To offset some of the stressors of the holidays bake something easy and healthy for yourself (and your loved ones) caregiver! Winter is the perfect time to dig into comforting dishes like this chicken and kale lasagna, which gets its comforting richness from creamy béchamel sauce made healthy.
- 4 cups milk, milk alternative like almond for dairy free or vegan
- 8 whole black peppercorns
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, or butter alternative such as Earth Balance which is vegan
- 1 pound bunch kale, tough stalks removed, leaves chopped
- 1 large sweet onion
- Dash of Red Pepper flakes (for metabolism and heart health)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons all purpose flour or flour alternative such as oat for vegan
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 package brown rice lasagna noodles cooked according to directions, drained and set on wax paper to keep from sticking. In a hurry? Not gluten free? Use one package of no boil lasagna noodles. *See note below
- Skinny shredded Chicken to layer. In a hurry? Buy a rotisserie chicken and shred. No and low sodium chickens can be found at healthy food stores. Vegan? Omit and had extra veggies such as zucchini (YUM) or chicken subsititute
- 3 cups grated skim mozzarella or vegan alternative
- 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese or vegan alternative
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray at least a 9 by 13-inch (or can be made in two smaller, one for freezing.) baking dish with cooking spray.
Heat the milk, peppercorns, bay leaves and garlic in a small saucepan over low heat until bubbles appear around the edges. Remove from heat and let the mixture steep. Discard aromatics.
Melt 2 tablespoon of the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and when they begin to soften add the kale one handful at a time, tossing with tongs to wilt the greens. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper and add ¼ cup of white wine, water, or broth to the pan. Cover and cook until tender, 5 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid and place kale in a bowl.
Place the same pan over medium low heat and melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the flour and whisk and cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the warm infused milk and cook, whisking frequently, until the sauce is thickened and bubbly, about 5-7 minutes. Reduce heat if the sauce begins to scorch. Remove from heat, add the nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper.
Cook brown rice lasagna according to directions, drain, and set on wax paper to avoid sticking. Or *Soak the no cook lasagna sheets in a big pan of warm water for 5 minutes, then drain and set aside. Spoon about 3/4 cup of the béchamel sauce into the bottom of the pan. Layer the lasagna sheets on top of the sauce. Spread half of the kale and chicken over the noodles and sprinkle with a third of the cheeses. Repeat with another layer of sauce, noodles, kale, chicken, and cheeses. Top with a final layer of noodles and the remaining béchamel sauce and cheeses. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until golden brown on top, about 15 minutes.
Bon Appetit & Namaste