"Not Lasagna" - A Lower Carb Version of Lasagna
RECIPE TO TRY - Gluten-free and Vegetarian Option
Dr. Gringeri is often requesting low-carb meals. However, we love big taste, like most people. It's hard sometimes to eat low-carb without sacrificing taste or cravings. Let me be clear, this recipe is NOT low calorie, it is loaded with meat and cheese and sauce. It is basically lasagna without the noodles, which makes it lower in carbohydrates than your traditional lasagna, and it is just as satisfying! My opinion.
The great thing about this casserole is that you can add all your favorite vegetables, so you can make it your own. You can also leave the meat out and make it vegetarian if you like.
PREP TIME: 15 Min for chopping vegetables
STOVE TOP COOK TIME: 20 Min to cook meat and make sauce
OVEN COOK TIME: 30 min (Preheat oven to 375 deg.)
NOTE: You can add as much or as little of the ingredients below for your vegetable options to suit your taste. I didn't really measure any of the ingredients when I made this recipe, I originally just started making a meat sauce then I got carried away. I've made variations of the recipe below, adding black olives, eggplant, or mushrooms. Slightly different taste, still super yummy. So get creative for what you like to eat.
1 small onion, or half a large onion - chopped
1 zucchini - chopped
1 carrot - peel and chop
1 green bell pepper - chopped
4 cloves of garlic - minced
1 28 oz. can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 lb. grass-fed ground beef (20% fat) - leave out if vegetarian
5-6 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese (I like a good amount of cheese)
1 28 oz. jar of Rao's marinara sauce. (You may need 2 jars, depending on how much you are making.)
Fresh basil - about 4-5 large leaves, rolled and snip with scissors
Spices: salt, pepper, lemon pepper, garlic powder (to taste). I use fairly generous portions
Certain vegetables can be watery (zucchini, eggplant), so don't use too much of these or your Not Lasagna will be too loose or watery. You want it to firm up after it sits for a while, like lasagna does. The Not Lasagna usually is firm by the next day after having been in the refrigerator. Right out of the oven it is gooey and much looser, but that is to be expected.
If you are using meat, brown the ground beef in a large pan. Drain excess fat, and set aside into a dish, leaving a little bit of oil for the next step is okay.
Using the same pan, add your onions and garlic. I like to cook the onlons first for about 5 minutes, so they cook a bit more. Then add the rest of your chopped vegetables and add all the above spices. If you are making it vegetarian, then add about 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil to cook the vegetables, since you won't have any left over oil (fat) from the hamburger. Cook vegetables for about 10-15 min. They don't need to be fully cooked, al dente (mostly cooked) is fine.
Add the cooked hamburger, then the can of diced tomatoes (with juice) and the jar Rao's marinara sauce. Depending on how much vegetables and meat you cook, you may need more than one jar of Rao's. You will know. It should have the consistency of chunky spaghetti sauce.
Let the sauce come to a low boil. (about 10 min.)
Using a 9 X 13 casserole dish, put a layer of the cooked sauce on the bottom of the dish. You will use about half the sauce. Then put a generous portion of shredded mozzarella cheese. Add another layer of sauce (the other half), them another layer of cheese.
If you like fresh basil, take about 4-5 large basil leaves, roll them up and cut them with scissors over the top of your cheese.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees if you have not already.
Place your casserole dish on a cookie sheet. I like to put some tin foil on the cookie sheet in case the casserole bubbles over in the oven. Easier clean up. You Do Not need to cover the casserole.
Cook for 30 minutes to allow for the cheese and sauce to melt together.
If you like your cheese browned, cook the casserole for 25 minutes, then 3 minutes on broil. Be careful to watch when broiling, it can get brown very fast, and you don't want to burn it.
Let it cool for about 15 minutes, then eat!
I hope you give this recipe a try. Our family really likes it, and we wanted to share it with you.