Palmini Lasagna Soup
Lasagna is a classic comfort food, but it can be super high in saturated fat and salt because of the béchamel sauce (made with milk and butter), meats, and cheese. A traditionally made portion can contain over 1,000 calories, or half of what most of us need in a day. Is it worth it? Depends on who is making it, in my opinion.
A classic lasagna consists of layers of pasta sheets, a rich meat or vegetable sauce, creamy béchamel sauce, and generous amounts of cheese, usually mozzarella and Parmesan. The pasta sheets are typically pre-cooked before assembling the lasagna; however, nowadays, they have no-bake sheets or no pre-cook recipes. I must be old school because I still can’t get behind these. Does it save a step? Sure, but the texture just isn’t there for me.
The traditional meat sauce for lasagna is made with ground beef or a mixture of beef and pork sausage, along with onions, garlic, tomatoes, and various herbs and spices. Alternatively, a vegetarian version may use sautéed vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, or spinach as the filling. I like to have the best of both worlds and add a little from column A and a little from column B.
To assemble the lasagna, the pasta sheets are layered with the meat or vegetable sauce and the béchamel sauce. The process is repeated until all the ingredients are used up, and the top layer is usually finished with a generous amount of cheese, which becomes golden and bubbly when baked. One serving has the same effect as a Thanksgiving meal—it will leave you in a food coma, unbuttoning the top button, unless you were smart enough to wear elastic pants.
So, with so many of us crunched for time and looking for ways to lighten up our meals, how can we have our lasagna without all the steps and all the guilt?
Ever heard of Palmini? Palmini is made from the hearts of palm, which are the tender inner cores of palm trees. Hearts of palm have a fibrous texture and a delicate, slightly nutty, subtly sweet flavor. Palmini is commonly used as a low-carb and gluten-free substitute for pasta in various dishes. I also like to add it raw to my salads and even cold pasta salads. My kids think it’s mozzarella cheese sticks when it’s sliced up, so I have been slowly introducing them to new foods (kind of on the low down).
In the culinary world, hearts of palm is commonly used in salads, soups, and appetizers. It can be eaten raw or cooked. Due to its high nutritional content and low calorie count, it’s considered a healthy addition to various dishes.
And while that is how I kick up the nutritional value of the meal, I also like to cut down on the layering steps to save time. Why not toss everything into a bowl and call it a soup? It has the same flavor profile without the tedious steps needed to make a perfectly stacked lasagna.
I call this a win-win!
- 1.5 lb chicken sausage
- 1 onion diced
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tsp basil
- 2 tsp thyme
- 1 jar marinara sauce I prefer Rao's
- 4 cups broth I used bone broth
- 1 pkg palmini lasagna noodles cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 0.5 cup parmesan cheese grated/shaved
- salt and pepper
- Cook chicken sausage over medium heat.
- Add onion, garlic, basil, and thyme andcontinue cooking for 3 – 5 minutes.
- Add marinara sauce and allow the sauce tobubble for 5 – 7 minutes before adding the broth.
- As the soup simmers, stir in the lasagna noodles.
- Continue cooking until all flavors areincorporated.
- Add shredded mozzarella and parmesancheese.
- Serve hot and enjoy!