Biotest

No-Pasta Lasagna


#1

[center] Low-Carb, No-Pasta Lasagna [/center]
[center] [/center]
It started with a cat.

“Why does that fat cat like lasagna so much?” I thought when I was about 12 years old. “What is it anyway?”

Yep, because of Garfield I just had to try lasagna. Thanks for the extra adipose tissue, Jim Davis.

These days, I still love lasagna. What I don’t love is being a pudgeball, so a while back I set about “healthing up” lasagna.

At first, I fell for the usual trap – trying to find a “better-bad” lasagna noodle. No such luck. Even the ones with more fiber and a little flax were far from abs-friendly. Finally I ditched the pasta altogether and subbed in vegetables, usually zucchini, yellow squash, or eggplant. Much to my surprise, this worked very well. With the right flavors and textures, it was actually difficult to tell that you were eating pasta-less lasagna.

Pasta problem solved, I moved on to the rest of the ingredients. Most recipes call for part-skim ricotta cheese, and that’s fine. But after forgetting to buy it one day, I was forced to sub in what I had lying around in the fridge… which was fat-free sour cream. Worked like a charm and dropped 140 calories from the recipe since FF sour cream is less calorie-dense than ricotta.

For sauce, I just go for the store-bought variety with the lowest sugar and calorie content. There are a couple made by Classico that work well. I’m also learning to make my own sauce – more on that in the future.

Finally, I use fat-free or reduced fat cheese to drop the caloric load, then extra lean ground beef or turkey if I’m making the meaty version… and I’m usually making the meaty version since I’m Texan and therefore required to have dead animals at every meal. (State law.)

There are a thousand variations, but here’s one of my favorites so far. This is a combination of my standard recipe with some inspiration from Floridagirl, one of our V-Life members who has her own food <a href="http://stuffimakemyhusband.blogspot.com"target=“new”>blog.

[center] No-Pasta Lasagna [/center]
The Stuff

1 pound of extra lean ground beef or turkey
1 pound of zucchini or yellow squash
1 cup or so of reduced fat or fat-free shredded mozzarella cheese
1 jar of low-sugar pasta sauce
Diced onion (I used frozen, pre-chopped, a few handfuls)
Spoonful or two of chopped garlic (I get it pre-chopped and jarred)
A few handfuls of frozen, chopped spinach
A few dashes of Italian herb blend or oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, etc.
16 ounces fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 omega-3 egg or two egg whites if you prefer
1 10-oz package of frozen broccoli

Putting It All Together

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

  2. Slice your zucchini into thin slices. A mandolin-style slicer helps here, or just practice your knife skills.

  3. Brown meat in a pan. Drain. Set aside.

  4. Cook spinach and broccoli (boil or microwave if using frozen), drain the excess water, chop broccoli, and set aside.

  5. Toss onions and garlic into a pan with a shot of Pam or olive oil, and cook until tender and fragrant. Mix with browned meat, sauce, and seasonings.

[center] [/center]
6. In a bowl, mix sour cream, parm, egg or egg white, and chopped broccoli. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  1. In a 13" x 9" pan, build a foundation of zucchini, layering them in like this:

[center] [/center]
8. Add a layer of the sour cream mixture, then a layer of the meat mixture, about half of each.

  1. Repeat with remaining goodies: another layer of zucchini, another layer of sour cream, another layer of meat. Cover the top with shredded mozzarella cheese.

  2. Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes or so.

That may seem like a lot of steps, but it’s really hard to screw this up. Feel free to experiment with different vegetables, canned tomatoes instead of pre-made pasta sauce, skim ricotta instead of sour cream, etc.

[center] [/center]
Enjoy! And if you make it, be sure to share your pics and tell us about your variations below! – Chris


#2

Been waiting for you to post yours! Will def make this week!


#3

On my menu for the week, I am excited for it too!!


#4

Saw the recipe this morning, bought the ingredients this afternoon and made/ate it tonight. I bought some sour cream, but went with the ricotta cheese since this was my first time making lasagna without noodles or eggplant. It was a well-received success, though, so I’m going to make it again next week with the sour cream instead.

The people who ate it didn’t notice there were no noodles, though. I didn’t mention it until someone asked what the “green stuff” was.

I like these types of dishes, since they provide at least a couple of meals even when more than one person is eating.


#5

[quote]BrickCallahan wrote:
Saw the recipe this morning, bought the ingredients this afternoon and made/ate it tonight. I bought some sour cream, but went with the ricotta cheese since this was my first time making lasagna without noodles or eggplant. It was a well-received success, though, so I’m going to make it again next week with the sour cream instead.

The people who ate it didn’t notice there were no noodles, though. I didn’t mention it until someone asked what the “green stuff” was.

