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Hidden Veggie Lasagna

“I do not like eating vegetables when they are plain on my plate at home,” admits Owen. “My mom hides vegetables in the food she makes sometimes, and she doesn’t tell me they are in there until I am done eating. My mom and I came up with the recipe together. I love lasagna, and we hid the vegetables in the lasagna. I would serve it with grapes, my favorite fruit.” - Owen Kerkvliet, age 9, South Dakota

Makes 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 (16-ounce) box whole-grain lasagna noodles
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 medium head broccoli, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cups tomato sauce
  • 32 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 9 ounces chopped fresh spinach or thawed frozen spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the lasagna noodles, according to package directions, until al dente. Drain the noodles and set them aside.
  3. While the noodles are boiling, in a large saucepan over moderate heat, warm the olive oil. Add the carrots, broccoli, bell pepper, and onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce to vegetables, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta and spinach.
  5. In a 9- by 13-inch baking dish, spread 1/3 of the vegetabletomato sauce on the bottom. Arrange lasagna noodles lengthwise over the sauce. Spread the ricotta cheese mixture evenly over the noodles. Add more vegetable-tomato sauce, another layer of lasagna noodles, and another layer of the ricotta cheese mixture. Continue to layer the lasagna with the remaining sauce, noodles, and ricotta mixture. Top the lasagna with the mozzarella cheese, cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, and bake until the top is browned and the lasagna is heated through, about 45 minutes.

349 calories; 21g protein; 41g carbohydrates; 13g fat (6g saturated fat); 505mg sodium

More information about the Kids' State Dinner:

  • Check out the other winning 2013 Kids' State Dinner Recipes here.
  • Learn more about Kids' State Dinner here.