Spinach and Cheese Lasagna Rolls

About two months ago, my husband and I ate dinner at the Olive Garden.  We don’t eat there very often, and I know that many of the dishes aren’t as authentic as they would like us to think. That aside, while we were there, we ordered an appetizer that was cheese filled lasagna noodles, breaded and deep fried.  They were served with both alfredo sauce and marinara sauce (alfredo on the plate, marinara on top, if I am remembering correctly).  I enjoyed the dish, but it was too rich for me. With the two sauces, multiple cheeses, and breading, I felt like there was too much going on in the dish.

So, I decided that I would try to recreate the dish my way at home.  Now, I must alert you to the fact that I very rarely deep fry anything in my kichen.  I have decided that frying is one culinary skill that I can do without (and am probably better off that way, too). Instead of frying the lasagna rolls, I simply breaded them and baked them in the oven.  I also added spinach to the filling to add some fiber and cut back on the amount of cheese.  I also omitted the alfredo sauce and simply served the rolls with marinara sauce.  Oh, and did I mention that I used whole wheat lasagna noodles?  Yup, that’s right.

Earlier in the day, I  had mentioned to my husband that I was making the lasagna rolls for dinner.  However, as I was preparing the dish, making all of my healthy substitutions, I started to worry that he would not be too thrilled with my version of the dish.

Once the rolls came out of the oven, I gave him a small plate to taste while I was taking some photographs.  As he was eating, I commented that they probably weren’t quite like the Olive Garden dish… but he responded saying that they just as good, if not better!  He also cleaned the plate and had seconds (and possibly even thirds)…  So, you don’t have to take my word for it that these were delicious.  This recipe is highly recommended by my husband.  If only I could say that about everything I make!

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 whole wheat lasagna noodles (this will give you a few extra in case any of the noodles tear)
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese (I used 1%)
  • 2 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 ounce freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon skim milk
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup homemade marinara sauce

Directions:

Prepare the lasagna noodles according to the package directions.  Drain, cover with a moist kitchen towel, and set aside. It’s OK if they dry out slightly because they will be easier to roll.

Meanwhile, combine the spinach, ricotta, cottage cheese, mozzarella, and Parmesan in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.

Cut the lasagna noodles in half, and spoon a small amount of filling (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) onto each half noodle.  Roll the noodle around the filling, and place with the seam side down on a cutting board.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.  Prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray lighly with cooking spray.

While the oven is preheating, set out two shallow dishes for breading the lasagna rolls.  In one dish, combine the eggs and milk, seasoning with salt and pepper.  In the other dish, combine the seasoned bread crumbs and the panko bread crumbs.

Dip each roll first in the egg mixture, and then in the bread crumbs mixture.  Be sure to coat the entire roll, including the ends.  Place the roll on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat until all of the rolls are breaded.

Bake the rolls for 20 minutes.  Serve with warm marinara sauce.

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15 Responses to Spinach and Cheese Lasagna Rolls
  1. Jennifer
    June 11, 2009 | 10:37 am

    They certainly look delicious!

  2. Natasha - 5 Star Foodie
    June 11, 2009 | 10:55 am

    Very pretty and they look incredibly delicious! Love the idea of rolls!

  3. Teanna
    June 11, 2009 | 11:21 am

    Oh no no no stop stop stop! I should never check your site while I am hungry because it just makes my stomach growl some more! Gorgeous GORGEOUS dish!

  4. Laura @ SoCal Sustenance
    June 11, 2009 | 11:36 am

    Oh my… what a great idea and fantastic way to help with portion control! Its so easy just to cut a monstrous piece of lasagna when baked traditionally.. I love this idea! Definately looking like a dinner option for this evening – thanks!

  5. jenn
    June 11, 2009 | 1:43 pm

    Nice! i haven’t tried making lasagna, yet. But I think I should. These rolls looks great. I’d probably end up having seconds with a glass of wine.

  6. Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer
    June 11, 2009 | 3:56 pm

    WOW love these great timing just bought wheat lasagna and needed something fun to do with it!!

  7. Nutmeg Nanny
    June 11, 2009 | 6:16 pm

    Ok your pictures are making me soooooo hungry. Those rolls look so amazing. I can’t wait to try them!!!

  8. Amy
    June 11, 2009 | 8:08 pm

    I love your healthier take on this. I hate frying, and often use the oven. Thank you for this recipe!

  9. Reeni
    June 11, 2009 | 8:30 pm

    These look much better than anything you can buy at Olive Garden!! We have one two minutes away from my house and we’ve only eaten there once. And that was enough! You did a great job recreating these.

  10. SKM
    June 11, 2009 | 8:47 pm

    Oh awesome – I had these the other night at OG and these look very much better. :)

  11. Kelly
    June 12, 2009 | 3:28 pm

    I’m so impressed with how pretty those are! Not only do they sounds fantastic, they look amazing! Great job!!!

  12. Rachael
    June 13, 2009 | 1:29 am

    This sounds delicious and your photos are beautiful! Very nice blog. I just stumbled upon it tonight and I’m so happy I did! Looking forward to more nice posts.

  13. oneshotbeyond
    June 15, 2009 | 3:00 pm

    I’ve been wanting to make these for a long time. I may try out your recipe and report back!

  14. Elizabeth F.
    June 22, 2009 | 5:58 pm

    I love that you baked them instead of deep frying – this dish looks amazing!

  15. Shari, The Saucy Gourmet
    March 12, 2012 | 3:39 pm

    I just made these the other night with just a few changes. I posted them on my blog today and gave a link back to your site. Thanks for sharing!!!

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