If you’re trying to lose weight, if you are on a gluten-free or a paleo diet, then you’ve learned at some point that lasagna is just not for you.
Why?.. Well, it’s the pasta.
Although I would argue that there is still the possibility to cook pasta in such a way that it becomes fat-burning instead of fat-gaining, if you’re eating paleo or gluten-free, then you’re out-of-luck.
Unless of course you replace the (bad! ?) pasta sheets normally present in any lasagna recipe with something else… like what?..
Like planks made out of butternut squash of course! Instant Paleo lasagna!
Or root vegetables, like celery root (celeriac) for instance.
And then, if you follow my paleo lasagna recipe below, you will end up with the most delicious lasagna, without the guilt of eating pasta. A win-win situation!
The ingredients for my butternut squash paleo lasagna are those you typically find in Italian recipes, except for the pasta.
Ground beef or ground pork – I use pork sausage, and sometimes changes it to hot Italian sausage, which definitely gives a nice spicy twist to the classic.
Tomato sauce (homemade from Aunt Diane, please! J), lots of basil and sage, red peppers, lots of garlic, onions, and to imitate white sauce, I just use coconut milk and it works wonders.
Also note that I do not use unflavored, processed oil (especially no canola, safflower, vegetable, etc…) for the reasons I often explain in this blog (In a nutshell: they’re nasty!). I sometimes use olive oil (ONLY extra-virgin, please!) and in this case, coconut oil to be strictly Paleo.
Here are the ingredients I’m using today.
First things first, I always take care of all my preps. That includes dicing onions, and slicing red peppers.
Yeah, notice how I LOVE to cook with vintage and old-fashioned knives. Maybe I don’t get the exact, precise, accurate efficiency of more modern professional knives, but I just love the nostalgia associated with holding a knife that has “seen” so much cooking in its life. This one on the photo above belonged to my family and is probably 50 years old.
Next, I prep my herbs. I use basil and sage in this recipe, but feel free to add or substract whatever fresh herbs you want or have on hand.
But then, you need to tackle the big boy AKA the butternut squash. Here is the problem:
Everybody loves butternut squash, but nobody knows how to peel and cut it.
I’ve got you covered, loyal readers. Just check out my video. I explain not only the step-by-step instructions to cook this delicious butternut squash paleo lasagna, but also not one, but two different techniques to peel butternut squash. Just pick the one you prefer.
Once the butternut squash is peeled, then it’s time to make the “planks”. The goal here is to imitate the thickness of regular pasta sheets. I invite you to pay attention to how thin I’m cutting the “planks”.
This will take you a bit of time, unless of course your husband is a chef (like mine!) and then you just DEMAND these babies to be perfectly cut at the required precise thickness.
Meanwhile, go ahead, turn the gas on, heat up your skillet, remove the casing from the sausage, and saute’ them until they look awesome.
Now it’s time for the fun part. Which is to assemble the paleo lasagna elements into the skillet. Yes, the very same skillet you used to sauté the sausage. Just layer the elements, starting with tomato sauce. Then sausage mixture, then butternut squash (and celery root if using), and then do that again until you no longer have ingredients, or you reached the top of the skillet.
Then, bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, and you get this memorable, kid-friendly, great-tasting, awesome paleo lasagna. Don’t forget to grab the complete, easy paleo lasagna recipe below.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH PALEO LASAGNA
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 10 mins
This is a paleo, gluten-free lasagna that uses butternut squash instead of pasta sheets.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Servings: 8 people
Author: Dr. Carissa Alinat
1 lb hot Italian sausage casing removed
3 cloves garlic minced
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
2 red peppers
1/4 cup coconut oil
Fresh basil to taste
Fresh sage to taste
1 small butternut squash
1 small celery root Optional
1/2 cup coconut milk
Cheese Optional – Phase 2 only
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF (200C).
2. Peel and dice the onion. Cut strips into the red peppers. Chop basil and herbs.
3. In a skillet over medium-high heat, add the sausage, onions, garlic, red peppers, herbs, and brown in the coconut oil.
4. Meanwhile, peel the butternut squash.
5. Split the two halves in half, lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into planks, to imitate lasagna pasta sheets.
6. If you’re using the celery root, peel it and make planks following the same directions as the butternut squash.
7. In an ovenproof baking dish or a cast-iron skillet, pour enough sauce to lightly cover the bottom of the dish. Next add the squash, trying not to overlap the pieces, then spoon on the sausage mixture, followed by the tomato sauce.
8. Repeat until all your ingredients are used up, trying to reserve enough sauce to cover the top of the lasagna. Finish by the coconut milk.
9. Bake for 45 minutes, until bubbly and with a crispy, browned top. Let it rest before serving.
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