Welcome to a recipe to die(t) for!
Let me begin by asking you a question: When’s the last time you had a healthy lasagna? I don’t mean one of those faux-tasting lasagnas made with slices of vegetables instead of pasta. I mean a proper this-is-lasagna-I’m-eating-,-no-question-about-it lasagna?
I hadn’t had one for YEARS before I made this today and I write this with shame in my heart because I’ve always loved lasagna. The reason I hadn’t had it for so long though is because most lasagnas contain gluten and I now follow a gluten-free diet. I also hadn’t had one because most lasagnas aren’t really that healthy – packed as they are with pasta, butter (in the bechamel), and a silly amount of cheese. So, over the years, I became accustomed to turing a blind eye to lasagna – I ignored it at dinner parties; pretended it wasn’t there when I saw it in restaurant menus; blanked it at social events; gave it the silent treatment if I ever crossed paths with it at work or in school. “Would you like a slice of lasagna?” No. No, thank you. It was always the same story and I ceased to really crave it (‘out of sight, out of mind’, right?).
But then, one day, THIS came into my life and as soon as I saw it I knew it meant that lasagna would return to take its seat in the culinary apex of my heart. I welcomed the news of its return like a long-lost lover: with open arms and a combination of excitement and anticipation. And when I finally made it today, oh! when I took it out of the oven and finally dug my fork into its soft and yielding layers, I swear to you… I swear I died a little.
Below you’ll find the recipe. Please note that if you want to make this vegetarian, you can: just leave out the meat and use 2 cups of chopped mushrooms + 1 cup of chopped zucchinis + more of the spinach. Also, please take note of my Bechamel Protein Sauce below and use it next time you make some pasta! It’s an absolutely delicious low-carb and high-protein cheesy sauce and I think you’ll really enjoy it.
1 (400g) pack of grass-fed lean minced beef (I got mine from Muscle Foods – this stuff!)
1 small onion, chopped
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1/8 cup of tomato paste
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 to 1 tbsp of coconut sugar
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 to 1/2 cup cooked spinach
2 tsps cinnamon (trust me on this one)
1 tbsp Herbamere (or sea salt; though Herbamere is amazing and if you haven’t had it I strongly recommend you try it! It’s one of the best salt substitutes out there – you can get it here if you’re in the US)
Bechamel Protein Sauce
3/4 cup of cartoned coconut milk
1/8 cup of pea protein powder (see Note below for links to the ones I recommend here)
1/2 tbsp Herbamere (or, again, sea salt)
1 tbsp coconut flour
1/4 cup of grated cheddar
1/2 tsp ground or freshly-grated nutmeg
1 Pack of Eat Water Zero-Carb Lasagna Sheets
First, make your meat sauce by frying the chopped onions on a nonstick pan set to medium/high with either coconut oil (2 tsps worth) or some PAM low-calorie cooking spray. Cook those onions until they’ve all started sweating and look nice and golden brown.
Then, add your meat, herbs and spices until the meat is cooked (and no longer pink).
Throw in your spinach and add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, and coconut sugar and turn the heat down to medium low for about 35 minutes or until your mix has reduced and tastes like tomato sauce Heaven in a pan
When your meat sauce is done, make your bechamel by just heating up all the bechamel ingredients in a pan and bringing the mix to a boil first and then a light summer (just turn the heat from high to low and cook it down until the mix has reduced and looks thick enough to pour onto the lasagna). Taste it to ensure it hits your right notes.
Finally, layer up your lasagna on a small casserole – I used this one which is nice for two to four servings. If you’re feeding a crowd though – or are wanting to meal-prep a lot of lasagna, use a bigger casserole and duplicate all the above ingredients. Start with a layer of pasta, then a layer of meat, then another layer of pasta, then another layer of meat, and finally the bechamel + some extra grated cheddar. If you want to get all snazzy on your lasagna, you can use a different kind of cheese too – edam, for example, would be great; so would gouda or a combo of the two (or three if you invite cheddar back to the party).
Bake at 160 C (around 320 F) for about 30-35 minutes or until the lasagna looks brown on top and ready to be devoured. Let it cool before you do the devouring though, otherwise you’ll burn your mouth and we most certainly do not want that as it’d prevent you from actually tasting the lasagna after, hehehe.
Macros per serving (out of four): 306kcals, 33g protein, 5g carbs (2g of them from fiber!) and 15g fat.
Note: I used unflavored pea protein powder to make the sauce – this from here in the UK. You can get the same stuff here if you’re in the US and here in Australia. DO NOT SUB with whey though. Or casein. The sauce won’t work if you do.
PS: Apologies for my usage of both lasagnE and lasagnA. This is where being an American-English speaker living in England becomes tricky. See, it’s LasagnA in the US and LasagnE in the UK! We might as well just go with it phonetically though, and just call it ‘ləˈzanjə’!
PSPS: I am working on a special Protein PowEred Cookbook for you guys – one centred on meat and chicken recipes. It’s turning out incredible and will be out soon; woop woop derooooop!