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Show Off Paleo Lasagna



This dish is a bit of a show pony in my paleo recipes repertoire. It’s a perfect meal to serve to your non-paleo friends, partners, or fussy kids. It’s so yummy, hearty and filling, that they won’t even notice it’s missing the pasta. Speaking of pasta, I don’t think I can technically call this a lasagna as it’s missing the actual lasagna pasta sheets but it still retains the traditional shape, layers, colours and flavours.

The key to a good lasagna is a tasty, hearty base sauce. I believe this lasagna sauce tastes as good as it does because of the grass-fed beef used in the recipe. I’ve been paying attention to the beef mince sauces I make with grass-fed mince versus regular grain-fed and I can say with outmost certainty that the grass-fed beef based sauces are more delicious. The rest is just good fresh produce and a bit of patience as it does take a little while to assemble all the layers. It’s a good recipe to make on the weekends and you can get you kids or partner involved in preparing all the layers.

For no dairy folks, it’s totally fine to leave out the last layer of ricotta and grated Parmesan. I used those two cheeses as they contain less lactose and ricotta is mostly whey protein as most of the casein is removed during the making of the cheese. You can alternatively make a puree from pre-cooked cauliflower, olive oil and cashews processed until smooth. This can be used as a ‘white cream sauce’ topping.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Show Off Paleo Lasagna
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
As there are a few processes to making this dish, please read the full recipe to get the best timing and order. If you're looking for coconut products like coconut oil, I order mine from here.
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4-6
For beef and tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 1¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • 500g grass-fed beef mince (1.1 lb.)
  • ⅔ cup dry red wine
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely diced chopped
  • ⅔ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅔ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 3 cups tomato passata
For the lasagna layers
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 large eggplant, sliced into 1 cm-thick disks (1/2 in.)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoon virgin olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ghee
  • ½ cup torn fresh basil leaves
  • 5–6 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced vertically into thin ribbons
  • 1 ½ cups ricotta cheese (optional)
  • 2–3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Cherry tomatoes to garnish
  1. Heat oven to 180°C (355°F). Place a layer of parsnip slices with a little ghee in a deep lasagna tray and pre-bake in the oven for 15 minutes, this will help to soften them slightly before we build the rest of the layers. Set aside
  2. To make the sauce, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and sauté onion with a pinch of salt for 5-8 minutes, until slightly caramelised. Add 1 tsp of ghee and bring the heat up to high. Break the beef mince and add to the frying pan. Use a spatula or a potato masher (my little trick) to stir and break the mince apart into small pieces, as it tends to clump together during cooking. Cook for about 5–6 minutes, until browned.
  3. Add red wine, garlic, pepper, paprika and salt to cooking meat and fry for a further 3-4 minutes. Add tomato passata, bring to boil and turn the heat down to simmering temperature. Cook for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, sprinkle eggplant slices with sea salt and set aside for 10 minutes to draw out some of the juices. Rinse and pat dry. Heat the oven back to 180°C (355°F).
  4. In another frying pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp ghee. Fry the eggplant in batches for 2-3 minutes on each side, until light golden brown. Add more olive oil and ghee as you go along. Set aside, by this stage all our layer ingredients should be ready.
  5. Take the baking tray out of the oven and start layering the lasagna in the following order: pre-cooked parsnips, ⅓ of tomato meat sauce, eggplant slices, fresh basil leaves, mushrooms, the rest of the meat sauce pressed down evenly, baby spinach, zucchini, drizzle of olive oil and some cracked black pepper. Cook in the oven, at 180°C (355°F), for 35–40 minutes. See step-by-step pictures below. If using ricotta and grated Parmesan cheese, add on top of the lasagna at the 20 minutes cooking-time mark. Increase the heat to 200°C (390°F) for the last 10–15 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil and a few cherry tomatoes. Serve with a side mixed salad.Cook’s notes: Tomato passata is basically a fresh tomato puree but you can use diced tomato instead, just process them into smoother consistency in a food processor or blender.

paleo lasagna step by step
  1. This was really good! I sauted the mushrooms and zucchini (rather than drizzle with oil) before layering, it browned them up nicely and saved a bit on cooking time, I also think it helps bring out the flavour. I added the cheese and broiled for a few minutes to brown it up nicely. Lovely tasty lasagna and will definitely make again! Do you think the leftovers would freeze well? Thanks, Gwyn

  2. Thank you so much for this recipe! It is definitely better than normal lasagna. Me and my boyfriend have made this three times over the last month, and everyone who have tasted it have been blown away (including my parents in law, score!). I make it vegan/cheese free, but not entirely paleo, by making a “cheese sauce” from 1 dl cashews, 1 cup coconut milk, blend, mix into a casserole with 3-4 dl milk (I use rice milk) and some starch (I use corn starch) and heat it while I whisk it until it stiffens. Adding this, and perhaps some pieces of bacon, on top is heavenly.

