I know what you’re probably thinking … lasagna is not that simple. Well, yes and no, but in this case, it’s a yes. The ingredients are straight forward, as is the process of putting it together, but do plan ahead time-wise because it has to bake for at least 45 minutes. That’s my one and only forewarning.
I didn’t go off of any recipe for this because it seemed too easy to even bother, and guess what? I was right. To make it even easier, you can sub your favorite marinara sauce for the homemade sauce (I like Cucina Antica or Monte Bene brand – both have no sugar added and are preservative/additive-free). Alternatively, you can use a whole can of chopped tomatoes instead of just 1/2 cup and two fresh tomatoes. I had an open box of Pomi tomatoes in my fridge, which is why I only used 1/2 cup. Luckily, I had two fresh, beautiful tomatoes that came in my CSA box this week to add to the leftover tomatoes. With this addition, I had the perfect amount of sauce. Also, feel free to leave out the 24-hour yogurt cheese. SCD 24-hour yogurt is one of the the few dairy products I can and do eat, but feel free to omit or sub it for whatever you like. 24-hour yogurt isn’t something folks usually have on hand anyway, nor can you buy it in the store.
It’s funny cause I kinda made the yogurt cheese by accident, without even knowing what I was doing. I was heating up some organic whole milk on the stove for yogurt like usual, which I’ve done at least 100 times, and suddenly I noticed the milk starting to separate. It looked watery and the whey and curd were separating from each other. I have never had this happen before and was a bit puzzled. The milk was still good, didn’t smell bad and hadn’t even reached its sell-by date yet, so I wasn’t worried about that, but I had a strong suspicion it would not turn into yogurt. I proceeded on and added the cultures after it cooled and then put everything in the yogurt maker. When done culturing, 24-30 hours later, I put it in the fridge. When I looked at it later on, I noticed that the entire top half of the yogurt container was filled with whey. I dumped it out and strained the contents. What’s left was cheese, and not a typical smooth yogurt cheese (which I’ve made before with whole goat’s milk – it’s yummy), but a drier and grittier cheese. It was like dry curd cottage cheese that had been put into a food processor. It tasted fine, but strong and almost parmesan-like. At that moment, I felt determined to use it for a lasagna. I thought it’d work perfectly. Plus, I wasn’t too drawn to the idea of eating this cheese on its own because it tasted too strong. Anyway, it was a strange mishap that turned out to be a success in a different way. It’s possible my milk separated because it got too hot too fast or the pot wasn’t thoroughly cleaned, even though it looked clean (please know, Jesse cleaned the pot last, not me … busted … tee hee hee!).
- 2 tsp grass-fed ghee
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- 2-3 medium zucchinis, thinly sliced lengthwise (about 1/8 inch thick)
- 1/2 C SCD 24-hour yogurt cheese, optional
- dash of dried basil
For the sauce:
- 1/2 C Pomi brand chopped tomatoes (or brand of your choosing)
- 2 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp grass-fed ghee
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- pepper to taste
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- dash of red pepper flakes
- Heat two tsp of ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and two minced garlic cloves. After a minute or so, add in the grass-fed ground beef. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.
- Once meat is browned after several minutes, remove from heat and set aside.
- For the sauce, if making homemade, heat one teaspoon of ghee in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add minced garlic clove and sauté for 30-ish seconds.
- Add in both the Pomi and freshly-chopped tomatoes. Stir in the sea salt, pepper, oregano and red pepper flakes.
- After a couple minutes, add in the tomato paste.
- Continue to cook for several minutes over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a 8×8 or 9×9 pan, spread about 1/4 cup of sauce over the bottom. Top with a layer of zucchini slices and then top with all of the meat mixture. Next, pour about 1 or 1-1/2 cups of sauce over the meat and top with a second layer of zucchini.
- If using cheese, spread a thin layer evenly on top of the zucchini. If not using cheese, top a 1/2 cup of sauce or so on top of the zucchini. Garnish with dried basil on top.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 – 60 minutes. Let sit for about 10 – 15 minutes after removing it from the oven.