The term “heart-healthy” doesn’t necessarily conjure thoughts of delicious food. But I’m going to help turn that around. Even incorporating a few heart-healthy foods into your diet can make a big impact on your health — and they can taste good, too.
Since it’s American Heart Month — and Valentine’s Day is right around the corner — we tend to think about the heart a lot in February. Whether it’s showing affection toward your sweetheart, or that pumping vessel in your chest keeping you alive, the heart deserves a lot of love.
You can combine the two with this heart-healthy lasagna roll-up recipe. Make it for Valentine’s Day and you’ll keep your heart, and your sweetheart, happy. Now, I will say that this is a little “carbier” than some recipes, but for a holiday like Valentine’s Day, it’s OK to splurge a little bit.
I’ve been making lasagna roll-ups for several years using different types of fillings. Chicken and cheese. Spinach and ricotta. For this recipe though, I wanted to use something a little more unique that really packs in heart-healthy ingredients. So I found this spinach, basil and walnut pesto recipe.
Spinach? Check. Walnuts? Check. Basil? Well, no check, but it tastes and smells delicious. These are all great, heart-healthy foods. Roll up this pesto into a brown-rice or whole-wheat lasagna noodle and you’ve got the makings of a delicious meal.
Pesto Lasagna Roll-Ups
- 9 brown-rice or whole-wheat lasagna noodles
- 1 cup packed spinach
- 1 cup packed basil
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 2–3 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- salt to taste
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish with tomato sauce and set aside. Boil water in a large pot.
- Meanwhile blend basil, spinach, walnuts, garlic cloves and lemon zest together in a blender or food processor. Pour in olive oil, add Parmesan cheese, and process for a few more seconds. Add salt to taste.
- Carefully place lasagna noodles in water and cook until al dente. Once cooked, pull each noodle out of the water and place on waxed paper to cool slightly.
- Take a spatula full of pesto and spread it on the noodle. Roll up the noodle and place seam-side down in baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles and pesto.
- Top each roll with a little tomato sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake for about 40 minutes.
Note: You can serve the lasagna rolls-ups with these delicious honey-herb whole-wheat breadsticks and a nice light salad.
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