Monday, March 24, 2014

Delicious and healthy Lasagna {vegetarian or paleo options}

I have awesome pictures to accompany this recipe. They show delicious cheese, colorful veggies, and juicy tomatoes. They are stuck on my camera. As soon as I get them off, you'll get to see them! 
The first time I made lasagna for Jarrod I put sausage in the blender. I was a sausage novice and didn't know the difference between buying cooked and uncooked sausage. I was hoping to cook the sausage into the sauce - crumbly and everything. Turns out I bought cooked sausage. No crumbling happening there. So I put it in the food processor and literally made sausage mousse. I mixed it with the sauce and while it was weird and interesting, Jarrod loved it. He still talks about the sausage infused in every bite.

Since then I've made many different types of lasagna, including eggplant lasagna with noodles, eggplant lasagna without noodles, and paleasagna - something we dub veggiesagna. While we were menu planning this week we decided to try something new and incorporate some of my favorite things about each of these recipes into one awesome lasagna.
We had frozen ground beef in the freezer ready to be used, but you can always omit or use turkey or sausage. We normally use turkey but had beef left over from a cookout. 
Delicious and Healthy Lasagna 
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 table spoon of olive oil
  • 1 pound of meat, optional and your choice
  • 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 15 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 tablespoons of Italian spice blend - or garlic powder, parsley, etc. 
  • 1-2 lbs. of various vegetables - zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, broccoli, etc.
  • Lasagna noodle, optional
  • 1-2 cups of cheese - you can use paleo-approved cheese, shredded cheese, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, or goat cheese
  • 1 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups of greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
Start a large skillet on medium high and drizzle with olive oil. Add the onion and garlic to the pan. Cook until soft. Once the onions are cooked, you can either remove them and put the meat in the same pan or add the meat to the onions. If you're using meat, cook until cooked thoroughly. Drain grease if necessary. If you've removed the onions, add them back.
If you are using noodles, add in the veggies now. You can cut veggies however you'd like, but the smaller the better. If you aren't using noodles, no need to add the veggies at this point because they will be your noodle separators. Cook the veggies until al dente. 
Add tomatoes, paste, salt, and spices. You can season the sauce to your preference. I typically leave out most of the salt and use garlic salt instead. You can add basil, parsley, oregano, or anything else. Simmer the sauce until you reach the desired thickness. I usually simmer for about an hour or so. 

While the sauce is simmering, mix the chopped cauliflower, egg, and yogurt. This is the ricotta mixture of your lasagna. You can season this with some garlic salt or Italian seasoning. You can also add a little bit of cheese. This is a great place to add a little parmesan! Mix that all up and set it aside.

Now you're ready to assemble your lasagna! 
If you're using vegetables as noodles be sure they are sliced appropriately. Jarrod likes to cut them long and thin with the mandoline. I prefer cutting medallions. If you're using eggplant, they cut nicely into noodles. Zucchini or squash work great when cut into medallions.  
Spread some sauce across the bottom of your pan. I use a 9x13" glass casserole dish. Put your first layer of noodles or veggie noodles on the bottom. Add a thin layer of your yogurt/cauliflower mixture. Add a little cheese and another layer of sauce.

Repeat this process until you've used all your veggies, sauce, and yogurt mixture. Make sure to end with sauce and cheese on the top!

Bake your lasagna for 45-60 minutes at 375* or until the cheese is brown and noodles (veggie or regular) are cooked.
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