Paleo Zucchini Lasagna

I’m eating as I write this. It’s really good. The zucchini shows its versatility in this dish. If we can use it for spaghetti, why not lasagna? To achieve the uniform, lasagna-like ribbons, I cut the zucchini with a cheese slicer, not unlike this one. Since the meat gets cooked in the sauce, there is technically no need to bake this. I just baked it to soften up the zucchini a tiny bit. This is soooo delicious and you don’t need a lot to get satisfied. I love how real food fills you up and keeps you full!!!!! Hope you enjoy!

 

Paleo Zucchini Lasagna (makes one roughly 8″x8″ lasagna)

  • About .5 lbs of ground meat (I used a super lean ground beef and did not need to use additional fat. If you choose to use ground turkey, you may need to add some fat)
  • 1 package of sliced mushrooms (I was a little lazy today)
  • Celery, diced (I used about 1-2 sticks from the stalk)
  • Half a bell pepper, diced
  • About half a carrot, julienned
  • About 1 big handful of fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 medium-large zucchinis, sliced into lasagna-like strips and patted dry
  • 1 package of diced/chopped tomatoes (I used Pomi chopped tomatoes-26.56 oz available at Sprouts)
  • Fresh basil (I just tore it)
  • Seasonings to taste: Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasonings, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat a large pan. Add your meat with some seasonings (season as you go!). Add your veggies, saute and season.

Add your diced tomatoes with the liquid. Add basil and allow to simmer. The sauce will reduce. Get as much water/liquid cooked out as possible. Check for seasonings.

While that’s simmering, begin to layer your sliced zucchini in your dish.

Begin to ladle your meat and veggie mixture onto your noodles. Layer, ladle, repeat as necessary.

 

Bake for about 20 minutes.

Enjoy!!

Eggplant

It’s my last day off before school begins again next week. Tomorrow it’s orientation/collaboration between the professor, writing instructors and other TA’s I work with. It appears I will be on campus Tuesday-Friday this semester, but I may add on another class. I’m hoping I can juggle everything fairly efficiently this semester.

I decided to make this dish because I had leftover meat sauce from a zucchini pasta dish I made the other day. I really wanted to use up the rest before it went bad, so I bought an eggplant from Sprouts.

Sauce:

  • Olive oil
  • Ground beef
  • Seasonings to taste: Italian seasonings, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper
  • Canned/jarred diced tomatoes
  • Tomato sauce
  • Tomato paste

Heat pan with a little olive oil, and add ground beef and seasonings. When the beef is fully cooked, add the tomatoes, sauce and paste. If the consistency is too thick, add water. If it’s too thin, add more tomato sauce or paste. Add more seasonings to taste. Set aside.

Eggplant:

  • 1 smallish eggplant (I got  9 medallions out of mine)
  • Almond meal or coconut flour (I used coconut flour)
  • An egg (or two depending on the size of your eggplant)
  • Seasonings to taste: Italian seasonings, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Wash and cut the ends off of the eggplant. I peel the eggplant every inch or so around it (sometimes I find the skin too tough to cut through).

Cut the eggplant into (approximately) 1/2″ medallions.

Lay them on a cutting board and salt them to bring out some of the moisture.

Meanwhile, set up your other ingredients. You’ll need an egg, mixed with a little water in one shallow bowl or dish and in another shallow bowl or dish, place your almond meal or coconut flour with a generous mix of your seasonings (distribute with a fork).

Dip you eggplant medallions into the egg, then into your coconut flour mixture. Place the “breaded” medallion onto a cookie sheet. Repeat.

Once you’ve finished “breading” your eggplant, drizzle with a little olive oil (to help with crisping) and place into the oven for about 20-30 minutes (flip medallions about halfway through the cooking time).

Top with your meat sauce, then dinner’s done!

*Note. This was my first time making eggplant with coconut flour. Initially, I was thrilled that it had a texture more like flour, but I found that too much coconut flour caked on the eggplant does not cook well in the oven. If I were to use coconut flour again, I would probably pan fry. Almond meal works great either way, but it imparts a grainy texture that I don’t always appreciate. Try both and see which you prefer.

Variations:

Cook on the stove top. Heat a pan with your fat of choice and pan fry the eggplant medallions. This will usually get them a little more crispy. But unless you feel like babysitting a hot pan, putting the eggplant in the oven allows you to get some other things done.

For your vegetarian friends/family: Simply use a meat-free marinara sauce. Just don’t add the meat.

For chicken: Prepare the chicken breast just as you would the eggplant for a delicious main course option (I would probably use a meat-free marinara sauce if I was eating the chicken). This would go great with zucchini pasta!