  3. This is absolutely and perfectly delicious and tastes so much better than “real” lasagne! This sauce is so good you just want to lay in it! Thank you so much, this recipe has found a home in my recipe keeper! ;)

  4. Nothing like a tasty, mouth-watering meal that looks that part as well! Can’t wait to eat it… The recipe looks easy enough… I’m using it to surprise someone special.

  5. Hi there.

    I’m just curious if this lasagna is freezable or if you have a variation for 2 ppl? My husband and I couldn’t eat that whole lasagna, haha. I really want to try this meal. :)

    Thanks :)

    1. Hi Stefanie,

      I haven’t tried freezing it but I don’t see why not. It could get a bit mushy though. Having said that, it will last in the fridge for 2-3 days so you could have it for leftovers lunch as well.


  6. Saw this recipe on Pintrest and thought it was beautiful. Made it substuiting grass fed bison (my first time having it) and it was delicious. Every single person in my family loved! And can I also say that I do not like eggplant. I have never cooked an eggplant. I had some in my CSA box that I needed to use so I did. Thanks to you, I think I like eggplant now.

  7. I think this will be a good dish to win over my non paleo children. Although they are die hard pasta enthusiasts so we’ll see what they make of the lake of it in this recipe. One possible variation is the mix a couple of beaten eggs with the ricotta to make a white sauce. My mum used to always make her lasagne with a white sauce made from beaten eggs and cottage cheese and black pepper which tasted pretty good.

  8. Thanks. I don’t know how it’ll feel eating lasagna without the ‘sheets’ like you said, but if it’ll help me break free from pasta and get a little healthier it’s certainly worth a shot.

  9. My husband has just made this as his first paleo meal. It was delicious even though he had to fiddle with the recipe due to lack of some ingredients.

    Neither of us like conventional lasagne so we are really pleased to enjoy this. No nasty white sauce.

    thank you very much for sharing this recipe.

  10. Hi there!

    Firstly quickly wanted to tell you how fantastic & inspiring your website is! Love it!! Then, I did try this recipe tonight for dinner (but took 800gr of minced beef & made it spicier) and it was absolutely delicious!!! Thanks a lot for that! So besides that it looks amazing and tastes divine!!

  11. Thank you so much Irey! Your recipes are divine!
    I have made your show off lasagne many many times, it is an all time fav in our home…
    FYI – It freezes quite well! My hubby works away and he makes me freeze some for him if I cook it when he isn’t around so he gets some when he gets home :)
    I personally think isn’t quite as delicious as when served straight up as the moisture in the veges once frozen changes the texture of the meat a little on defrosting.

  12. Heyy there
    Just decided to do the two week test for carb intolerence

    And was looking for an interesting simple dish

    I loved this
    Im in egypt so we dont have parsnips these days (they only option is organic!)

    Anyway did the 2 layers eggplant

    Turned out awesome !

    Waiting for my mom’s verdict tomorrow

  13. Hi Irena,

    I love this recipe and have made it several times. Tonight, when I pulled it up, I noticed some edits.

    Step 4 states: Take the baking tray out of the oven and start layering the lasagna in the following order: pre-cooked parsnips…

    I noticed the part about pre cooking the parsnips has been removed from the recipe. Was this intentional? Because I have made this so many times, I remembered to pre cook the parsnip, but for someone making this for the first time, it may be a bit confusing.

    Additionally, I believe the recipe used to call for cooking the onions in a separate pan from the ground beef. Then, adding the cooked onions to the ground beef mixture.

    Could you please clarify?

    Thank you,
    Lisa H.

    1. Yes, you are correct. The parsnips were slightly pre-cooked. I’ve edited this to be a little shorter and less verbose and I probably accidentally deleted it. I will add it in. The onions getting cooked separately or in the same pan as you add the beef won’t make too much of a difference, I’ve done it both ways and the result is pretty much the same – just skips that extra step making it a little easier. So, cook onion first but then just add the beef to the onion and fry off.

