I stumbled across this recipe last year thumbing through a favorite cookbook of mine of recent years, “Fix-It and Enjoy-It!-Healthy Cookbook,” which is authored by Phyllis Pellman Good with nutritional expertise from Mayo Clinic. I loved the recipe because I was looking for meals that added more beans into my diet as part of eating more healthily and as non-meat alternatives . Plus this recipe gives me the pasta fix that I like to have occasionally without the huge guilt of high carbs. I find myself gravitating more and more to bean recipes as my fitness journey continues and black beans are a great source of protein and are low in saturated fat as well as high in potassium, calcium and iron.
Don’t let the thought of rolling up the lasagna noodles freak you out and stop you from trying this recipe. Trust me, it’s not complicated and just requires making sure the noodles are slightly greased with cooking spray and that you have room to spread the cooked noddles out before doing the layering work and moving the rolls into your baking dish. I’ve detailed it very carefully in pictures and instructions and tips below.
This recipe makes eight main-dish servings, with each rollup totaling 214 calories. You’ll need a baking sheet and a medium to large baking dish (the recipe calls for a 7×11 baking dish, but I used a 9×16 baking dish and it perfectly fit all eight of my lasagna rollups).
The recipe suggests that an addition of half a cup of chopped steamed spinach into the cheese mixture in the first step of this recipe would be a great variation. In fact, I’ve made the rollups including sauteed spinach and I absolutely loved them and recommend that if you want to try it, but for the sake of introducing this recipe here, I stuck to the original ingredients and the specified nutritional breakdown without the spinach added.
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterrey Jack cheese (I couldn’t find the reduced fat Monterrey Jack, so in this demo, I’m opting to use shredded non-fat mozzarella cheese.)
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
4 and 1/2-oz can of chopped green chilies, drained
1/2 tsp. chili powder
8 uncooked whole-grain lasagna noodles (I recommend that you include two extra noodles into your pot of boiling water to total 10 just in case something happens to a few noodles in the boiling process like they break apart or stick to each other. )
1 can of black beans (approximately two cups), drained and rinsed
15-oz. jar salsa (mild or wild, your choice. I went with a healthier organic variety.)
We’ll start with making the cheese mixture. That’s going to involve combining the first four ingredients listed above in a medium-sized bowl: your shredded reduced-fat cheese, your cottage cheese, the diced chilies and the chili powder. Measure out one cup of your shredded cheese, whether it’s reduced-fat Monterrey Jack or like I’m using here, non-fat mozzarella, and place it in a medium-sized bowl.
Now, measure out one cup of low-fat cottage cheese and add it to the shredded cheese in the bowl.
Next up is the 4 and 1/2 oz. can of chopped green chilies. Drain the chilies best you can and add them to the first two ingredients in the bowl. As you can see, I’m using mild green chilies as that’s my personal preference but feel free to go with a stronger variety of green chilies if you want more heat.
To complete the cheese mixture, we need to add 1/2 tsp. of chili powder to the bowl and then mix everything together and set aside for now.
With the cheese mixture taken care of, it’s the pasta we need to address now. The recipe calls for eight whole grain lasagna sheets, which one package of lasagna sheets provides more than enough. As I mentioned above, to be on the safe side, add two extra sheets into your boiling pot, just so you’ve covered your bases in case one of the noodles breaks or two get stuck together and you can’t separate them.
Boil your whole grain lasagna noodles according to the directions on the package. For example, I brought five quarts of water (20 cups) to a boil in a large pot before adding the lasagna sheets and boiled the noodles for about eight minutes. I drizzled a little olive oil into the boiling water to help keep the noodles from sticking and stirred regularly.
Once the lasagna noodles are cooked, drain them and rinse with cold water.
Now we’re moving on to the fun part. Take a baking sheet, and coat it lightly with cooking spray.
Carefully lay out as many of the noodles as you can fit onto the baking sheet side by side. I was able to fit six of the noodles onto my tray, which left the remaining two that I need for the recipe waiting patiently in my strainer until I can make room for them on the sheet.
We’re going to provide the filling for the rollups now by layering each noodle with the cheese mixture and the black beans. We have the cheese mixture ready and waiting, but we need to get the back beans ready. All you need is one 15 and /2 oz. can of black beans, which is roughly going to be two cups.
Rinse the black beans well and drain them, before placing them in a small bowl.
Have the two bowls side by side to speed things up.
The trick is to provide just thin layers of the cheese mixture and black beans on each noodle so that you have enough to accommodate all eight noodles. The gut instinct is to go heavy with each layering but restrain yourself as you don’t need a lot of the cheese mixture and beans to fill each rollup, and you need both to accommodate eight lasagna noodles. Start with your thin layer of cheese mixture on each noodle.
Next is your layer of black beans. Same situation as the cheese mixture: just a little bit on each noodle. You ca always go back and add more beans to each noodle at the end of the process if you have any left over.
Now, starting with the noodle closest to the tray end, carefully roll up the noodle, making sure you don’t lose a lot of the filling. It should be easy to roll because the spray on the tray will have prevented the noodles from sticking.
Let’s get that first rollup into our baking dish. As mentioned earlier, the recipe’s author suggests using a 7×11 baking dish, but I used my 9×16 and it fit all eight rollups in perfectly. Spray your baking dish lightly with cooking spray first.
Now, carefully transfer that rollup from your baking sheet seam down to your baking dish. You can use a flat spatula or your hands, but be careful not to lose any of that precious filling in the process of moving the rollup.
Now, just repeat the process for the remaining seven noodles, transferring the rollups from the baking sheet to the dish (When you’ve gotten the first two rollups moved, now would be the time to get those remaining two noodles you may not have been able to initially fit on the baking sheet moved there, filled and rolled).
All that is left before we bake these beauties is to top them with salsa. Get out that 15 and /2 oz. jar of salsa, pop the lid and distribute the contents evenly over all of the rollups.
Cover your baking dish with tin foil and place in a 350 degree oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
And, we’re done! Serve these luscious black bean rollups with your favorite vegetables for a healthy meal. Enjoy!
Serving size: one black bean lasagna rollup
Per Serving: Cal: 214; Total Fat: 4 g. (Sat. Fat: 2 g.); Chol: 11 g.; Sod: 786 mg.; Fiber: 5 g.; Carb: 33 g.; Pro: 13 g.