Imagine eating lasagna that could be made dairy free, vegan, grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free, loaded with health benefits and actually DELICIOUS? That sounds impossible. But it is possible and it exists!
Don’t give up on your favorite comfort food dishes just because you decided to eat clean and Paleo. The reason why the Paleo lifestyle is attainable is because you can recreate almost any dish or recipe within the Paleo parameters.
Let’s get cooking…
For the lasagna/sauce:
- 2-3 large green zucchinis (these are your “noodles”)
- 32 oz jar of marinara sauce (only whole ingredients- no soy, salt or sugar. I use Victoria’s or Whole Foods brand- both organic)
- 1 small onion- chopped.
- 3 tbsp garlic
- Half bag of spinach leaves
- 2 cups chopped mushrooms
- 1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 1.5 pounds of ground meat or turkey. To make this vegan, leave this out completely, or add beyond meat ground beef.
For the ricotta “cheese”
- 2 cups of raw, unsalted cashews
- 1-1.5 cups of unsweetened cashew or almond milk
- 1/3 cup of fresh basil, chopped.
- 4 tbsp of peeled garlic or crushed garlic (I buy pre-peeled packs from Trader Joes and use one of the packets)
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
While this may seem like a difficult recipe, if you break this up into steps throughout the day/afternoon, it is easy as (paleo!) pie!
First, wash the zucchinis and slice vertically, as thin as you can. Take a large rectangular oven safe glass pan. Pat the zucchini slices with paper towel and line pan with a fresh paper towel. Place the zucchini slices side by side and salt each slice. Then place paper towel over the slices and repeat with next layer. This dries out the zucchini. Change paper towels periodically (at least once).
Pre-heat the oven to 400.
Next, let’s make our ricotta “cheese.” Boil a small pot of water and add the two cups of cashews for around 15 minutes. Strain the cashews and pat dry. In a blender, add the cashews, almond milk, fresh basil, oregano, garlic and salt. Blend on high speed. If you notice it’s too lumpy and not blending easy, add some more almond milk. Once this is whipped up, scoop out and set aside in a medium bowl.
Now let’s make our sauce. In a medium non-stick pan, add in some oil (I prefer avocado oil) onions and sauté. If you are adding meat to make this a hearty meat sauce, add to the pan and cook thoroughly. In a separate large pan, add some oil and add in all your veggies- spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, and add any other vegetable that you fancy. I would add olives, but then none of my family members would eat this. Once the vegetables are softened, add in the jar of marinara sauce. I am a big fan of extra spices, feel free to add more garlic, oregano and/or basil. Mix together well and then add in the meat and mix again.
Finally, we layer our lasagna! Remove the dried zucchini from the glass baking dish and with a large spoon, add some of the sauce to the bottom of the dish. Then, place the zucchini side by side, just touching. These are our noodles. Second layer: add a generous amount of the meat/veggie sauce. Finally, add glops of the “ricotta” cheese as our final layer. You should be able to repeat the layers at least one more time. I like to add fresh basil and some more garlic on the final layer.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. After the time is up, remove and let it cool down. I like to add a drizzle of avocado oil over the lasagna as it is cooling. Serve. Eat. Repeat. No bloating and fatigue to follow.
Lisa A. Bloom resides in New York with her husband and three wonderful daughters. She graduated from the University at Albany with majors in English and Psychology and received her law degree from Hofstra University. When she isn’t working, Lisa enjoys spending time with family, writing, hot yoga and cooking Paleo. You can follow her on Instagram @Paleoworkingmama