My kids, and husband love lasagna. It brings everyone to the table. Faster than usual. I actually don’t even need to yell “dinner”. They come running in on their own, eagerly awaiting a big square piece of lasagna to dig into. I think it’s on everyone’s comfort food list.
The thing is, how do you make it gluten free, dairy free, soy free yet taste great?
This recipe (I posted on Foodista a while ago) somehow slipped my radar. I don’t know how I didn’t posted this recipe to my blog! After receiving many emails for a lasagna recipe post, here it is … butternut squash and zucchini lasagna that brings this Italian classic to a whole new level! Without the gluten, without the dairy, without the soy and without the tomatoes. Why no tomatoes you ask?
Two of my boys cannot have tomatoes anymore. We realized this while keeping a food journal (to tracking health issues and/or behaviors that come up). We noticed a correlation between the rashes on one of my twin boys and on my teenage son when they would have something with tomatoes.
(Off topic here – food journal is an excellent way of determining what foods are affecting you)
And so the cream sauce had it’s moment to shine. It had us forget about the old tomato.
Though this is not your traditional lasagna, you won’t miss the marinara sauce, I assure you. The creamy sauce smothered over these seasonal vegetables, with layers of pasta in every bite, will have you feeling “who needs marinara anyway?”
In addition to gluten, dairy (casein), soy, and pistachio allergens … tomato is crossed off the list. And all the recipes with. I just needed to think outside of the (marinara) box … an alfredo sauce in lasagna – mmm, what could be better?
If you can tolerate tomatoes, see my marinara sauce post which I used to make for my spaghetti and meatballs (click here for the marinara recipe) before our discovery last year. Now, I make spaghetti and meatballs with a tomato-free BBQ sauce, another un-traditional one. Will post that soon if that is something you would like.
I’m telling you this un-traditional lasagna will surprise you. It’s like when you see that dress on the hanger and it looks eh, not-so-fab, but then when you try it on it looks fabulous. This is that dress.
Autumn days like these we need creamy, gooey, hearty, and downright delicious comfort food – with a twist, of course – enjoy!
Need: 12 x 9 inch oven safe casserole dish about 3 inches deep, and baking sheet
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, pitted, thinly sliced (see my note)
4 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise (as thin or thick as you like)
1 1/2 boxes Tinkyada Organic Rice Lasagna (http://www.tinkyada.com/)
1/2 cup Daiya Cheddar Style Shredded
3 tablespoons Daiya Cheddar Style Wedge, crumbled, or grated
1/2 bunch fresh sage leaves (about 20 leaves), stems removed
4 tablespoons Earth Balance Soy Free Spread PLUS extra for greasing dish
2 tablespoons brown rice flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
2 cups coconut milk, unflavored (I use So Delicious)
1/2 cup unflavored almond milk (I use So Delicious)
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot (or cornstarch)
1 tablespoon water
About a tablespoon of olive oil for roasting
Preheat Oven to 400 degrees F
Grease the casserole dish with some spread.
Note: Peeling butternut squash can be a chore, and dangerous, when using a knife. Instead use a wide (2 inch) peeler and wear gloves (I use latex free gloves so that it doesn’t affect my food). Butternut squash, and all other squashes release a sappy, sticky liquid when cut into that will make your hands feel tight and uncomfortable, in addition to an orange sticky film left on the skin that is very hard to scrub off, hence the gloves.
The best way to do peel squash: Rinse the outer skin, pat dry. With a sharp knife, cut it across (horizontal) the middle on a cutting board. Hold one piece and begin to peel straight down as far as you can. Continue until it has been peeled all around. Turn over and peel any remaining sections around the end. The same for the other piece. Then cut in half (vertically) and scoop out seeds with a tablespoon or soup spoon. You can also save the seeds for roasting on a separate baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I always line my baking sheets with parchment because baking supplies are usually aluminum and will impart a flavor to foods, in addition to its heavy metal, a neurotoxin.
The same for zucchini, keep the gloves on. It also release that sappy liquid when cut into.
For roasting vegetables:
Place sliced zucchini, and butternut squash onto a parchment lined baking sheet, in a single layer. Use additional baking sheets if needed. Sprinkle a teaspoon of salt and all the thyme evenly over vegetables, drizzle with olive oil. Not a heavy drizzle, it does not have to cover every piece. Using your hands, coat vegetables evenly.
Roast for 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Keep the oven on. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F
For the lasagna sheets:
Set a large pot of water on medium high heat, when boiling add a few tablespoons of salt (it may seem like a lot of salt for the water, however, the water should taste like the ocean for the pasta to absorb flavor). Gradually put lasagna sheets into the boiling water, do not push down. As they begin to soften they will drop down into the boiling water. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until soft.
Note: It does not have to be cooked for serving since we are baking in the oven after this process. Do not keep the pasta sitting in the water while off the heat, it will get very starchy.
Drain, set aside for assembling.
Note: This is gluten free pasta we are working with so don’t worry about sheets breaking. Just use those for bottom layers and save the prettier pieces for the top layer.
Meanwhile for the sauce:
Mix water and arrowroot in a small bowl, set aside.
This step is sort of like making a roux…
In a medium saucepan set over medium high heat, add soy free spread. When it melts add brown rice flour, whisk until smooth then lower heat to medium. Add coconut milk, almond milk, all seasonings and remaining salt, whisk until blended well. When you begin to see bubbles form quickly whisk in the arrowroot mixture. Continue to whisk for about a minute, the mixture will start to thicken to the consistency of a cream sauce. Turn off heat and set aside. It will thicken more as it cools.
Note: I add fresh sage instead of using all of it ground because I find ground sage overpowers the cream sauce, and can be a bit of a pushover to the mild flavor of butternut squash.
To assemble the lasagna:
First layer: add a third of the “cream” sauce to the greased casserole dish, then spread out about 8 sage leaves, now add 2 layers of lasagna pasta. Second layer: add a layer of roasted zucchini , then spread evenly a 1/4 cup of cheddar style shredded cheese and 5 sage leaves. Third layer: add one row of lasagna pasta sheets, then a layer of butternut squash, then again, spread evenly a 1/4 cup cheddar style shredded cheese and about 8 sage leaves. Top layer: add remaining “cream” sauce, then 2 layers lasagna pasta sheets (the pretty ones!), then (I crumbled it by hand) cheddar cheese directly over the top and place 4 sage leaves evenly spaced across. If the fresh sage leaves do not lay flat wet the back of the leave and press onto the pasta. It should stick. Keep in mind the sage leaves will curl up when baked from the dry heat, which is just fine, and looks really pretty. If you do not want it to curl, place the sage leaves on the lasagna the last 10 minutes of baking time.
Place the lasagna dish on a baking sheet just in case it drips. I haven’t ever had any drips, but I still do this just in case.
Bake for 70-80 minutes. It will get golden on top with some crispy “cheese” pieces, and cream will be bubbling out the sides. Let it cool for 10-20 minutes so the sauce redistributes and it’s not scalding. Serve hot.
Note: This dish can be frozen before baking, seal with a few layers of plastic wrap then foil. Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking as noted above.
Final Note: The brands I mention do well in the recipes I create and share with you. I don’t believe just saying “dairy free cheese”, or “gluten free flour”, etc. will give you the same recipe turnout and can be misleading considering all the different variables. Allergen-free cooking is more specific than that, so I want to make the cooking process as simple (and easy) as possible. If there are brands that you think are fabulous please do share! I am always on the lookout for new gf/cf/sf products 🙂 -Jessica
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