Hidden Veggie Lasagna
Having trouble getting enough veggies in? Then get sneaky! This lasagna is just one example of how you eat your veggies without "knowing" that you are eating your veggies. Don't mind your veggies? Then feel free to replace the lasagna noodles with lengthwise sliced eggplant or butternut squash for a lower carb, grain free option!
1 3/4 lb veggie burger crumbles, Italian turkey sausage or ground turkey
1/2 c minced onion
1/2 c minced red bell pepper
1/2 c minced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28 ounce) can organic crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans organic tomato paste
1 (6.5 ounce) cans organic tomato sauce
1/2 c pureed carrot
1/4 cup water or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons local honey
1 ½ teaspoons dried basil leaves
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt, divided, or to taste
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 lasagna noodles, gluten free, paleo or whole grain
16 ounces almond ricotta "cheese" or grass fed ricotta cheese
1/2 c mashed cauliflower
1 pastured egg
¾ pound cashew mozzarella "cheese" or grass fed or buffalo mozzarella, shredded
1 small zucchini or yellow squash, peeled and shredded
¾ cup nutritional yeast or grated Parmesan cheese
In a Dutch oven, cook protein of choice, onion, pepper, mushrooms and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, carrot and water or stock. Season with honey, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. (Alternatively, you could use oven ready noodles here, or vegetables as mentioned above). Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, mashed cauliflower and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Mix the zucchini/squash with the shredded cheese.
To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese mixture. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella mix, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup nutritional yeast/Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella mix and nutritional yeast/Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.