Photo courtesy of Sara Salahub http://www.sarasalahub.com

 

For me, comfort food = italian food.  I grew up eating my Italian grandmother’s pasta and meatballs etc.  So yummy.  Ditching pasta was one of the hardest things I did when I went Paleo.  Now I never even crave it.  Zucchini makes an excellent substitute for pasta and I used that and eggplant to make a delicious and filling lasagna.  This version was modified from another Crossfit/Paleo blogger’s recipe – from Jen’s Gone Paleo blog.  I tend to stay away from dairy except a wee bit in my Americano each day, but wanted to use some in this recipe to make it more indulgent.  I used 100% organic Goat’s Milk Cheese, which is permissable under the primal diet.  You don’t need much and a little goes a long way for adding flavour.  For more on dairy and the primal diet, check out Mark’s Daily Apple post on the definitive guide to dairy.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)
- 3 large zucchini – ends removed, cut lengthwise into thin slices (1/4 inch thick)
- 1 eggplant – ends removed, cut same as zucchini
- 1 red pepper – quartered, core/seeds removed
- 4 C sliced mushrooms (i used button)
- 2 C cooked spinach (i used frozen organic)
- 1 onion – sliced thinly
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
- 1 small can of Tomato Paste
-  2 x 14 oz cans of cherry tomatoes (I like Mara’s because they don’t have other stuff in them)
-  1/2 T dried oregano
- 1 small handful of fresh basil leaves – chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 Tbsp olive oil 
- 100g organic goat’s milk cheese 

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350
  2. Drizzle 2 Tbsp of the olive oil over the zucchini, red pepper and eggplant slices.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Rub it around to coat all pieces.
  3. Grill the veggies – You have 2 choices here: You can either roast them (400 degree oven for ~30 min) or grill them on the BBQ.  I had Semi-Primal Husband grill them on the BBQ because i love them this way.
  4. While the veggies are grilling/roasting, start on the sauce.  In a small saucepan, put 1/2 of 1 can of cherry tomatoes and 1 Tbsp of tomato paste.  Let it heat up and leave it on low heat.  Set aside as this is for the top layer of the lasagna.
  5. For the filling sauce: In a larger saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil.  Add onion and garlic.  Saute for about 2-3 min.
  6. Add the mushrooms.  Saute another 2 min.  Add the spinach.  Let it cook until the mushrooms have softened.
  7. Add the rest of the cherry tomatoes (1 1/2 can), tomato paste and oregano.  
  8. In a casserole dish, put a thin layer of the filling sauce on the bottom.  Lay 1/2 of the zucchini strips flat – like you would with lasagna pasta.
  9. Put 1/2 of the filling sauce on top of the zucchini.  Layer the eggplant on top and the red pepper.
  10. Put the remainder of the filling sauce on top.  Crumble the goat’s milk cheese on top of the sauce.
  11. Put the remaining zucchini on top and top it off with other tomato sauce you had put aside.  Sprinkle with the fresh basil.
  12. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
  13. Enjoy!

This freezes well too.  My Semi-Primal Husband provided the following testimonial, “This is a winner.  This recipe and the cabbage rolls are my new favourites.”