Gluten-Free Lasagna

When first moving to our current home in Pensacola, Florida last year, we were initially concerned with how we were going to easily do our grocery shopping. After all, living in the Baltimore/DC area had spoiled us in terms of convenience; there, you can randomly throw a stone and likely hit Trader Joe’s, Wegmans, MOM’s, Costco, or Whole Foods. But after looking at a map of Pensacola and seeing that those stores were hours away, we figured a change in shopping habits was in order. So we started to lean more heavily on a local (pricey) health food store and weekend farmer’s market, and buying bulk from online vendors like US Wellness Meats and Tendergrass Farms.

But then last weekend I visited my local grocery store, and was pleasantly surprised to find how easy it was to find relatively healthy ingredients (many of the items I would expect to find in our favorite grocery stores before moving). Organic vegetables, grass-fed and pastured meats, wild-caught seafood, full-fat dairy, and gluten-free items were plentiful. It seems like many grocery stores are starting to prioritize real foods, and it is an excellent sign.

So I decided to carry out an experiment. What if I could whip up a meal using only ingredients found in our local Publix grocery store, while still aligning to my dietary restrictions? It just so happened that I was also eager to re-tackle an old lasagna recipe from several years ago, so it all fell together nicely.

Note: I still get frequent request for my first lasagna recipes, so here it is in convenient PDF form.

Here’s the haul from Publix. The ingredients aren’t perfect, but I walked away impressed that accessing healthy ingredients is no longer limited to just health food stores or niche markets. Sure, the dairy isn’t from grass-fed cows, and the gluten-free pasta contains corn (which I’m okay with in moderation), but it’s important to take a “win” whenever you can.

At the end of the day, the quality of the ingredients you cook with is a monumentally personal choice. If not constrained by time, budget, weather, and inclination, I’m sure we’d all grow our own vegetables, have egg-laying chickens in the back yard, enjoy a close relationship with our dairy and meat farmers, and make our own pasta and breads from scratch using the highest-quality ingredients that we bought directly from the source. But there are several steps from that level of involvement to relying on a takeout dollar menu, and I’m happy to see that conventional grocery stores are swinging a bit closer to one side than the other.

Gluten-Free Lasagna

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Meat mixture:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, diced
3 strips bacon, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
6oz mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 lb ground beef
1 small jar (15oz) pasta sauce
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

Cheese mixture:
1 lb grated mozzarella cheese, less 1 large handful (see #2 below)
1 lb ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
10 basil leaves, chopped
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

1 pkg (9oz) lasagna sheets (Mueller’s or Cappello’s preferred)

1. In a saucepan or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering, about 1 minute. Add the shallot and saute until softened, about 4 minutes, then add the bacon; saute until the bacon is crispy, another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms are soft but before they release their liquid, about 2 minutes, then add the ground beef. Saute until the beef is mostly cooked (only a little pink), about 5 minutes. Stir in the pasta sauce, salt, and pepper, and bring to a simmer; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until darkened, about 10 minutes.

2. As the sauce darkens, prepare the cheese mixture. Grate the mozzarella cheese and reserve one handful, setting it aside. Combine the rest of the mozzarella with the ricotta, eggs, basil, salt, and pepper, stirring until combined.

3. Preheat your oven to 350F. In a 9×12 (or approximate) baking pan, spread a thin layer of the meat mixture. Lay down some lasagna sheets (it’s okay if they overlap a little); in my pan, I could fit three sheets per layer. Spread 1/3 of the remaining meat mixture, then 1/2 of the cheese mixture. Lay down another layer of lasagna sheets, then 1/3 of the meat mixture and the remaining 1/2 of the cheese mixture. Lay down a final layer of lasagna sheets, then the remaining 1/3 of the meat mixture. Cover with the reserved mozzarella cheese; loosely cover with tin foil and bake for 45 minutes.

4. Remove the tin foil from the lasagna and bake another 8 minutes; set your oven to broil and broil until the cheese browns, about 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and let set out for 20-30 minutes before slicing and serving.

** Serve the lasagna with whatever floats your boat. I typically enjoy it with a simple salad, but my wife grew up eating it with rice in Hawaii, and I was once served lasagna with french fries (“chips”) in Australia.

** This lasagna can be made ahead of time. Complete the recipe then allow to cool for one hour, then cover and refrigerate overnight. Reheat by baking in a 350F oven, covered, until warm, about 25 minutes.

31 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Lasagna

  1. Thanks for posting! I’ve been going a little crazy with trying to find good paleo ingredients. I live in Florida too, with Publix and Costco and a TJ’s that is just a little too far out of reach. I was happy to see Organic Valley Grassfed Yogurt recently at Publix. I’ll take what I can get!

