Simple Supper Friday: Three-Layer Grain-Free Lasagna

Fresh, three-layer lasagnaI 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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. Once meat is browned after several minutes, remove from heat and set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. Add in both the Pomi and freshly-chopped tomatoes. Stir in the sea salt, pepper, oregano and red pepper flakes.
  5. After a couple minutes, add in the tomato paste.
  6. Continue to cook for several minutes over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and set aside.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 – 60 minutes. Let sit for about 10 – 15 minutes after removing it from the oven.
Gorgeous, vibrant tomatoes
Gorgeous, vibrant tomatoes.
Homemade marinara sauce in the making
Homemade marinara sauce in the making.
Zucchini lasagna "noodles"
Zucchini lasagna “noodles.”
and after, fresh out of the oven
Fresh out of the oven.

Open wide!

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16 thoughts on “Simple Supper Friday: Three-Layer Grain-Free Lasagna

  1. Almond Oats. August 3, 2012 / 10:20 pm

    Looks great! I need to get a mandolin slicer for zucchini. Too many paleo recipes require one and it just looks like so much fun! I haven’t really worked with milk for yogurt or cheese making purposes but you make it sound easy! I’m still too afraid of wasting a pint of milk to spoiled/improperly made yogurt.

    • paleoinportland August 4, 2012 / 8:08 am

      Thanks, it tasted awesome! I actually need to get a mandolin slicer too … these were all cut by hand. I just have to go slow and be careful, so I don’t cut myself. Making homemade yogurt is SO easy! I know you could do it, especially if you have a yogurt maker. Mine is the Yogourmet brand and I got it on Amazon for about $55. I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth out of it and then some.

  2. mismashed August 3, 2012 / 10:23 pm

    I’m thinking of going paleo! My sister is paleo for medical reasons and I envy her boundless energy and glowing revitalization. I love this blog 🙂

    • paleoinportland August 4, 2012 / 8:04 am

      Thanks for your kind words @mismashed! I’m happy to hear you enjoy my blog 🙂 That’s great that you’re considering trying paleo. I can’t speak highly enough about it and encourage you to give it a shot. After all, what do you have to lose? A 30-day commitment is a nice way to try it out, but if you don’t want to commit to that even 10-14 days is great. I hope you decide to test the waters. Let me know if you have any questions!

      • mismashed August 4, 2012 / 9:07 am

        Do you think a tree nut allergy would inhibit my ability to go paleo?

  3. Corrie Anne August 3, 2012 / 11:56 pm

    I was just made some zucchini pasta tonight!! It’s the best sub ever!! I love it. Definitely want to try it in a lasagna like this as well.

    • paleoinportland August 4, 2012 / 10:12 am

      Nice Corrie Anne! I love using zucchini as pasta noodles. It’s so versatile, not to mention delicious! Let me know how you like it in a lasagna if you give it a try.

  4. teabagginit August 4, 2012 / 10:01 am

    delicious! i have a huge zucchini from the garden and i think this is its destiny!

  5. paleoinportland August 4, 2012 / 10:29 am

    @mishmashed, no not at all! In fact, nuts shouldn’t be a staple part of the diet anyway and can cause problems if you regularly eat too many. They’re meant to be used more as a condiment and not as a main source of protein. For baking, you can still use coconut flour too. Check out this article by Mark Sisson about eating primal/paleo and having food allergies http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-go-primal-with-food-allergies-and-restrictions/#axzz22bEUARvP.

  6. mommab August 4, 2012 / 12:07 pm

    This looks amazing! Perfect recipe to be making in Michigan with our overabundance of zucchini! Did you mean to post, bake at least 15 minutes or should it of been 45 minutes? Thought it was maybe a typo. XOXO

    • paleoinportland August 4, 2012 / 1:02 pm

      Nope, that’s not a typo — 45 minutes is the correct baking time. Maybe we can make some when I come home 😉

  7. cavemanmodernwoman August 4, 2012 / 10:06 pm

    What a fab idea! I love lasagne and have been trying to think of a substitute for the pasta sheets for ages! Defo trying this soon!!

    • paleoinportland August 5, 2012 / 1:33 pm

      Great, let me know how you like it! I thought it was fantastic!

  8. Tara August 4, 2012 / 10:29 pm

    I like the idea of zucchini standing in for noodles. I think I’ll try that in my regular lasagna recipe.

    • paleoinportland August 5, 2012 / 1:34 pm

      Yes, it works surprisingly well and isn’t heavy like a typical lasagna. I hope you like it!

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