In a recent chat with Ted Allen, the host of the hit show Chopped, I learned about a few everyday ingredients that make many dishes better. And as we discussed all things cooking and entertaining, Allen posed this question: “You must spend time trying to figure out ways to make your favorite foods less fattening—doesn’t everybody?”
That’s when I learned about Allen’s latest collaboration with Unilever. He’s creating recipes using their buttery spreads in place of real butter. While it’s no secret these spreads help reduce calories and saturated fat, Allen noted that it’s also about “looking for ways to develop flavor that work without going crazy with fat.”
Being a curious cook, I had to try one of these recipes. So last night I made Allen’s Butternut Squash and Mushroom Lasagna. “It’s not a recipe about denial,” he says. “The overwhelming characteristic of it is richness.” And I totally agree! Allen uses ingredients that are hearty yet healthy—whole wheat pasta, butternut squash, low-fat ricotta cheese, a butter substitute (I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter). “You’re talking about a pretty-good-for-you lasagna in comparison to a lot of the lasagnas we all know and love,” Allen says. “That and a salad and I’m good to go.”
Well, I’m ready for seconds.