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Light Chard and Lemon Lasagna {Barilla}

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Barilla, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #JoytotheTable

I absolutely love homey, feel-good food — especially in the winter.  It has been exceptionally cold here in the desert, uncharacteristically so.  The clouds are sprinkling freezing rain on us, dumping snow on our mountains and I’m bundled up in socks and blankets, a far cry from our 3 season bikini weather!  A dish I absolutely find comforting is lasagna, but I have a secret. I don’t like red sauce.

barilla lasagna in_the_know_mom

I mean, I can appreciate a good red sauce and some days I’ll be in the mood for it, but in general, nope — no red sauce.  I much prefer a nice white sauce, and so my favorite lasagna recipe has just that.  Pair the rich, creamy sauce with seasonal, bitter chard and bright, sourish lemons and you have the most amazing lasagna.  I didn’t invent this combination, but it typically calls for sausage.  I tend to like my lasagnas meatless, probably because my mom lied to me for so many years, feeding me “meat lasagna” that was actually meatless and full of eggplant, which I never signed on for but was delicious.  She ruined me and I thank her for that.

My new favorite meat substitution in lasagna is mushrooms.  I’ve tried all different types, settling on brown Italian mushrooms, aka crimini mushrooms, to be my favorite.  Sear them first to get that yummy browned flavor, then tosh in your dish.  They really stand up to a lasagna and lend a firm, meaty texture.  <3

crimini mushrooms in_the_know_mom

As with any recipe, start with prep.  Parmesan, Romano, Chard, Lemon, Wine.  Okay, this recipe contains no wine — that is merely encouragement for the cook.

chard and lemon meatless lasagna in_the_know_mom


lemon and chard meatless lasagna in_the_know_mom

I’ve decided to skinny up this recipe, not just by swapping the sausage for mushrooms, but by lightening the sauce.  This is your basic bechamel: butter, flour, milk.  I swapped out butter for a healthy alternative, Earth Balance being my winner… none of this I can’t believe… stuff (trans fat loophole alert!)….  I reduced the fat content in the milk, swapping whole for 1%.  The sauce will still be rich, especially after adding your hard cheeses, but much healthier.

light chard & lemon lasagna in_the_know_mom

Light Chard and Lemon Lasagna


  • 3 tablespoons natural butter alternative
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups 1% milk
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large bunch green chard, rolled and sliced
  • 1 lb crimini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1-2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 6 Barilla lasagna noodles


  1. Melt butter substitute in a saucepan over med-high heat. Stir in flour; cook for 2 minutes until light brown and bubbly. Whisk in milk slowly. Bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat. Simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Whisk in 3/4 cup Parmesan/Romano blend, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir in chard and allow to sit.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Saute quartered mushrooms in a skillet with a bit of oil.  Leave it alone to encourage a good sear.  Once one side has seared, toss the pan – no stirring.
  3. Bring a large, heavily salted stock pot to boil.  Add six Barilla lasagna noodles and cook according to packaging, drain and set aside.
  4. While the lasagna is boiling, place lemon slices in cold water, a few inches deep,  Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 8 minutes.  Remove with slotted spoon to drain.
  5. Now we layer in a PAM-sprayed square 8 inch pan or (like I used) this Le Creuset 10 x 13 inch baker.  You can modify to fit any baking dish really, just trim the lasagna noodles if needed!
  6. Apply a thin layer sauce/chard mixture, then two noodles, half the mushrooms, 3/4 cup sauce/chard mixture.  Next, lay down two noodles, the rest of the mushrooms and 3/4 cup sauce/chard mixture.  Top with a few lemon slices, two noodles, remaining sauce, remaining lemons.
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 27 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Heat the broiler.  Remove foil and top with 1/4 cup grated cheese blend.  Broil for about 2 minutes.

chard and lemon lasagna in_the_know_mom

This dish is so incredible in that it is comforting and rich, yet not heavy.  You will not feel like you must take a nap directly afterwards! Serve it up in front of the fire with a glass of white wine (if there is any left after cooking time!).

This Light Chard and Lemon Lasagna can be a side or easily an entree, which is how I enjoy it.  As an ode to the traditional tomato lasagna, I like to serve this dish with a side salad and toasted bread, smeared with a Tomato Butter.  Have you ever made tomato butter before? It is so simple.

tomato butter recipe in_the_know_mom

Tomato Butter


  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup Barilla Red Pasta Sauce
  • 1/3 cup parsley, chopped


  1. Blend butter and pasta sauce in a food processor.
  2. Stir in chopped parsley or any other fresh herb you like.
  3. Roll into a 2 inch diameter log in plastic wrap, refrigerate.

The Light Chard and Lemon Lasagna is an easy dish for any weeknight.  Make it even easier with the oven-ready lasagna noodles from Barilla.  I use these ALL the time when I have very little minutes to create an awesome dish.  Remember, it’s all about balancing flavors.  A rich dish like lasagna just calls out for something bright or bitter, something to cut through.  I hope you take a second look at lasagna — forget the “rules” and come up with something delicious, something you.

I love you guys so much so here’s a deal hint for you –>  $1 off the purchase of ONE (1) box of Barilla® Lasagne and ONE (1) Barilla® Sauce.  This is an in-store option so head to your Safeway (Vons for me) and purchase.  Keep in the know by liking Barilla on Facebook.


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  1. December 11, 2013 at 9:16 am — Reply

    OMG… Yum and gorgeous Photos my lady!!

  2. December 11, 2013 at 1:39 pm — Reply

    looks amazing! so hungry now!

  3. December 11, 2013 at 6:11 pm — Reply

    That looks delicious!!!

  4. December 11, 2013 at 6:25 pm — Reply


  5. December 11, 2013 at 6:56 pm — Reply

    Oh yum! This looks really good!

  6. December 11, 2013 at 8:38 pm — Reply

    looks like a great dish to make especially with the holidays coming up–thanks for sharing

  7. December 11, 2013 at 9:08 pm — Reply

    I love all things pasta. This looks really tasty!

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