezes well, although I haven't thawed out any of my frozen servings yet.
South Beach Suggestions:
If you're making this recipe for the South Beach Diet, it's important to use low-sugar pasta sauce (get the lowest sugar one you can find; the Classico Tomato and Basil Sauce I used had 5 grams of sugar per 1/2 cup.) You also need to use lower-fat turkey Italian sausage and reduced fat mozzarella. When those instructions are followed, this is a very low-glycemic casserole, suitable for any phase of the South Beach Diet.
More Phase One Ideas with Kale:
Kale and Feta Breakfast Casserole
Kale, Bacon, and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
Raw Kale Salad with Pecorino (or Parmesan) and Lemon
Artichoke, Kale, and Ricotta Pie with Eggs and Parmesan
Kale and Romaine Caesar Salad