Lasagna with Kale, Zucchini and Garden Herbs – $5 Dinner Challenge


Have you ever cooked with it?! It kinda fits in the spinach category…at least in terms of how you can use it and in what recipes. It works well with pasta (I’ll be sharing another recipe later this week.  But not too many after that, because I fear that kale will take over the site if I share more than 2 in a short time frame!)

I grew kale for the first time this year in my garden.  I bought a few little tiny plants on a whim while the kids were at school one afternoon. And that whim turned out to be quite worth it!

The little whim plants grew, and grew, and they’re still growing.  Even after cutting off leaves…more are growing in. (Same leaf picking principles apply to kale as they do lettuce.)

Anyhoo…I keep picking it. It keeps growing.

And that’s why I’m thankful for all the rain and cold weather. (It still feels like spring…and we wore jackets to the opening of Cars 2 at the drive-in on Friday night!)

So there may actually be a kale takeover here on $5 Dinners…if it keeps growing…and raining…and staying chilly…and growing…

Pick off stems. Rinse. Boil in salted water.

Until it looks like this…only take a minute.

Then roll the kale leaves in paper towels or clean dish towel and squeeze them dry. (We don’t want runny lasagna, do we?!)

Rolled kale.

Meanwhile, or after you’re done with the kale rolling, saute the zucchini, onion and garlic until opaque…about 5-7 minutes.

Dump in the crushed tomatoes, combine and let simmer on low for 4-5 minutes.

While that’s simmering, combine the cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese and fresh herbs with a touch of salt and pepper.

Then start layering…noodles, cheese, kale, sauce…repeat.


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Lasagna with Kale, Zucchini and Garden Herbs

Yield – 6 to 8 servings

Preparation Time – 35 to 45 minutes

Cooking Time – 35 to 40 minutes


  • 12-16 kale leaves, stems removed (from the garden)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($.03)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed ($.05)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped ($.20)
  • 1 small zucchini, about 1/2 lb., chopped ($.69)
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes ($1.79)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 12 lasagna noodles, no-boil or cooked ($1.49)
  • 3 cups cottage cheese ($2.50)
  • 1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese ($1.12)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese ($.50)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh herbs – basil, oregano, thyme, parsely – chopped (from the garden)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, topping ($.75)


  • Boil the kale leaves in salted water for about a minute.  Then place on paper or clean dish towel and roll and squeeze dry. Set aside until ready to layer.
  • Saute the garlic, zucchini, onion in olive oil for 5-7 minutes, or until opaque. Add the crushed tomatoes and let simmer another 4-5 minutes. Set aside until ready to layer.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and the chopped fresh herbs. Set aside until ready to layer.
  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • Layer in a lasagna pan, or a 9×13 baking dish…noodles, cheese, kale, sauce…repeat. Top with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes, or until cheese begins to golden on top. Let cool slightly before serving.
  • Enjoy as is for a one dish dinner, with a side salad or fresh fruit.

Cost $9.12

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  1. Nancy says

    Thank you Erin! I have never cooked with kale, but I have signed ou with Green B.E.A.N delivery and my bin will have kale in it. Now I have a recipe! Thanks you!

    • Christy says

      I agree with this! I teach preschool, and we are growing kale in our class garden on our playground. The children thought the crispy kale (I called it kale chips, but our little budding horticulturist insists that it’s called “crispy kale”) was pretty cool… some of them ate a ton!

  2. says

    I can’t wait to make this. I have so much kale and zucchini right now that I was wondering what to do with. I love kale, so I am always looking for new ways to use it. I have put up at least 50 quarts of it so far this summer. I wonder how well this would freeze? I will have to make a couple up and find out. Looks delicious!!

  3. Debbie says

    This looks absolutely delicious! I’ve grown Kale for years. I consider it a superfood because it is so good for us. The Kale in my garden last year survived despite some below zero temps and lots of snow and actually began to grow again in the spring. I was able to cut it twice before I took it out and planted new seed. I’ve never grown Kale from plants, always seeds and I’ve always had plenty to eat, freeze and give away. I season Kale with bacon and simmer it. Tastes so good. I also make a winter soup of italian sausage, kale and potatoes. It is similar to Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks for posting it!

  4. says

    This looks delish, and I just harvested some kale from my own garden, so guess what I’m making tonight! I don’t have zucchini, but I think I’m going to use a little ground turkey to bulk it up… all the gardening I’ve been doing lately, I need the protein! Oh, and I linked up a recipe for roasted chicken on my own blog- check it out. It’s probably similar to something you’ve done before- the only “thing” is the particular mix of seasonings, which is by far the best of any I’ve ever used- the paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder are key, the others are a little variable.

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