LASAGNE with Vegetable Sheets (not pasta)

Here is a complete meal in one nutritious slice. It might take a couple of hours of cutting vegetable and other preparations but it is definitely worth the effort. It is also a dish that can be stored in the fridge and eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner on subsequent days.

Traditional lasagne is usually creamy and involves layers of wheat sheets of pasta. As we know, wheat contains gluten, to which a growing number of people have difficulty digesting and choose to avoid. If you are like me and want to reduce (or eliminate) grains and/or gluten in your diet then here is an alternative to the traditional lasagne.

By substituting the pasta sheets with zucchini, squash and eggplant sheets you are making this dish far healthier. You are choosing higher quality foods that won’t spike your blood sugar and are therefore fuelling your body with optimal sources of calories.


Ingredients:

(1) 2 large zucchini
(2) 3 long eggplant
(3) 1 decent sized squash segment
(4) 8 to 10 tomatoes
(5) 1/2 block of cheddar cheese (can also include mozzarella and parmesan)
(6) 1kg minced beef (can also be pork or chicken)
(7) 4 onions
(8) 2 cloves of garlic
(9) olive oil
(10) salt and pepper

Method Part 1:

Here we will cook the tomato sauce

(1) Simply heat a pot on medium heat and add some olive oil
(2) Allow olive oil to heat slightly then add chopped onions and garlic as seen below
(3) Cook until slightly caramelized and then add diced tomatoes
(4) Put lid onto pot and allow to cook on a low heat for 45 minutes
(5) Once finished cooking, drain off excess liquid and set aside tomato mix


Method Part 2:

Here we will cook the meat sauce
(1) Simply heat a pot on medium heat and add some olive oil
(2) Allow olive oil to heat slightly then add chopped onions and garlic as seen below
(3) Cook until slightly caramelized and then add minced beef
(4) Allow for a medium heat as you stir the meat sauce into your onion, garlic and olive oil
(5) Cook for at least 15 to 20 minutes
(6) Once finished cooking set aside

Method Part 3:

Here we will assemble the lasagne in its cooking tray ready to oven bake. Please see picture below for an example of the type of dish required. It needs to be at least 5cm deep, 35cm long and 25cm wide and withstand oven temperatures of course. It can be bigger but make sure the dish fits in your oven! Now the fun begins:

(1) Grease your lasagne baking dish with olive oil all over (including the sides)
(2) Put down a layer of your cut zucchini (see below on an easy way to cut it into thin strips and how the vegetables will look once sliced thinly). Layer from the sides first then work your way inwards. Layer the whole dish with your thin strips of zucchini so it is completely covered


(3) Spoon your minced beef mix over the zucchini layer. Not too thickly because you still need at least 1 and a half more layers from that beef mix
(4) Put down a layer of thinly sliced squash. Again working from the edges inwards
(5) Spoon a layer of your tomato mix onto the squash. Again, not too much and try to avoid too much liquid in the tomatoes as it will make your lasagne too wet
(6) Now layer your thinly sliced eggplant in the same fashion as your zucchini and squash. I press down a little on the dish now to compact it as there are still several layers to go
(7) Sprinkle a layer of cheese onto your squash layer
(8) Depending on how deep your lasagne tray is we start layering again
(9) Here we layer your zucchini again. Don’t worry if you have some left overs as you can dice the left overs and use for another dish. If insufficient, then simply borrow some squash to complete the layer
(10) Spoon your mince onto the zucchini
(11) Layer of squash
(12) Layer of tomato
(13) Layer of eggplant
(14) We are nearly finished as we are reaching the top of our tray. Spoon the last of your mince beef mix onto your eggplant and then sprinkle with your cheese. This gives a nice presentation to your dish once it has finished baking
(15) Bake in your pre-heated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes and your done

Bon appetite!!

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