So, this felt like a good time to give you a recipe that you can serve on a real plate 🙂
First, I should clarify. I’m not a low-carb fiend that would throw myself on top of a plate of pasta like it’s a live bomb. All things in moderation. Plus, pasta sauce is really hard to get out of clothes.
So, sure, I eat pasta. But to me, pasta is a vehicle for sauce. So, subbing out noodles for something else is something I’ve definitely been experimenting with. If I can save some calories by using zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash, it gives me more calories for a really hearty sauce. Or, a glass of wine. Depending on the day.
But hear me out. I don’t do substitutions that taste like substitutions. I’m not going to punish myself by eating thin sheets of cardboard because they’re low-cal.
And that is why I’m so stinking excited to share this recipe with you. My friend Sarah shared it with me, and I can’t even get my mind around how good it is. And easy. And freezes super well.
Really, all you do is super thinly slice butternut squash. Preferably with a mandolin.*
Put down a layer of thinly sliced butternut squash (uncooked). And then you put down a layer of the yummy meat sauce you made. You can obviously use your own recipe, but be aggressive with the seasoning and thickness. It needs to be able to hold up well to slicing, and the seasoning needs to balance out the sweetness of the squash.
Then, a layer of mozzarella. I use part-skim mozzarella, because I think it tastes good. I also don’t use ricotta. I hate ricotta with a passion. It tastes like licking a sweaty gym sock. Seriously. It’s gross. But you know, to each his own.
Another layer of squash. Another layer of sauce. Then you bake it covered for 30 minutes. Uncover, add the last layer of cheese, and bake for another 15.
From your oven, you pull out a thing of beauty. Golden brown cheese. Hearty, delicious meat sauce. Slightly sweet squash that has just a tiny bit of bite.
It’s so good, guys. And keep in mind, you can just modify your favorite lasagna recipe, with your favorite sauce and favorite cheese mixture, and just swap out the noodles for the squash. But I’ll include my recipe just so you have it. I’m also including the nutrition information, for those who are interested. If you’re not, feel free to ignore it 🙂
Butternut Squash Lasagna (8 servings)
1 pound lean ground beef
1 small butternut squash, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
1 onion, diced (around 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz tomato paste
15 oz tomato sauce
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 lb part-skim mozzarella, shredded
1. Preheat oven to 400’.
2. Spray pan with nonstick spray (I use coconut oil) and heat over medium heat. Sauté onion until translucent, then add ground beef and garlic until browned and juice is evaporated.
3. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce and spices. Let simmer over medium heat while you slice your squash.
4. Layer in 9×13 pan – half the squash, half the sauce mixture, half the cheese. Then repeat–the rest of the squash, the rest of the sauce (but hold the cheese!)
5. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes.
6. Take off the foil, add final layer of cheese, and bake an additional 15 minutes.
8. Let sit 15 minutes. If you can. This is the hardest part of the entire recipe.
If you want to freeze it, just assemble the entire dish, including both layers of cheese. Cover and freeze, uncooked. Then you can either thaw it before baking, or cook from frozen at 400 degrees for one hour, covered, and an additional 15 minutes uncovered. Since I’m just eating for one, I will often make two small pans, freezing one of them.
Nutrition for 1/8 recipe:
Total Fat: 13 g
Saturated Fat: 7 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 69 mg
Sodium: 641 mg
Potassium: 1500 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 17 g
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Sugars: 10 g
Protein: 27 g
*I know, mandolin’s are deadly (says the girl who once sliced her thumb open on a knife at William’s Sonoma and still has no feeling in said thumb). So, use with caution. Mine came with a handy-dandy glove. It is the most genius thing ever. It just occurred to me I should carry it in my purse, and if a crazy-knife welding person came after me, I could put on my glove to protect myself. But only my hand. Maybe I didn’t think this one through completely.