When I went paleo a year ago, I had a serious problem giving up lasagna. I tried making some paleo lasagna recipes I found around the internet but they all featured a plethora of weird, crumbly homemade imitation pasta that left my mouth feeling pasty. Someone suggested thin-cut eggplant and I was skeptical (definitely NOT an eggplant fan) but I gave it a shot. Oh my holy grail of knockoff noodles! The strong seasoned tomato flavor totally covers up that eggplant vegetable flavor, while their starchiness lends a familiar noodle consistency for a serious family pleaser.
Paleo Lasagna Made with Eggplant Noodles and Nut Cheese
- 2.5 lbs lean ground beef
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 28 oz jar Contadina Crushed Tomatoes with Italian Herbs
- 18 oz Contadina Tomato Paste
- 2 Eggplants I use the mandolin for this, cut into 1/8-inch thick slices lengthwise
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk
- 1 1/2 cups cashews roasted and salted
- 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 3/4 cup walnuts
- 2 Tbsp basil
- 2 Tbsp red chili pepper flakes
- Olive oil
- Heat oven to 500 degrees.
- Spread eggplant slices on baking sheets coated with olive oil, and lightly coat the top of each strip with olive oil. Cook both sides of all eggplant slices for 4 minutes, and set aside.
- Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté onions and garlic until translucent.
- Add beef and cook until no longer pink.
- Stir Contadina Crushed Tomatoes, basil and chili pepper flakes into beef and cook until heated, approximately 3 minutes.
- Stir Contadina Tomato Paste into beef mixture and simmer on low for 10 minutes.
- In a powerful blender, mix almond milk, cashews, pumpkin seeds and walnuts until smooth.
- In a greased 9x13-inch pan, layer half of the beef, half of the eggplant slices and half of the nut mixture and repeat. Cook at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.
If you're feeding this paleo lasagna to picky kids, you might want to peel the eggplants before slicing them. The taste comes out pretty much the same, but the purple edging is a dead giveaway to vegetable-sleuthing kids screaming, “I'm healthy!” Taking away that little ribbon of color means you can sneak this veggie past their palate undetected.
My secret ingredient: Contadina Crushed Tomatoes with Italian Herbs. Using crushed tomatoes gets me strong tomato flavor with a little texture, and the pre-mixed herbs means less leg work on my end. I add in a generous amount of tomato paste to thicken the mixture, because nut cheese tends to be a little runny and without carby noodles to hold it all together, I like to impart a strong consistency to my beef and tomato base.
So yeah. Nut cheese. Sounds weird, but it's delicious. This is my go-to concoction when I need something creamy in a dairy-free recipe. The strong tomato taste melds perfectly with the delicate softness of nut cheese to totally make this paleo lasagna.
Has your family ever tried paleo lasagna?