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Gluten and Dairy-Free Lasagna Magic

 

I sometimes daydream of retiring and being the wife that has bread in the oven and a single malt ready to go for my good man (or more likely, some raw blueberry pancakes in the dehydrator and an elixir in the blender). However I'm not there yet and this month has been a hustle fest of excitement with work and life, which means less time for torrenting about in the kitchen.

Until this happened!

It's lasagna. Since I met my husband he's talked about how much he loves lasagna. Given that we're strict on our gluten-free life and he's strict about no dairy of any kind, whether it be goat, sheep, raw or what have you, that would pretty much leave a lasagna that is really a plate of sauce.

gluten-free lasgana

Though lasagna itself is technically a one-potter, and we all love a good One Pot Wonder, there are a few steps here and it is a little labour intensive. The final result is, however, very much worth it.

To keep the dairy out, I made a rich and creamy cashew ricotta. I used the Tinkyada gluten-free lasagna noodles and I used a simplified version of Grandma Meghan's Secret Tomato Sauce. If you wanted to make this grain-free, you could easily swap the noodles for wide, flat thin slices of zucchini or butternut squash sliced lengthwise with a vegetable peeler.

gluten-free lasagna noodles

Here I've broken the recipe down for you.

Let's start with the Bolognese

Given the abundance of tomatoes at the markets these days, this is an awesome way to preserve the season's finest. You can make loads of straight tomato puree and jar that up, or double or triple a batch of this sauce to enjoy a hearty meal on a day when dinner prep just isn't going to happen.

Tomatoes are one of the few foods that have more nutrient availability after they are cooked or processed in some way (and by processed I don’t mean concentrated, mixed with sugar and called ketchup).

Now, most of us know that tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, an essential phytonutrient for keeping our prostates healthy. Since most of us over here don’t have prostates, we likely know men that do, and here are a few more tomato tidbits for you.

Health Benefits of Tomatoes

  • Anti-oxidant: Loads of vitamins A and C, thanks to the beta-carotene. These vitamins act as anti-oxidants, working to neutralize free radicals.
  • Blood Sugar Balance: Tomatoes have plenty of the mineral chromium, which helps get glucose into the cells and balance blood sugar levels - this is very helpful for those with hypoglycemic tendencies and diabetes.
  • Vision: All that vitamin A helps improve your vision - night blindness anyone?
  • Skin care: The high amounts of lycopene (found in many of those fancy shmancy skin care products) will help us out externally and keep our inside tissues healthy.
  • Hair: Back to that vitamin A - it’s very good for keeping hair strong and shiny.

This recipe can be made using one pound of pastured ground beef, of if you kick it vegan, amp it up with your choice of 2 cups of aduki beans or chickpeas, or even some steamed and ground tempeh.

Simple Bolognese Sauce

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Yield: 6 servings

A quick to prep but long to simmer perfectly flavored tomato Bolognese sauce

Ingredients
  • 1 lb pastured beef or 2 cups cooked/rinsed adzuki beans/chickpeas, or 1 block of tempeh, ground
  • 2 Tbsp ghee or olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 794g jar of crushed tomatoes or 10 roma tomatoes, pureed
  • ½ cup of water
  • 3 carrots, sliced in coins
  • 1 cup sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil or ¼ cup fresh, packed
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano or 2 Tbsp fresh
  • salt to taste

Make It Like So
If using beans, rinse and set aside.
If using beef, sautee until lightly browned over medium heat and set aside.
If using tempeh, process until fine ground in your food processor and set aside.
  1. In a large sauce pan heat your oil and saute onions and garlic for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add tomato puree, water meat or beans, carrots, and mushrooms. Cover and simmer for 35- 50 minutes, until carrots are tender and sauce has a slight sweet taste.
  3. Summer uncover until desired thickness is achieved.
  4. Add basil, oregano, and salt.
  5. Adjust flavours as needed.
  6. Serve hot or allow to cool, transfer to jars leaving room for expansion, and freeze for later use.

