So this is what I do to chard. I know, it’s probably the least healthy thing you can do with such a gorgeous leafy green, but a long time ago I was given some chard and didn’t know what to do with it. So I tossed it in a lasagna with sausage and lemons, topped it with a lovely Mornay sauce, and gifted it to a friend of mine who had just delivered her second baby and needed some food love.
For this recipe I chose to substitute pan-seared zucchini slices for the sausage to see if the flavor would hold up. I like this version, but the sausage does add a nice touch. If you can get your hands on some nice Italian sausage (I haven’t found a good source in Denton) I say why not do BOTH. I think of lasagna like I think of a hot tub party: the more the merrier.
Lasagna with Swiss Chard, Lemon, and Zucchini
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1 ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (roughly 6 ounces), separated
1 small container Greek yogurt (I use Fage, 2% 5.7 oz)
5 cups coarsely chopped Swiss chard (about 1 bunch)
2 zucchini, sliced thinly
OR 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed and crumbled
2 lemons, sliced lengthwise, thinly
1 pkg no-boil lasagna noodles (I prefer Barilla)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour to create a paste (called a roux). Continue to stir regularly, watching for the color of the roux to go from tan to golden.
- When the nice golden color develops, remove from heat and whisk in milk quickly and evenly (this is called a béchamel sauce). Technically, a classic roux is made without letting the flour brown. I personally prefer the flavor that develops once the roux gets golden. You’re free to incorporate the milk sooner if you’d prefer.
- Bring to a low boil, stirring. Reduce heat and let simmer until it thickens to the consistency of queso dip.
- Once thickened, remove from heat. Stir in 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese (you’ve now made a Mornay sauce!). Once the cheese is incorporated, stir in the Greek yogurt, a few dashes of salt, and some cracked pepper to taste. Stir in chard. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If using sausage, crumble and brown the sausage in a skillet over medium- high heat, then lower heat and cook through until no longer pink. Strain and set aside.
- If using zucchini, sear each side of the zucchini slices on a hot skillet to brown (similar to the way you would brown meat). Set aside.
- Cover lemon slices with cold water by 3 inches in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon.
- Spread 1 tbs. of olive oil on the bottom of a lasagna pan or 8 x 11 baking dish. Then spread ¼ cup sauce in the pan for a base layer. Top with 3 noodles, half the zucchini OR half the sausage, and 1 cup sauce. Repeat with another noodle/zucchini or sausage/sauce layer. Top with a layer of lemons, 3 noodles, and remaining sauce. Garnish the top of the lasagna with remaining lemons. If your sauce is lacking in flavor, feel free to add a sprinkle of salt & pepper on top of each layer as you build your lasagna.
- Cover with foil (line with parchment if there is risk of the foil sitting on top of the lasagna) and bake for 30-35 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and uncover. Top with remaining parmesan cheese. Place under (low) broil until bubbling and slightly browned, 2-3 minutes.