Grain Free, Dairy Free Lasagna
Growing up in an Italian family, lasagna was a frequent dish that we often had for holidays or Sunday dinner. It’s a comfort food that most people enjoy however it contains grain and dairy which many people find inflammatory. I’m always looking for healthy alternatives to my all time favorite recipes that will satisfy my cravings for certain foods without ruining my clean eating plan.
This version of zucchini lasagna is so simple and delicious I promise you will be making it more than just special occasions. I’ve used zucchini however you could easily use eggplant or mix in other vegetables like slices of butternut squash for variety and different flavor combinations. With summer coming soon we will be bombarded with organic zucchini so this will make a great summertime recipe too.
I make my own sauce really easily with a box of POMI tomatoes. I love these tomatoes in a carton because they are GMO free, have no added sodium and because its not a can they are free of dangerous BPA (Bisphenol-A). BPA (Bisphenol-A) is a chemical that is often used in cans. This is a concern because of possible health effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. Using fresh or carton tomatoes will avoid this unnecessary exposure to this chemical.
This lasagna is grain free because the noodles are made from the zucchini making it much lower in calories and net carbs as well as being loaded with vitamin C and fiber as well as being a good source vitamin A, magnesium, folate, potassium, copper, and phosphorus. Many people are choosing to be grain free to lower the net carbs in their diet, avoid gluten and lower their overall inflammation in their bodies. Anytime we can use vegetables in place of grains we accomplish all our goals.
Dairy can be very inflammatory for many people because of the protein casein. Casein for these people can cause inflammation which makes it very difficult to lose weight. Other people have trouble digesting the sugar in dairy called lactose. Lactose can wreck havoc on the intestinal tract causing people to have gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Conventional dairy can also contain recumbant growth hormone (rBGH) and antibiotics. In addition, these animals are fed GMO grain which also contains the pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers in the grain. These toxic hormones and chemicals are stored in the fat of the animal and transferred to your milk product. As the saying goes, “you are what your meat eats” so avoiding diary altogether can be a healthy move for most people.
With all that said, I have made the most amazing “ricotta” cheese to go into this zucchini lasagna. It’s super simple and is made from cashews right in my Vitamix. If you don’t have a high speed blender, you can use a food processor.
Enjoy this recipe and play around with it to try some other variations by adding some slices of eggplant, yellow squash or butternut squash.
Zucchini Lasagna with Cashew Cheese
4 medium organic zucchini
For Cashew Cheese:
1 cup whole cashews, soaked overnight
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 tsp. salt
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 carton POMI tomatoes or 5 large fresh tomatoes
1/4 tsp. salt
fresh basil to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Soak the cashews for an hour or overnight by putting them in a container and covering with water.
3. Drain the cashews and put into a high speed blender with all the other ingredients. Mix well and set aside.
4. Slice zucchini using a mandolin or a knife making thin, 1/8th inch slices. Place the slices on paper towels and sprinkle with salt on both sides. Allow them to sit for 15-20 minutes to absorb some of the moisture.
5. Make the sauce by sauteeing the onion and garlic until soft about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt and basil and allow flavors to simmer for a few minutes.
6. In a 9 X 13 inch pan, take 1/4 cup sauce and spread it on the bottom of the pan. Spread the zucchini slices to cover the bottom of the dish. Add 1/2 cup sauce than 1/4 cup cheese and repeat with zucchini slices, adding layers and topping the final layer off with just sauce. Place some fresh basil leaves on top for garnish.
7. Cover the lasagna and bake for 30 minutes than remove cover and bake an additinal 20 minutes until top is slightly browned and noodles are soft.
Fat: 7 g
Carbs: 9 g
Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 4 g
Are you looking to transform your health? Mary works with clients all over the country developing personalized nutrition and exercise plans for weight loss and health. If you’re ready to get started on your journey to health and wellness contact her today!