White Lasagna with Butternut Squash, Swiss Chard & Bechamel

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So recently I’ve been feeling a bit… uninspired . I was browsing through recipes in magazines, blogs, and cookbooks and while there were a few I marked, nothing was looking that amazing and exciting to me.

This recipe began in a way some of my best and favorite ones do: with an ingredient. I found this beautifully vibrant and colorful swiss chard at the market last week. I got it, not fully knowing what I’d do with it, but knew I could easily toss it into omelettes or saute it as a backup. Looking at it later, I was inspired to do a whole recipe surrounding it.

After doing some looking around, I was struck by how many recipes paired swiss chard with rich cheeses, like gruyere and ricotta. Given my affinity for the ricotta in the butternut squash lasagna I recently did, I immediately took that route. My other favorite part of this recipe included leeks, which I really should cook more often given how much I enjoy them. The rest was some tinkering of ingredients and flavors to lighten this dish and make it my own.

“Healthier” Bechamel Sauce
I call this “healthier” because I really can’t make the argument that this is healthy. However, it’s a bit less fat and cream than authentic bechamel while still not changing it so much that you lose that creamy decadent quality.

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour

  • 4 cups low fat milk (I used Goat Milk, as this seems to be easier to digest for me. 1 or 2% should work)

  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  • big pinch pepper

In a saucepot over medium heat, add in low fat milk and all purpose flour. Whisk until thoroughly mixed and flour is dissolved. Continue to whisk and bring to a light boil. There should be small bubbles and the milk is thickening, but it’s not so hot that it’s vigorously bubbling. Continue to whisk while it lightly bubbles and thickens for about 2-3 minutes. Don’t worry about it being super thick. I initially was worried, but it thickened significantly after I added in the other ingredients and let it sit for a few minutes. Turn off heat and add in parmesan, egg, and salt. Set aside.

White Lasagna with Butternut Squash, Swiss Chard & Bechamel
Serves 6-8
Adapted from Food 52

  • Bechamel Sauce (see above)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 3 leeks, finely chopped (top green part removed)

  • 1 bunch swiss chard, julienned

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • 1 large or 2 small butternut squash, spiralized or cut into thin slices- see here

  • 1/2 cup shredded gruyere, loosely packed

  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan (optional)

Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add oil and leeks. Saute until leeks are softening, about 3 minutes. Add in swiss chard and garlic and continue to saute until the swiss chard is dark green and wilted, and the leeks are beginning to brown, about another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. I used a 9×12 pan and it was slightly large, but worked okay. Spray bottom of pan with oil. Layer with butternut squash, then half of the bechamel sauce, followed by half of the swiss chard and leek mix. Repeat once more. Top with gruyere and parmesan. Put in oven for 45 minutes, until top is browned.

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