The Kitchen Diva's Vegetarian Pasta

The Kitchen Diva has fooled carnivores for years with this vegetarian dish that offers all the protein and taste associated with meat, but only contain half the calories.

1 lb Soy-based meat alternative (preferably sausage-flavored)
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 Onion (peeled and diced)
2 cloves Garlic (peeled and minced)
2 Large Portobello mushrooms (cleaned, stems removed, and caps finely minced)
1 tbsp Vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Salt (divided)
2 tsp Ground black pepper (divided)
2 tbsp Italian seasoning (divided)
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
1 jar (32 oz.) Low-sodium pasta sauce
1 jar (16 oz.) Mild salsa
1/2 tsp Sugar substitute
14-16 Lasagna noodles (oven ready, no boil, whole wheat or regular)
16 oz Low-fat ricotta cheese
1 Egg
3/4 lb Low-fat mozzarella cheese (sliced)
3/4 cup Grated parmesan cheese
1 lb Fresh baby spinach (washed and dried)

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the soy-based meat alternative, olive oil, onion, garlic, mushrooms, vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper,1 tbsp Italian seasoning, nutmeg and the cayenne pepper. Mix with a fork to combine. Micro-cook in the microwave on medium-high power for 5 to 6 minutes, breaking up the meat with a fork after 3 minutes.

Combine the pasta sauce and the salsa with the faux-meat mixture. Stir in the sugar substitute and 1/2 tbsp of the Italian seasoning. Simmer, cover with a plate or with microwave-safe plastic wrap for about 10 minutes on medium-low to low heat, stirring after 5 minutes. If you don't know how to adjust the temperature on your microwave oven, use the defrost setting and cook the sauce for 10 minutes.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese with the egg and the remaining 1/2 tbsp of the Italian seasoning. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 ° F.

To assemble, spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 4 oven-ready, no-boil noodles lengthwise over the sauce and break one noodle to fit sideways across the ends of the baking dish.

Spread 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture over the noodles. Top with a third of the fresh spinach and the mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1/2 cup of the meat sauce over the mozzarella. Repeat layering, topping off the last layer with the rest of the sauce, and reserving any of the remaining cheese for later use.

Cover the pan with foil. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Remove foil, and top with any remaining mozzarella and the parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the lasagna is tender when pierced with a fork and the sauce is bubbling around the edges. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.