Saturday, March 9, 2013

Paleo Zucchini & Sausage "Lasagna"

Okay, so this recipe is not exactly "lasagna," but it's the closest name I could come up with since "baked zucchini mushroom tomato sausage casserole" just doesn't have the best ring to it.  For this meal I kind of just invented what I was doing along the way.  I've made baked ziti/lasagna plenty of times so I figured I could just substitute vegetables for the pasta and omit all the gooey cheesey goodness and it would be almost the same thing.  Well, it turned out pretty delicious!  (But how can you go wrong with Italian flavors??)  For the meat in this dish, I used bulk Italian mild sausage and it was definitely a good choice (lucky for me it was the only meat that wasn't frozen at the time).  Now I know there is debate in the Paleo world about sausage (debate about Paleo, really??), but I decided to go for it.  Technically, it is "processed" because there are spices added and such, but guess what, bacon is technically "processed" too!  And people aren't going to eliminate bacon from their lives, right?!  Regardless, it is meat and it was delicious.  You can use plain ground beef/pork instead if you are worried, but make sure to season it up to get more flavor!

The final issue I had with this was of course cheese, since ideally you have cheese in your lasagna/casseroles.  Instead of going totally cheese-less, I decided to top it with some dollops of my almond cream "cheese."  Now, it won't melt and get all gooey, but it has a similar consistency to ricotta and is a decent cheese substitute here.  If you don't want to make that, you can go cheese-less here- with all the other flavors it would still taste great!   As always, if you are eating dairy, you should use cheese for sure!  Some mozzarella/ricotta/parmesan would be fantastic here.  Do whatever works best for you.  Here is what I did:

Paleo Zucchini & Sausage "Lasagna"
(makes 4 servings)
  • 1 lb bulk Italian mild sausage (use ground beef if you want)
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1/2 t oregano
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into long thin strips
  • 1 c sliced mushrooms
  • a few dollops of almond cream "cheese" (optional, or use real ricotta/mozzarella/parmesan if you aren't Paleo)
Heat 1 T oil in a skillet over medium-high.  Once it is hot, add the onions, garlic, and sausage.  Use a wooden spoon to break up the meat and cook until the sausage has no more pink showing.  Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce, as well as the spices.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.  Give it a good stir and allow the meat/sauce mixture to bubble up, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for a few minutes.  In the meantime, get your oven preheated to 350 degrees.  Once the meat/sauce has simmered and is perfectly seasoned with all the flavors melded together, you can start your lasagna layering.  Take a 9 x 9 pan and place a layer of the thin zucchini strips across the bottom.  Next, scoop half of the meat/sauce mixture over top.  Next, spread out half of the mushrooms across the top (and sprinkle on some cheese if you are using it). Repeat the layers.  Add a couple dollops of almond cream "cheese" on top if you wish.  Cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes until it is really bubbling.  Here is is right out of the oven (notice the cheese blobs since it doesn't melt- oh well!).

Once you scoop this up to serve, it won't keep the shape that normal lasagna would, since there is no cheese to glue it all together, so it may get a little messy.  But, it will taste delicious since all the flavors will be blended together and hot and full of Italian seasonings.  This meal was really great and it was fun to experiment with a new idea.  Maybe when we start eating dairy again I will try it with cheese and see how it goes.  Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. I've tried this recipe before and I have to say that zucchini and sausage make a great combination. You'll definitely love the taste! My family enjoyed it the first time I served it to them. My kids loved it the most though. They even left the pasta bowl empty! :')

    Dione Nye