Once your sauce is simmering, you can move on to begin prepping the rest of the recipe. Now is a good time to get your noodles cooking, too. Use the directions as outlined on the package.

Cashew Ricotta Cheese

The cheese was the biggest part of the experiment as I had no idea how it would bake up - both inside the lasagna and as the top layer. It turned out perfectly. It was creamy in the middle and just crispy enough as a top layer.

Cashew Ricotta

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Yield: 2¼ cups

A simple dairy-free cashew ricotta.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups cashews, soaked
  • 1Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Make It Like So
  1. Blend all ingredients in your high speed blender or food processor. Scrape down the sides as needed to get a smooth, but thick texture.

lasagna with cashew ricotta

The assembly is the fun part of this project. Here's the lasagna pre-baked.dairy-free lasagnaAnd here it is all crispy and steamy from the oven.

gluten-free dairy-free lasgana recipe

Gluten and Dairy-Free Lasagna Magic

Rating 

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Yield: 6-8 servings

A filling hearty meal that might just be the best lasagna you've ever had!

Ingredients
  • 1 package gluten-free lasagna noodles, cooked as directed*
  • 2 cups Cashew Rictotta
  • All of that awesome Bolognese you just made.

Make It Like So
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In an 12 x 8 baking dish, begin with an approximately 1 inch layer of sauce. Press sauce with back of spatula.
  3. Top the sauce with an even layer of noodles.*
  4. Over the noodles, spread a ¼ - ⅓ inch layer of the cashew cheese.
  5. Repeat steps 1-3, ending with a layer of cashew cheese.
  6. Place in oven and bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes, until the top is slightly browned.
  7. Remove and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Notes
* Make this grain-free by replacing the noodles with thin slices of zucchini or butternut squash.

I'm kind of feeling like this was one of my most successful attempts to healthify a very classically indulgent recipe. I'd love to know if you give this one a try and how you find it!

30 Responses to “Gluten and Dairy-Free Lasagna Magic”

  1. Melissa said…
    My family and I love this recipe. It's a hit with the kids. It's become a part of our menu plan rotation now. :) Thanks for sharing, Meghan!
  2. Laura said…
    This lasagne turned out so delicious! The cashew ricotta was perfect, a little bit of creaminess to balance the spicy chunky vegetable sauce I made. Another winner!
  3. Kim said…
    I love this lasagna and so does my family! I have made it about 6 times in the last 4 months and they keep asking for it. Thank you so much for this amazing recipe!! I have even started making the cashew cheese ahead of time and freezing it so it is ready to go when I need it.
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      I love that you love this! You could also freeze the entire recipe if you wanted - it's a great one for meal prep.
  4. Jodi said…
    I have a question about the cashews... Roasted and salted? Roasted only? The ones I can get anywhere or are they from a specialty market?
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      I typically opt for raw, unsalted cashews. That way, I can control the temperature/length of roasting if needed and also control the salt amounts.
  5. Susan Miller said…
    For your Cashew Ricotta, a couple of dumb questions... how long do the cashews have to soak? Cold or warm water? This looks delicious!
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      Not silly questions at all, Susan! You can soak the cashews in cold water for 6-8 hours. If you're short on time, you can do a quick soak for 1/2 hour in hot water.
  6. Pat said…
    I am sensitive to any kind of yeast. Would the cashew cheese substitute be ok without the nutritional yeast or is it a necessary ingredient? Thanks for the info and for the recipe. I usually use Daiya cheese and leave out the ricotta, but now my daughter is sensitive to potato which is in Daiya. Bummer.
  7. Jill said…
    Thank you, Susan, for asking this question! I was wondering the same thing. Meghan, thank you for explaining this in such a quick & easy way to follow! & Wow!! What an awesome recipe!! I love all of the options you give for ingredient replacements. =)

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