Best Kale Bacon Lasagna

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Who can resist the taste and comfort of a hearty lasagna — the ultimate labor of love! And if you have traditional beef lasagna on repeat, it’s time to shake things up a bit with fresh ideas and unique ingredients.

With a few recipe shortcuts such as no-boil lasagna sheets and store-bought marinara, the kale and bacon lasagna combine traditional flavors with a twist of something new. Beef mince is replaced with sweet, smoky, crispy bacon immersed in a delicious, veggie-loaded tomato and basil sauce. Whole wheat lasagna sheets and kale bump up the fiber and nutrition.

This recipe may be a tad lighter on the wallet and waistband and a dream to prepare, but it is still oozing with cheesy goodness and incredible flavor. A gorgeous recipe for slow Sundays, but simple enough to whip up on a weeknight too.

Best Kale Bacon Lasagna

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6
Calories: 695kcal

Ingredients

Tomato, Kale And Bacon Layer:

  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 leeks halved lengthways and finely chopped
  • 2 carrots grated
  • 10 oz lean smoked back bacon diced into small pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 4 cups jarred marinara sauce
  • 2 bunches curly kale destemmed and leaves roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp red chili flakes optional
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup basil leaves finely chopped

Cheese Layer:

  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 4 cups full-fat cottage cheese
  • Zest of 1 small lemon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 12 no-boil whole wheat lasagna sheets
  • 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella

Toppings:

  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese grated

Instructions

  • All ingredients ready? Let's begin!
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly coat a 9×12 inch deep baking dish with olive oil and set it aside.
  • Prepare the kale and bacon mixture: Place the oil, leeks, and carrots in a medium non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
  • Cook and stir continuously for about 4 minutes, until the veggies have softened slightly.
  • Carefully add the bacon, garlic, and honey. Fry, stirring frequently, for 5-8 minutes until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crisp. (Honey, together with the carrots, will sweeten the sauce, ‘glaze’ the bacon and cut through the acidity).
  • Lower the heat and tip in the marinara sauce, kale, and spices.
  • Bring everything to a gentle simmer, stir and cook for about 5 minutes, until the kale leaves are slightly soft. Remove the tomato and bacon mixture from the heat and set aside to cool, then stir in the chopped basil.
  • Prepare the cheese layer: Place the Parmesan, cottage cheese, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg and stir to combine. Set the bowl aside.
  • Time to assemble! Begin by spreading a generous layer of the tomato, kale, and bacon mixture over the bottom of the baking dish. Add 3 sheets of lasagna.
  • Top the sheets of lasagna with half of the cottage cheese mixture, and cover with another 3 pasta sheets.
  • Repeat the order of layering, finishing with a layer of lasagna sheets covered with the remaining cheese or tomato mixture.
  • Sprinkle and cover the top with grated mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake it happen: Place the lasagna on a tray and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until the tomato sauce bubbles up around the edges, the pasta is soft, and the cheese is golden on top.
  • Allow the lasagna to stand for 10-15 minutes to set (the hardest part!), then slice into 6 large squares to serve.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 695kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 2315mg | Potassium: 1166mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 7274IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 578mg | Iron: 4mg

Notes & Tips

  • Check on the lasagna often — the type of oven, baking dish, and ingredients used will influence the cooking time. An overcooked lasagna with mushy noodles is difficult to salvage!
  • If your cheese layer starts to brown or crisp too soon, cover the lasagna with a layer of aluminum foil.
  • Store leftover kale and bacon lasagna in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.
  • This recipe can be made in advance: Assemble the lasagna, cover tightly, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking.
  • It’s freezer-friendly too: Assemble the lasagna, seal tightly with cling film, then foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and unwrap before baking for best results.
  • For extra tips, ingredient substitutions, and fascinating facts about lasagna, head on over to All About Lasagna.

Serving Suggestions

These sides will turn your kale and bacon lasagna into an absolute feast!

  • A sweet, light and refreshing coleslaw or apple and walnut salad will balance the warm and hearty lasagna.
  • Are you looking for something simple and guilt-free? Toss some leafy greens such as baby spinach, arugula, lettuce, and herbs with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice, and season to taste.
  • While the lasagna is bubbling away, add a tray of chopped veggies to the oven. Roughly dice some zucchini, broccoli, tomatoes, and peppers. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season to taste and roast until tender.
  • Go antipasto – add a few kalamata olives, fresh tomatoes, grapes, slices of cured meat, and cheese to the plate.
  • Keep it Italian with a slice or two of focaccia, ciabatta, or asiago bread to soak up every last bit of that irresistible lasagna sauce.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Swap the kale for an equivalent amount of Swiss chard or spinach. (Spinach cooks a lot faster, so only add it into the sauce just before you stir in the basil leaves).
  • For a gluten-free dish: Use gluten-free or legume-based lasagna sheets.
  • Are you on the keto train? Replace the lasagna sheets with extra-thin zucchini slices.
  • Whole milk ricotta can be used in place of cottage cheese.
  • Pancetta makes an excellent alternative to bacon.
  • Purists can incorporate ground beef, chicken, or turkey into the marinara sauce and swap out the ricotta mixture for the more traditional bechamel sauce.
  • Replace the bacon with cooked lentils and mushrooms for a bump of protein and a vegetarian twist.
  • We didn’t forget about the vegans! As there is a load of dairy in this recipe, try this delicious Vegan Pesto Lasagna instead.

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