Lasagna and a Lesson

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I had an interesting tomato paste experience this week. I know that makes me sound like one of the nerdiest women alive, but stay with me while I explain!

I have always read labels since Jr High, when Oprah started talking about a low fat diet, so my mom started talking about one, so I did too. Back then, I looked at the fat content and nothing else (not smart!). I still read labels, but in a totally different way. Now, I rely on the ingredient list simply. If there are more than 5 things on the list, it’s usually a good indication that I don’t want to eat it.

And so it was when I planned to make a lasagna for dinner. Standing in the canned vegetables isle, I examined my tomato paste options. And this is what I found:

One brand, had 2 ingredients: tomato and citric acid. The other brand had over 20. The 1st contained 20 mgs of sodium; the other had 220 mgs. Did I mention the 2nd brand was more expensive? Why would I pay more for chemicals I don’t want to be eating? Craziness!

Moral: Be sure to read your labels! Just because the product is the same, does not mean every brand is the same! Make wise choices 🙂

And now, the recipe!

Using a vegetable slicer is quick, easy and gives the lasagna a look and texture that is similar to traditional noodles! If you have extra ‘noodles’, they work great as a substitute for lettuce on a salad with grilled chicken breast.

Paleo Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles

1-2 large zucchini

2 tbsp fat (bacon lard or coconut oil is what I use)

1 yellow onion, diced

2 cups fresh mushrooms, roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb lean ground beef or turkey

1 can tomato paste

4 large tomatoes, diced

3-5 leaves fresh basil, finely chopped

2 tsp oregano

Fresh ground pepper & salt to taste

3/4 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded (optional)**

Fresh parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the zucchini ‘noodles’, use a vegetable peeler to create strips of zucchini. Rotate the zucchini and peel on all 4 sides, to achieve even noodles. Finely dice the remaining center of the zucchini and save to add to your sauce. Set strips aside.

In a large sauce pan, heat fat over medium heat. Add garlic and onions, cook about 5 minutes, until onions begin to turn translucent (clear). Add mushrooms, meat, and any extra zucchini. Continue cooking until meat is fully cooked and zucchini is tender. Add tomato paste and tomatoes. Mix well, add spices, using salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer until heated through.

To assemble the lasagna: lay strips of zucchini in bottom of square baking dish, cover with sauce, repeat to create 3 layers. Cover last layer of sauce with any remaining zucchini, cover with cheese**.

Bake at 350 about 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and sauce bubbles. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.

Yield: 4 large slices

** There is some debate about dairy products in paleo… Personally, I limit my dairy consumption to cheese, cream or yogurt, in small amounts and only occasionally (2-3 times per week). I consider dairy a ‘treat’, like nuts or honey. Too much dairy does bother my stomach but in these amounts, I do not notice a problem. If you are sensitive to it, leave it out.

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