My husband, Alan, went to Italy with an exchange program when he was in high school. While he was there, his surrogate Italian mother taught him how to make the best lasagna you can imagine. I re-created that famous recipe in my book Slimming Meals That Heal, keeping the flavour but cutting the carbs and high-fat cheese. I use zucchini in place of wheat pasta and the result is not only delicious, it’s healthy! The presence of anti-inflammatory carotenoids like lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene in the skin of the zucchini makes it a perfect anti-inflammatory vegetable. Shop for dark-skinned mushrooms like portobello due to their higher anti-inflammatory vitamin D content. If you are sensitive to nightshades, you may omit the tomatoes and serve the recipe as a casserole.
28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 tbsp organic olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
2 cups diced red onion
1/2 tsp pink rock salt
3 tbsp Italian seasoning
2 cups thinly sliced portobello mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup chopped pitted olives
1 cup chopped basil, divided
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red pepper
4 cups zucchini (sliced 1/8 thick lengthwise on mandoline)
4 cups spinach, loosely packed
2 8 oz packages Daiya cheese (tapioca cheese)
1 cup Faux Ricotta Cheese (recipe below)
1. Drain tomatoes, set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a large pot, sauté olive oil, turkey, onions, salt, Italian seasoning and mushrooms over medium heat.
3. Once turkey is cooked, about 8 minutes, add reserved tomatoes, garlic, olives and 1/4 cup basil and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. In a 9 x13-inch baking dish, layer a quarter of the zucchini strips, then 1/3 each of turkey mixture, peppers, cheeses, fresh basil and spinach. Repeat with two more layers. Top with a thin layer of zucchini strips and Daiya cheese. (The unbaked lasagna will appear very high because the raw spinach takes up a lot of volume. Once the lasagna is cooked down it will be about half the height.)
6. Bake for 45 minutes. Let rest for 20 minutes before serving.
Makes 10 to 12 servings.
Faux Ricotta Cheese
This recipe is adapted from one I found in Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen, by Ani Phyo. It makes the perfect substitute for regular ricotta cheese in the World’s Best Gluten-Free Lasagna. It is also simply delicious and will bust a dairy craving. If you are sensitive to soy, try it with tahini and increase the sea salt.
1 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup pine nuts or cashews
1 cup walnuts
1 1/2 tbsp light miso or tahini
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 tsp-1 tsp pink rock salt
1. Add garlic to food processor. Using the S-blade attachment, process into small pieces.
2. Add pine nuts or cashews and walnuts and process into powder.
3. Add miso, nutritional yeast and lemon juice. Process, adding water just until mixture has texture of ricotta cheese.
4. Add parsley and lightly process until combined. Add salt to taste. Will keep in fridge for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
Makes 4 servings.
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