Homemade Egg-Free Lasagna
Of all the great rip offs of having food allergies, pasta dishes are at the top of the list. Delicious handmade, fresh pasta? Nope, just the thought causes hives to appear. A pasta casserole in a creamy sauce? Oh, I wish. A heaping plateful of cheesey, tomatoey, lasagnay goodness? Not a chance. And would you like to know the most disappointing part about lasagna? It doesn't need to be made with eggs! I wasn't able to find a recipe that I liked online that didn't contain eggs, so I took this recipe from The Food Network and adapted it. For those with gluten allergies, rice pasta noodles can be substituted for the classic lasagna noodles. For this recipe, you'll need:
- 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for pan
- 1 pound ground beef or turkey
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 large stalk celery, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 1 14.5 oz (429 ml) can stewed tomatoes, chopped
- 1 8 oz (237 ml) jar tomato sauce
- 1 6 oz (177 ml) can tomato paste
- 1 8 oz (227 g) box lasagna noodles
- 2 cups cottage cheese
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp thyme
- 2 cups mozzarella, shredded
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish.
2. Chop vegetables and garlic.
3. Grate cheese and set aside.
4. In a large saute pan, over medium to high heat, add oil and saute meat, onion and garlic until meat is browned, breaking it apart as it is cooking.
5. Drain pan of fat and add carrot and celery. Cook until the veggies are tender.
6. Add stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
(Why yes, my apron does have doughnuts on it; doesn't get much better than that).
7. In a small bowl (I ended up using the plastic container the cottage cheese was packaged in) mix together cottage cheese, salt, pepper, oregano and thyme. Set aside.
8. Cook lasagna noodles as per box instructions.
9. Now it's time to assemble the lasagna. I know there are, for the most part, two sides to the great lasagna assembly debate: the two layer-ers and the three layer-ers. I don't think there is any particular difference in taste based on this choice, just a different way of assembling the ingredients. I know two layer-ers and three layer-ers have been co-existing peacefully for many decades, and I leave this tough life decision up to you as you create your own ooey, gooey masterpiece. If you choose to do two layers, split your ingredients in half for this next step, and if you choose to do three layers, split your ingredients into thirds.
First, spread a little meat sauce in the bottom of the prepared pan. Lay a layer of noodles on top, with the noodles as close together, or overlapping. Next, spread a layer of the cottage cheese mixture on top of the noodles. Finally, sprinkle a layer of the grated cheeses on top. Repeat this process either one or two more times.
10. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30-35 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling around the edges. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Optional: pepper the top while the cheese is still melted.
I also managed to get the box of noodles with incredible folding super powers, so this strange phenomenon may not occur when you try this recipe at home.
Despite the fact that lasagna is a real time investment, the pay off is well worth it. The complex flavours in the long-simmered sauce combined with the spices and cheeses is a mouth-watering make it a definite crowd favourite time and time again.