      Thanks for spotting it though. I will amend about the parsnips! I honestly think they will probably cook through anyway and will thus save some time, but better to be safer than sorry ;)

  14. Got this in the oven cooking now. I hope it works out as well as everyone else’s seems to. I didn’t cook the eggplant first as I kept burning it and didn’t use zucchini as i seemed to have loads of parsnip (which I missed precooking) and eggplant left over. It’s certainly looks delicious and hoping Miss 6 and Master 4 who are fussy with new things enjoy it. Also new to paleo thing so fingers crossed. Love the look of all your recipes (the ones I’ve seen so far).

  15. In attempt of getting back on track with my Paleo ways after being slack on hols/birthday etc and feeling rubbish from it, this was first on the weeks list of meals-YUM! Thanks for a great recipe and a new one to add to the list. I only discovered your site last week so I look forward to trying your other recipes out too. Thanks again, Emma, UK x

  16. Just cooked this tonight! It wasn’t very daunting, I thought it was fun prepping it. I put some ricotta in between the veggies to make it look closer to the “real” lasagna. No eggplant since husband isn’t a fan. Husband and I loved it! We both love veggies so we didn’t mind eating out. Just gotta test it out to non Paleo friendsbut I’m pretty sure they love it. I just have to figure out how to make it less watery but I know that comes from the veggies. And next time to make it gooey, I’m gonna add mozzarella on top. Definitely goes to the make it again list.

  17. This is an AMAZING recipe! I love this version more than Real lasagne. We have made so many of your recipes and have never been disappointed and have just purchased the cookbook and WOW so many more things I cannot wait to try! Thanks for making being healthy taste great!

  18. Made it for lunch today and it was an absolute success. I have two super picky sons (aged 8 and 10), and when I said it was a lasagna, neither of them complained but cleaned their plates in minutes. The elder one even made a comment that he felt like in a special restaurant. I served it with tzatziki and paleo bread (from flax, eggs and sesame seeds). The only change I made was used bell peppers instead of mushroom, turmeric instead of paprika powder, and doubled the zucchini instead of eggplant. I’ll try next time with the original recipe, but this is what I had at hand this time. Thank you so much for the recipe!

    1. That’s the beauty of the recipe. You can mix and match different layers and spices and make it your own. I really love this lasagna too!

    1. I never have enough left to try. You could always make a bigger batch of the sauce and freeze that, which will halve the recipe time in half next time.

  19. I made this last night. It was by far one of the most AMAZING meals I have ever had, let alone made myself!
    Great recipe! My boyfriend also loved it and he is PICKY!!!!!!

  20. My tip to make this less time “daunting” is to make the sauce a day a head and refrigerate. Will take the same amount of time but spreading the load over a couple of days makes it more manageable (esp. with the kidlets around). I’ve also gotten into the habbit of batch cooking it so I have enough to make an extra tray to freeze.

  21. I’m going to make this beauty for supper tonight…can’t wait! I was wondering if you ever post the nutritional facts for your recipes?

    1. Hi Michelle, sometimes I go into the general nutrient composition of the dish – say it’s full of Omega-3 fatty acids or vitamins C, A and B12 – but I don’t break it down into macronutrients such as X calories, X protein etc. I do some sugar/fructose and carb analysis sometimes as that’s the main thing people try to watch on paleo. I’d like to though, just not enough time :(

      1. Ok thanks anyways…the lasagna is in the oven as we speak..I’m dying to try it! Thanks for your wonderful recipes and the beautiful layouts, it makes cooking even more of a pleasure!

  22. I have to admit, I wasn’t 100% convinced that this would taste like a real lasagne.. Having tried numerous versions of low-carb ‘lasagne’s’, none have satisfied… I made this last night – and although it took a while to make, it was absolutely worth all of the effort!! Unfortunately it didn’t finish cooking until 10pm so I had some for lunch today (and probably again for dinner tonight post-WOD) and it is delicious. I am definitely putting this recipe onto the list for what to prepare when wanting to impress non-paleo guests. :) Thank you!! P.S. I substitute parsnips for 1 large carrot and it worked a treat :)

    1. Thanks Angie! I am so happy you liked it. It does take a little while to make – all those layers, phew! – but I agree it’s worth the effort and it keeps really well I think. We got a few meals out of it ;)

      Irena :)

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