After being on the road hopping from state to state and city to city for nearly two weeks, I’m ready to simmer, settle, and slow down for a few days.
And for me, that means getting in my kitchen and playing.
Yes, I constitute my tinkering and tampering in the kitchen as my grown-up playtime. I love experimenting with a new vegetable, protein, or cooking method; I also enjoy revisiting past recipes and reviving them with a new spin.
It’s like my own culinary playground.
For many of y’all, cooking is the total opposite of play. I get that.
That’s part of the reason I revisited one of my all-time favorite comfort food recipes: my Paleo Lasagna.
It’s a rockin’ alternative to the traditional carb overload that incorporates zucchini noodles, a homemade meat sauce, and a cashew-based spinach ricotta cheese. Still ooey and gooey and delicious, but it takes a few hours to prep and bake.
I realized I could take a lot of what makes that recipe comforting and Paleo- the veggie noodles and the hearty meat sauce- and add a few shortcuts to get the whole thing whipped together in under 60 minutes.
Homemade lasagna in 60 minutes that’s 100% Paleo and could easily be adapted to 100% vegan?
Alrighty friends, put 60 minutes on the clock, and let’s get cookin!
Who doesn’t love lasagna?
It’s creamy and meaty and satisfies the tummy and the soul.
Alas, we all know (hopefully) that traditional lasagna- loaded with blood sugar-spiking noodles, mountains of cheese and ricotta- is exactly beach body food.
The gluten and dairy can lead to inflammation, which spells bloating, acne, gas, and other magical maladies.
While I tackled this beloved comfort food last summer and Paleo-fied it, swapping zucchini for the noodles and cashew ricotta for the dairy version, I will admit, it’s not one of those recipes that’s ideal for hectic weeknights when homework needs checking and soccer jerseys need washing and the dog has eaten a roll of toilet paper again.
Luckily, I’m not quite in that world yet, but I still understand what it means to be busy.
That’s why I revisited one of Mr. HHT and I’s favorite casserole, finding several shortcuts to help it come together in 60 minutes.
Here’s some tips about the recipe:
1) Roast up some eggplant. I opt for 2 larger eggplants in order to have longer ‘noodles’, but you could easily use 3-4 smaller ones. Since we aren’t picky at my house, I leave the skins on (nutrient boost- booyah!), but if you have picky or skeptical eaters at your house, just peel them off with a veggie peeler. I brush foil-lined baking sheets (easy clean-up) with coconut oil, brush my eggplant, and sprinkle them with a lil Greek seasoning salt. Let em roast for about 20 minutes or soft and tender.
2) Make-a the-sauce- Brown up a few pounds of ground meat- beef, chicken, turkey, pork, sausage, venison, lamb- whatever! If there’s any grease, drain it off so you don’t have greasy sauce (ick). Pour in a jar of already made marinara. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read the ingredients first. Avoid sauces that use vegetable or soy oils (inflammatory), added sugar, and loads of sodium. A little salt is okay, just be mindful of how much is already in the sauce and adjust the salt you add accordingly.
3) Loads of layers- Starting with a splash of sauce, layer the eggplant and sauce as much as you want. Since I go super lazy, I usually do just two thick layers…doing half the eggplant, half the sauce, the remaining eggplant, and then the remaining sauce. If you really really really want to, you could add a little (emphasis on little) mozzarella, parmesean, or other cheese on top.
4) Uneasy about eggplant? Swap it out for roasted zucchini strips or gluten-free lasagna noodles. Just heads up that gluten-free noodles will still spike your blood sugar a bit.
5) Not diggin’ the meat? This could easily become vegan by swapping out the browned meat for sautéed mushrooms, peppers, artichokes, or a combo of all three.
6) Make ahead marvel- You could easily assemble the entire casserole the night before or even on the weekend. Then, when dinnertime approaches, bake it in the oven a 10-20 extra minutes to warm it through.
7) Love your leftovers- This casserole freezes beautifully! If you want, you could eat half, cut the remaining portions into individual servings and freeze them by themselves for homemade, paleo-friendly meals.
Just thinking about this casserole is making me drool, y’all. And I know it will have your whole family droolin’, too!
Healthy Happy Texan
I'm a Foodie, Fitness Instructor, and Follower of Christ. Add a passion for teaching others, dark chocolate, bacon, and dogs -- and that's me in a box.
Come on, let's live a little!