One of the most popular recipes on the blog, this paleo lasagna is a perfect meal to serve to your non-paleo friends, partners, or fussy kids. Make it with or without dairy.
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 those if you avoiding dairy, it’s totally fine to leave out the last layer of ricotta cheese 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. Use can use my faux cheese sauce recipe as a template.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 1 + ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 500 g / 1.1 lb ground grass-fed beef mince
- ⅔ cup dry red wine
- 3 garlic cloves, finely diced chopped
- ⅔ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅔ teaspoon sweet paprika
- 3 cups tomato passata/puree (canned chopped tomatoes are fine)
- Olive oil
- 1 large parsnip or sweet potato, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 large eggplant, sliced into 1cm-thick disks (1/2")
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 5 tablespoons 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
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F). Place a layer of parsnip slices with a little olive oil 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 for now.
- To make the sauce, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the onions with a pinch of salt for 7-8 minutes, until slightly caramelised. Add another teaspoon of olive oil 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.
- Add red wine, garlic, pepper, paprika and salt to the cooking meat and fry for a further 3-4 minutes. Add tomato passata, stir and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to simmering. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.
- Meanwhile, sprinkle the 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).
- In another frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Fry the eggplant in batches for 2-3 minutes on each side, until light golden brown. Add more olive oil as you go along. Set aside, by this stage all our layer ingredients should be ready.
- Take the baking tray out of the oven and start layering the lasagna in the following order: pre-cooked parsnips, ⅓ of the tomato meat sauce, eggplant slices, fresh basil leaves, mushrooms, the rest of the meat sauce pressed down evenly, baby spinach, zucchini slices, drizzle of olive oil and some cracked black pepper. Cook in the oven, at 180°C (355°F), for 35 minutes. See step-by-step pictures below. If using ricotta and grated Parmesan cheese, add on top of the lasagna at the 20-minute 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 canned diced tomatoes instead, just process them into smoother consistency in a food processor or blender.