I like these types of dishes, since they provide at least a couple of meals even when more than one person is eating.[/quote]

It’s funny, some folks will get downright angry if you tell them to take the pasta noodles out of their lasagna… but if you make it and serve it to them, they don’t know they’re eating pasta-less lasagna until you tell them. People are weird.


#6

[quote]Chris Shugart wrote:

[quote]BrickCallahan wrote:
Saw the recipe this morning, bought the ingredients this afternoon and made/ate it tonight. I bought some sour cream, but went with the ricotta cheese since this was my first time making lasagna without noodles or eggplant. It was a well-received success, though, so I’m going to make it again next week with the sour cream instead.

The people who ate it didn’t notice there were no noodles, though. I didn’t mention it until someone asked what the “green stuff” was.

I like these types of dishes, since they provide at least a couple of meals even when more than one person is eating.[/quote]

It’s funny, some folks will get downright angry if you tell them to take the pasta noodles out of their lasagna… but if you make it and serve it to them, they don’t know they’re eating pasta-less lasagna until you tell them. People are weird.

[/quote]

I love when people are enjoying it, then you tell them what’s in it, and then they freak out.


#7

I was going to snap some pictures, but the whole damn thing is already gone.


#8

Holy F this looks really good. Gotta make this on Saturday. Going to try the fudge too.


#9

[quote]BrickCallahan wrote:
I was going to snap some pictures, but the whole damn thing is already gone.[/quote]

That happens to me quite often. Especially with the wifey’s no-carb fudge.


#10

Chris: One thing that I found, that made a HUGE difference in my recipe over the years with the aforementioned sauce (not to steal any thunder from any future posts on the subject), goes something like this:

  1. You have to find top quality canned plum tomatoes. My vast (and over-engineered, possibly) experience here is that the best stuff comes from two places: A very small part of California and Italy. The problem is that the California type stuff (which is the secret ingredient that most top pizza places use) is largely unavailable to average supermarket shopping consumer. That leaves us with the italian version, which you should find in almost any store.

Note: My experience here has also led me to believe that the #1 choice here should only contain whole/crushed plum tomatoes, basil and citric acid (lesser brands have calcium chloride, which is acceptable but not quite the same IMO).

  1. Buy a high quality olive…it should be dark moss green & you should be able to smell the olive flavor as soon as you open the bottle. Needs to be said. A $10 liter of olive at Walmart is not the same animal as a more expensive specialty brand…very noticeable difference here (I usually buy the stuff improted from Greece, as it’s less $$$ than an equivalent italian brand and tastes amazing).

  2. In a stainless steel pan (never nonstick), simmer the chopped/crushed tomatoes w/the olive oil on LOW heat for at least 45 minutes, though more would be better. Garnish with spices of your choice if you really feel froggy. Another trick here, if you’re more of a “fire roasted tomato fan”, is to ccok the chopped/crushed tomatoes without the oil first and let them sear a bit by slightly sticking to the steel (another advantage of stainless cookware); you can use a small drop of wine to eliminate the “stuck” portion on the pan once you’re done and ready to add the oil. This gives the sauce a slight sundried tomato taste which is awesome.

  3. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, use a sweet white wine (I like Pinot Grigio here) to finish off the sauce, as this will add a very pleasant scent and flavor, as well as reduce acidity (which some folks are very sensitive to with tomato sauces).

You’re done; enjoy!

FYI: You can freeze this sauce, and/or likewise use this recipe as a topping to different dishes.


#11

[quote]MikeManos wrote:
Chris: One thing that I found, that made a HUGE difference in my recipe over the years with the aforementioned sauce (not to steal any thunder from any future posts on the subject), goes something like this:

  1. You have to find top quality canned plum tomatoes. My vast (and over-engineered, possibly) experience here is that the best stuff comes from two places: A very small part of California and Italy. The problem is that the California type stuff (which is the secret ingredient that most top pizza places use) is largely unavailable to average supermarket shopping consumer. That leaves us with the italian version, which you should find in almost any store. Note: My experience here has also led me to believe that the #1 choice here should only contain whole/crushed plum tomatoes, basil and citric acid (lesser brands have calcium chloride, which is acceptable but not quite the same IMO).

  2. Buy a high quality olive…it should be dark moss green & you should be able to smell the olive flavor as soon as you open the bottle. Needs to be said. A $10 liter of olive at Walmart is not the same animal as a more expensive specialty brand…very noticeable difference here (I usually buy the stuff improted from Greece, as it’s less $$$ than an equivalent italian brand and tastes amazing).