    Like

      1. Publix, actually isn’t a bad grocery store. They have come a long way as far as the quality of products they carry. You made this move 5 years ago it would’ve been a different story.

        Like

  2. I’m surprised that your Publix doesn’t carry Tinkyada or DeBoles rice lasagna! Both Publix stores in our area (SE Tennessee) have a small gluten-free section all to itself at the end of an aisle. It’s easy to miss, and there are GF products scattered around the store too (like the Mueller pasta) so it took me a while to realize it was there. The recipe looks delicious!

    Like

  3. Hi Russ, great recipe as usual. This Fall I’ve been subbing spaghetti squash (I love it as a pasta replacement) for pasta and making a ground veal marinara with dry farmed tomatoes from the Farmers Market.

    But when I bake or make things like pizza, I like to make the batter or dough from scratch (from almond, coconut, cassava, etc.) using recipes like yours, rather than buy it pre-made.

    But I’ve yet to find a paleo recipe for making my own scratch PASTA dough (other than gnocchi).

    So, my favorite paleo chef…here’s my request…how about developing a pasta recipe for us, your biggest fans, that can be used fresh or frozen? That would be awesome! Or if you already have and I’ve missed it, please direct me to it. Many thanks in advance!

    Like

  4. Pensacola is my hometown! You might have better luck at Fresh Market or Everman’s downtown. I would have volunteered to be a taste tester in a heartbeat! :)

    Like

    1. Hi Chania, yes we frequent Everman’s (which is the health food store I was referring to early in the post), and we also really like Fresh Market for certain items. The selection here in town is much better than we first thought when moving here!

      Like

  5. This sounds amazing and my husband and I can’t wait to make it for dinner! In the picture I see arugula but I don’t know where you added it in the recipe. Arugula is my favorite green!

    Like

  6. I’m super new to the Paleo/Gluten Free Lifestyle. After a round of Whole30 I realized my intolerances. Anyhow, I just don’t eat pasta because every gluten free brand I’ve tried is like chewing on shoe leather. My question is, is that only because I’ve been eating it cold like in pasta salad? Is it soft and pasta-like when warm? This looks absolutely amazing and I’m so tempted to make it but skeptical from past experiences.

    Like

    1. Hi McKenzi, gluten-free pasta is usually just find when warm, it does tend to cook a bit more quickly than wheat-based pasta. I’m thinking that your bad experience is linked to eating cold pasta, which doesn’t probably fare well with GF pasta!

      Like

  7. How cool that you live in Pensacola! My husband and I moved here in April. Evermans is really pricey, but I’ll get a few things from them occasionally. I am also impressed that Publix is carrying a lot more real food items now! I found an awesome little cafe called Wild Roots on Pensacola Beach that serves paleo friendly / grain free/ organic food. I live in the Periodo area, so I often go into Alabama. Not too far from here is a great little farm store that grows all their produce without pesticides. Then not too much farther up the road is a cute little cheese farm store which produces artisan cheeses made from the milk of their pasture raised cattle. The cheese store is only open on weekends, but if you get there early, they also sell eggs from their barnyard chickens. A Costco just opened in Mobile a few months ago, so I’ve been making a trip once a month, and on the way there there are several more little farm stores that sell their homegrown produce and eggs. Other than what you mentioned in your post, I am wondering if you have found anymore local gems for finding real food?

    Like

  8. I’m thrilled to see that a local store now carries Cappello’s. It’s rare that I make a pasta or pizza (more of a meat and potatoes gal), but this is a great option. I also usually make my own paleo treat from scratch, but what a great option that they make chocolate chip cookie dough too!

    Like

  9. Thanks Russ, great recipe! And thank you for introducing me to the great products by Cappello’s! So far we’ve tried their sheep’s milk pizza (really good!), fettucine and lasagne. (Gnocchi and cookies not yet, but they’re in my freezer, awaiting their turns.) I really enjoyed working with the lasagne noodles, and I love that you can make desserts, appetizers and ravioli with them too — still yet to try those efforts. (I only wish that they’d ditch the added gums, I don’t understand why they’re necessary.)

    Thought I’d mention that I tried Rao’s brand spaghetti sauce for the lasagne, and it’s probably the best bottled sauce that I’ve ever had — even my guests commented on the sauce. (It’s the recipe from the famous NYC restaurant.) Our Whole Foods out here carries it now. It’s about twice as $much as other brands, but more than worth the extra price (no affiliation, just IMHO)!

    Like

  10. Hi, belated comment on this recipe. I have made this multiple times and my husband and I enjoy it very much. It was easy to make and has lots of flavors. Thanks for posting!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s