French onion soup for the soul and the waistline? Gooey pasta and cheese - minus the guilt? You bet! Satisfy your cravings for feel-go winter meals with these tasty, nutritious twists on four classics.

Loaded Vegie Lasagna

Eggplant slices become the noodles in this delectable layered dish which boasts five vegetables and four different cheeses. It can be the headliner at a dinner party or a simple and filling weeknight Menal.

Description: Loaded Vegie Lasagna

Loaded Vegie Lasagna

Serves 6

Prep time: 25 minute

Cook time: 2 hours

·         1 tsp olive oil

·         1 anchovy fillet

·         1/2 red onion chopped

·         2 garlic cloves, minced

·         800g can chopped, no-salt tomatoes 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

·         1/2 tsp dried oregano

·         2 medium zucchini, cut into 2cm-thick slices

·         100g firm tofu

·         1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese

·         10 large fresh basil leaves, chopped 1 egg, beaten

·         Pinch of ground nutmeg

·         Olive oil spray

·         1 large eggplant, cut lengthwise into

·         2cm-thick slices

·         1 cup shredded carrots (about 2 medium)

·         1 large red capsicum, diced

·         250g parmesan cheese, grated

·         250g light tasty cheese, grated

·         1 cup shredded light mozzarella

Preheat oven to 200C. Heat olive oil in a small non-stick pot over medium-high heat. Add anchovy. Cook until the anchovy disintegrates, about one minute. Stir in the onion and saute for three minutes or until soft. Add garlic and saute for one minute. Add wine and bring to a simmer, continue cooking until wine is reduced by half. Add tomatoes, red pepper flakes and oregano. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 - 15 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Meanwhile, line a plate with a paper towel and top with a single layer of zucchini slices. Microwave on high for four minutes, cool for one minute then press with more paper towels to squeeze out moisture. Set aside and repeat until all zucchini slices are cooked.

In a small bowl, mash tofu with a fork until crumbly, then mix in ricotta, basil, egg and nutmeg. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Coat a 20cm x 20cm baking dish with olive oil spray and ladle in one cup of the tomato sauce. Top with a layer of eggplant slices, then shredded carrots. Top with 1/2 of the ricotta mixture. Place a layer of zucchini slices on top, followed by capsicum and the remaining ricotta mixture. Sprinkle half of both the parmesan and tasty cheese on top, then layer the remaining eggplant and zucchini slices. Ladle one cup of the tomato sauce over the vegies and scatter mozzarella and remaining parmesan and tasty cheese on top. (Save leftover tomato sauce, about one cup, to heat and serve with the meal.)

Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes; remove foil and bake for 30 minutes more or until cheese is golden. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Nutrition score per serving (1 piece): 260 calories, 11g fat (6g saturated), 21g carbs, 19g protein, 7g fibre, 452mg calcium, 2mg iron, 660mg sodium

Quinoa Pasta Bake

Protein-packed quinoa is the pasta in this Greek-inspired take on the traditional dish. Low-free feta and spinach provide a burst of robust flavour, while whole-wheat bagel chips add fibre and a satisfying crunch.

Description: Quinoa Pasta Bake

Quinoa Pasta Bake

Serves 4

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 60 mnutes

·         1 cup quinoa

·         1 ½ cups vegetable stock

·         2 leeks

·         2 tsp olive oil

·         2 garlic cloves, minced

·         250g frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

·         1 tsp thyme leaves, chopped

·         1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

·         ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

·         ¼ tsp salt

·         2 eggs

·         3/4 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta

·         1/4 cup lite garlic and herb cream cheese

·         1 tbsp skim milk

·         1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

·         Olive oil spray

·         4 roasted garlic bagel crispbread, crumbled

Preheat oven to 200°C. In a large pot combine quinoa and vegetable stock, then cover and bring to a simmer over medium-high. Reduce heat to low, and cook for 30 minutes or until stock is absorbed. Remove from heat and let rest for five minutes.

Meanwhile, roughly chop only the white and light green part of the leeks and discard the leaves. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick saute pan over medium-high. Add leeks and garlic and saute for two minutes or until soft. Using a paper towel, squeeze excess water from spinach, add to pan, and saute for three more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in thyme, parsley, pepper and salt. Set aside. Fluff resting quinoa with a fork.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs and feta together; set aside. Place cream cheese and milk in a small microwavable bowl and heat in the microwave on high for 30 seconds, then whisk to combine. Mix in parmesan, spoon mixture into a zip-top sandwich bag, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Add cooled quinoa to spinach and leek mixture; toss to combine, then stir in egg mixture until combined. Coat a large baking dish with olive oil spray and pile quinoa mixture into it. Snip a corner of the cream cheese-filled baggie and squeeze evenly over quinoa. Scatter bagel crumbs on top and mist lightly with cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Serve immediately.

Nutrition score per serving (1 cup): 288 calories, 70g fat (4g saturated), 30g carbs, 77g protein, 3g fibre, 276mg calcium, 3mg iron, 746mg sodium

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