  3. In a stainless steel pan (never nonstick), simmer the chopped/crushed tomatoes w/the olive oil on LOW heat for at least 45 minutes, though more would be better. Garnish with spices of your choice if you really feel froggy. Another trick here, if you’re more of a “fire roasted tomato fan”, is to ccok the chopped/crushed tomatoes without the oil first and let them sear a bit by slightly sticking to the steel (another advantage of stainless cookware); you can use a small drop of wine to eliminate the “stuck” portion on the pan once you’re done and ready to add the oil. This gives the sauce a slight sundried tomato taste which is awesome.

  4. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, use a sweet white wine (I like Pinot Grigio here) to finish off the sauce, as this will add a very pleasant scent and flavor, as well as reduce acidity (which some folks are very sensitive to with tomato sauces).

You’re done; enjoy!

FYI: You can freeze this sauce, and/or likewise use this recipe as a topping to different dishes.[/quote]

I’m spent after reading that. It’s like literary food porn…


#12

[quote]corstijeir wrote:

[quote]MikeManos wrote:
Chris: One thing that I found, that made a HUGE difference in my recipe over the years with the aforementioned sauce (not to steal any thunder from any future posts on the subject), goes something like this:

  1. You have to find top quality canned plum tomatoes. My vast (and over-engineered, possibly) experience here is that the best stuff comes from two places: A very small part of California and Italy. The problem is that the California type stuff (which is the secret ingredient that most top pizza places use) is largely unavailable to average supermarket shopping consumer. That leaves us with the italian version, which you should find in almost any store. Note: My experience here has also led me to believe that the #1 choice here should only contain whole/crushed plum tomatoes, basil and citric acid (lesser brands have calcium chloride, which is acceptable but not quite the same IMO).

  2. Buy a high quality olive…it should be dark moss green & you should be able to smell the olive flavor as soon as you open the bottle. Needs to be said. A $10 liter of olive at Walmart is not the same animal as a more expensive specialty brand…very noticeable difference here (I usually buy the stuff improted from Greece, as it’s less $$$ than an equivalent italian brand and tastes amazing).

  3. In a stainless steel pan (never nonstick), simmer the chopped/crushed tomatoes w/the olive oil on LOW heat for at least 45 minutes, though more would be better. Garnish with spices of your choice if you really feel froggy. Another trick here, if you’re more of a “fire roasted tomato fan”, is to ccok the chopped/crushed tomatoes without the oil first and let them sear a bit by slightly sticking to the steel (another advantage of stainless cookware); you can use a small drop of wine to eliminate the “stuck” portion on the pan once you’re done and ready to add the oil. This gives the sauce a slight sundried tomato taste which is awesome.

  4. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, use a sweet white wine (I like Pinot Grigio here) to finish off the sauce, as this will add a very pleasant scent and flavor, as well as reduce acidity (which some folks are very sensitive to with tomato sauces).

You’re done; enjoy!

FYI: You can freeze this sauce, and/or likewise use this recipe as a topping to different dishes.[/quote]

I’m spent after reading that. It’s like literary food porn…
[/quote]

I touched myself.

(Thanks, Mike!)


#13

Thanks for this recipe…I LOVE Italian food and especially lasagna. I find it hard to believe you can substitute in veggies for pasta and not notice, but I’m damn well gonna try it soon. Talk about having your cake and eating it too.


#14

Made this and it was awesomeness!!! Totally great… thanks for the food goodness


#15

I just made this and it’s tasty. It came out pretty runny even after cooking it for a lot of extra time. I’m going to pre-cook the yellow squash and remove the moisture before putting it all in the oven first next time I do this. I also doubled the cheese and ate half of it in one sitting. I’m stuffed. Awesome recipe.


#16

[quote]Weevo wrote:
I just made this and it’s tasty. It came out pretty runny even after cooking it for a lot of extra time. I’m going to pre-cook the yellow squash and remove the moisture before putting it all in the oven first next time I do this. I also doubled the cheese and ate half of it in one sitting. I’m stuffed. Awesome recipe.[/quote]

Pre-cooking veggies is a good idea for removing moisture.

Also, once you cut your first piece, drain off excess liquid. Leftovers solidify nicely. This recipe is always better on day #2!


#17

Just finished the second half after being in the fridge for a few hours. Definitely better after sitting for a while.


#18

girlfriend and I made this over the weekend and loved it. The only thing we added to the recipe Shug’s printed was some sliced mushrooms from a can.


#19

I’m thinking about subbing Greek yogurt in for the sour cream. Has the same consistency, but much higher in protein. Whattaya think?


#20

[quote]CafeThief wrote:
I’m thinking about subbing Greek yogurt in for the sour cream. Has the same consistency, but much higher in protein. Whattaya think?[/quote]

Haven’t tried that. Let us know if you do it though; it sounds good!