My favorite food is Italian. What comes to mind? Bread, pasta, cheese, tomato sauce, garlic and peppers, no?
So what happens when a person who loves Italian food goes gluten free? That was pretty easy. There are noodles and breads that can be bought at the store or made at home. Cheese, tomatoes and peppers are no problem.
But what happens when that person realizes that they must eat a low-FODMAP, Paleo, careful with nightshades diet? There are no “Paleo” noodles or bread at the store. (I have made one recipe of Paleo noodles at home. I will share that one of these times.) Nightshades include tomatoes, potatoes, sweet and hot peppers, eggplants, tomatillos, tamarios, pepinos, pimentos, paprika and cayenne peppers. Garlic and onions, which are typically found in lasagna, are high in FODMAPS and are bad news for me. A Paleo diet is dairy-free, so the cheese is out.
Sounds like I need to give up my love of lasagna? Not a chance!
Even better, I can eat lasagna now without running to the restroom right away. I simply learned what I could substitute or do to get the same lasagna look, feel and taste that I love.
I based my overall creation on a recipe I found here ==> Awesome Paleo Lasagna Recipe by Paleo Newbie.
I can handle a moderate amount of plain, preferably organic, no additive tomato sauce, but I cannot handle raw tomatoes. I can also tolerate a small amount of shredded Monterey Jack cheese, which I used to sprinkle over the top. (Using cheese is controversial among Paleo followers. But I follow the diet to control my IBD & colitis, not because I particularly care what my ancestors ate. If I can tolerate something, and it is mostly “clean,” I eat it.)
Here is the breakdown of my special lasagna:
I need to steer clear of sausage. Instead, I use grass-fed beef and usually ground pork (or sometimes ground chicken). I use two pounds of meat. A substitute for onions is using the greens of scallions and chives. I skip the different types of tomato sauces and paste and just use the plain, additive-free, organic tomato sauce that I found in my grocery store. I also add salt, black pepper, and dried Italian seasoning. To get the garlic flavor, I use garlic infused olive oil, just drizzling some into the sauce. I let it cook out and combine for about a half hour.
When it is nearing time for the sauce to be done, I add some fresh spinach in to wilt and cook.
While the sauce is cooking, I work on the zucchini noodles and substitute for the cheese.
I was able to find some huge zucchini. The biggest you can find will be best. I think I peeled and sliced (long-ways) three large zucchini. These will be the noodles. No need to cook ahead of time! (Bonus!)
(Note: the other recipe calls for sautéed mushrooms, and while I would love to eat them, they are high FODMAP and don’t agree well with me. So I left them out.)
For the cheese substitute, (to replace using ricotta or cottage cheese), the other recipe uses soaked cashews. Cashews are high-FODMAP, so I subbed walnuts. They worked very well! I was so excited to find this “trick!” (Make sure you plan ahead when making this recipe so you can soak the nuts, whatever kind you use, overnight in water.)
I drained the water from the walnuts and put them into my blender. I cannot use almond milk because almonds are high-FODMAP, so I subbed coconut milk and fresh water. I added salt, chives, black pepper and some garlic infused oil for the spices. Blend until it’s a ricotta cheese-like consistency.
When the sauce is done, begin layering the lasagna in a 9×13 glass baking dish. Start with some sauce on the bottom. Then layer by zucchini slices, walnut “cheese” and then meat sauce, making two full layers. Then I shredded a small amount of Monterey Jack cheese over the top, baked for an hour, and enjoyed!
Here’s to your health!
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