Step-by-Step Reduced Calorie Lasagne

copyright: Karen Morris 2012

Time: 45-60 mins
Recipe Serves: 3

Nutritional values* per serving: 
Cals: 492; Fat: 16g (of which are Saturates: 5g); Carbs: 51g; Protein: 36g; Fibre: 6g; Sugar: 12g; Sodium 308mg 
(*may vary slightly depending on brands used)

This recipe has three different components: Bolognese sauce, cheese sauce and pasta sheets.
  • The secret to reducing the calories in Lasagne whilst keeping it's flavour is to reduce the number of layers! In this recipe I've used 4 pasta sheets instead of 6 and took out one layer of cheese sauce.  
  • For added health benefit and to make it extra filling, you can try swapping white pasta sheets for whole-wheat (brown) - extra fibre an when cooked into Lasagne it tastes no different at all! 
  • For the first time cooks or students like me who require cheap and simple recipes, making Lasagne from scratch can be made easier by using Bolognese sauce for the meat filling.
  • If you have any suggestions for lowering the calories or levels of fat/sat fat further, feel free to leave a comment and I'll look forward to experimenting in the kitchen with your suggestions!  
  • You can see how this recipe evolved from having having 1,192 calories a portion and with a whopping 34g of saturated fat to just just 687 calories and 9g of saturated fat here

You will need:

Bolognese sauce:-
250g Frozen or fresh lean mince beef 
1 Diced onion 
4 x spray of fry light (or any similar 1 calorie spray)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes 
45g (half a tube) of tomato purée double concentrate
2 shredded fresh basil leaves
2 tsps of dried Italian Herb Seasoning
300ml water  

Cheese Sauce:-
50g grated cheese (I use Weight Watchers Reduced Fat Mature Cheddar Cheese, but you can use any low-calorie  mozzarella or grated white cheese you wish)
1 cup of semi-skimmed milk
1 tsp of margarine
1 tbsp of plain white flour  

Pasta sheets:-
4 x brown pasta sheets 

1. Pre-heat a large saucepan on a medium heat and spray with cooking spray (such as Fry Light) and then add the diced onion, frying it until golden brown.

2. Add in the mince beef and mix in well with the onion using a wooden spoon. Leave this to simmer until all of the meat is brown. Whilst you are waiting for the mince to brown, you can start to sieve the tinned chopped tomatoes in a bowl. Drain any surplus fat out of the saucepan (if you use lean mince beef there shouldn't be very much - if any) and then add the juice from the sieved chopped tomatoes.
3. Next, add in half a tube of tomato purée and stir in.

4. Scatter in the shredded fresh basil leaves and add the 2 teaspoons of Italian Herb Seasoning.

5. Now add the 300ml of water, and leave the Bolognese sauce to simmer medium heat, stirring every 10 minutes.  

6. In the meantime, we'll pre-cook the pasta sheets. Now for another tip - although the pasta sheets may say on them that pre-cooking is not essential, I find it helps as it reduces cooking time once the Lasagne is assembled and prevents the risk of the pasta sheets not cooking enough and being left crunchy! So, to pre-cook our sheets, take a deep square oven tray that's big enough to fit two pasta sheets in side-by side with no overlap. We'll use this later to bake the Lasagne in the oven but for now we'll fill the bottom of it with boiling water and drop two of pasta sheets in, using metal tongues to flip the sheets over every 5 minutes.

7. Whilst our Bolognese is still simmering nicely (just give this a quick stir to check there's still moisture in the sauce to prevent burning - if there isn't, either add 100ml more water to delay it's readiness if you wish, or turn the heat off), and two of the pasta sheets are pre-cooking, we'll move onto making the cheese sauce. To do this, find a smaller saucepan and add to it the cheese, milk, margarine and flour, place on a medium heat and stir every couple of minutes with another wooden spoon.

8. Let's check on our pasta sheets again - if these have gone soft and flexible, take them out of the hot water using metal tongues and place them on a baking sheet to keep them clean, now empty out the water and pour in some fresh boiling water, then drop in the remaining two pasta sheets.

9. Give the Bolognese sauce a stir again, checking that it's still has moisture and isn't burning, and give the cheese sauce a stir to check that the cheese is melting into the sauce and the sauce is thickening up - to the extent that when you stir it quickly you can see the bottom of the saucepan peep through the thickened sauce!

10. Feel free to pass some of the cooking time at this point by preparing a fresh salad to accompany the Lasagne, pre-heat your oven at this point as we'll be using it shortly!

11. You're ready to move onto assembling your Lasagne so long as all four pasta sheets are soft and flexible and laid out on your baking tray, your Bolognese sauce has now fully cooked and doesn't have any excess water and your cheese sauce is smooth and thick. 

12. Dry off the deep square tray you used to pre-cook your pasta sheets and add half of the Bolognese sauce to the bottom of it, spreading it out evenly with your wooden spoon, next  lay two pasta sheets side by side, with no overlap, on top of the sauce. 

13. Now add the rest of the Bolognese and top it with the other two pasta sheets. (so by now the layers go Bolognese, pasta, Bolognese, pasta) 

14. Next, pour on the cheese sauce, covering all of the top pasta sheets. 

15. Place your assembled Lasagne into the oven for about 10 minutes. Poke with a fork after the 10 minutes to check that the fork can pass through the whole Lasagne (indicating that the pasta sheets are cooked). 

16. When you take it out of the oven, cut down the centre, scoop out each half using a turner and serve! I like to add salad on the side and if I've had a good workout, a slice of garlic bread!                  


  1. yum!! thanks for the recipe.

  2. Looks very nice but limited by cooking equipment at uni!

    1. I currently in the process of creating more recipes that use less equipment and some that use the same items so that more doesn't have to be bought :)


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