Have any unusual holiday food traditions at your house? Ours is lasagna on Christmas Eve. My boys can’t wait to come home to it again this year (2013). Here’s the challenge: pasta’s not paleo…
This upcoming holiday season will be my first since going paleo.
My beautiful boys are looking forward to sitting down to their once-a-year Hallmark moment beside the yuletide fire with mom serving their favorite homemade holiday dish (we’re part Italian) of my full-on pasta and cheese lasagna.
My boys know I’d do absolutely anything for them. But in this case, I’m feeding them the paleo version.
They’re 20 years old, for crying out loud. They can man-up and eat my caveman cooking this time for goodness sake.
And you know what? They’re going to absolutely love it !!!
Here’s why…I invested some time coming up with this 100% paleo lasagna, and I’ve got to say it’s incredibly good! I mean hard-to-tell-the-difference-from-the-real-thing good!
OK. So maybe I’m full of myself. But my Italian heritage is on the line here. I have a rep in my family for baking amazing lasagna. How can I not try to be as great with my 100% paleo version?
First I spent some time investigating the “nut cheeses.” I found out cashew cheese is a favorite with vegans. That can work for my lasagna.
It’s no secret paleo people have used nut cheeses in recipes before, but I really wanted the flavors to go perfectly together. I added salt, garlic and onion to it and was impressed with the flavor and consistency. I wanted something like ricotta cheese. A little blending in the food processor with some almond milk (I tried it with coconut milk, but didn’t like flavor) and bam! I’m in heaven.
I used zucchini as my lasagna noodles. I’m in love with everything zucchini right now, and it was awesome! Note: when you buy the zuchinni look for the fat ones. They’ll slice up into the wider noodles you want.
And I think you’ll find the rich and hearty meat sauce is to die for. It adds layers of authentic Italian flavor to every delicious bite of this gluten-free and dairy-free lasagna.
You need to try this one. It’s much easier than it looks. Granted you have to make the nut “cheese,” but after a good soaking in water and a quick whirl in the food processor, it’s done!
And for this one, you don’t have to cook the noodles – you just need to slice them. And only the “cheese” and sautéed mushrooms are “extra” steps. But it’s so worth it.
I promise you won’t be disappointed. It’s truly lick your fingers good.
I’m doing my happy dance right now. That’s kinda scary, but I wanted to let you know this paleo lasagna recipe is the real deal :)
Awesome Paleo Lasagna Recipe
- 1 lb mild or hot Italian sausage casings removed (we used hot)
- 1/2 lb grass-fed ground beef
- 1/2 cup onion chopped small
- 1 28-oz can San Marzano peeled tomatoes and sauce
- 1 15-oz can of tomato sauce
- 1 6-oz can of tomato paste
- 2 8-oz packages of sliced mushrooms
- 2 10-oz packages of frozen spinach (thawed)
- 4-5 medium-sized zucchini
- 1 1/2 cup of cashews
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 3 cloves of garlic pressed or minced
Seasonings for Lasagna Sauce
- 1 tsp of dried basil
- 1 tsp or dried thyme
- 1 tsp of dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1-2 Tbsp of fresh chopped parsley leaves
- Optional: Add red pepper flakes as desired
Seasonings for Cashew Cheese
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp dried onion
- 1/4 tsp dried garlic
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- Day before: Soak cashews in water (no need to refrigerate)
- In a large pot, add 2 tsp of olive oil and sauté onion and garlic over medium heat, or until onions are tender
- Add Italian sausage and beef in pot, cook until meat is browned
- Drain fat
- Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste
- Add remaining lasagna sauce spices
- Allow sauce to simmer in pot while continuing below (best if simmered 30 mins to 1 hour)
- In a frying pan with a little olive oil, sauté mushrooms (with any kind of seasonings or parsley if you like)
- Set sautéed mushrooms aside
- Place thawed spinach in bowl, squeeze as much water out of it as possible
- Set spinach aside
- Drain water from the soaking cashews, and pour cashews into a food processor
- Add almond milk and spices to the food processor
- Pulse or blend until cashews become a smooth and creamy consistency (something like ricotta cheese)
- Add 2 cups of the cashew “cheese” into the bowl with spinach and blend together
- Preheat oven to 350º F
- Slice zucchini lengthwise, (first trim two opposite sides so it doesn't roll around on the board) Slice noodles about 1/4-inch thick (works by hand with a knife) don't worry about them all being the exact same thickness
- Get out a 9" x 12" baking dish
- Smooth a little bit of the lasagna sauce along the bottom of the pan
- Place one layer of zucchini noodles lengthwise across the bottom of the pan
- Add about half of cashew cheese and spinach mixture along the top of the zucchini noodles layer
- On top of that, add half of the pan of sautéed mushrooms
- Top with lasagna sauce enough to cover the top (don’t skimp, there’ll be plenty)
- Repeat the above steps with a second layer of zucchini noodles, cashew cheese and spinach, and again with the sautéed mushrooms and lasanga sauce
- Now bake uncovered for about 50-60 minutes (or until it starts to bubble around the edges)
- Remove from oven, let stand a few minutes, slice and serve