100% Paleo Lasagna
Lies, lies, lies. That is what has been on my mind these past couple of days. Any newspaper you read or TV channel you turn to, they are reporting about all the people in the public eye that have recently lied. Lance Armstrong finally confesses to Oprah that he not only doped to win all the Tour de Frances, but he also ruined the lives of many who he thought would admit his indiscretions before his recent confession. And now the Notre Dame middle linebacker, Manti Te’o, allegedly lies about his “girlfriend’s” death to get publicity for the Heisman. I know this is not the first time we see professional athletes ‘fail” or disappoint us, but either way it is still disheartening. Come to think of it, kids are liars too. Why is it their natural instinct to lie? I hear it all the time, “I didn’t do it, brother did.” As parents, my husband and I tried to stress the importance of telling the truth at a young age by telling our President- obsessed son the story of young George Washington admitting to his father that he cut down his beloved Cherry tree. We told Jackson it was hard for George Washington to tell the truth but he did it anyway because it was the right thing to do. We also told Jackson, he too, has to set a good example for his brother and even though it is difficult to do the right thing, he still has to do it. Now, a common phrase in our home is when Jackson is caught lying/ or telling a “white lie”, he will say “I didn’t cut down the cherry tree, Mama.” No he didn’t, he got me there. Clearly, I am no parent of the year; we are still working on this life lesson. Sadly, adults lie too. We need to set good examples for our children to emulate. My hubby hates when I start sentences with, “To be honest with you.” When he hears those words come out of my mouth, he will quickly retort “Well I hope you are always honest with me.” Isn’t it sad that we live in a world where lying is so prevalent that you have to preface your comments that you are NOT lying? So if we ALL lie, what do we do to liars? Are there repercussions? In the military, we take Soldiers rank or pay away if they are caught lying. We can’t do that in the “civilian” world; there is perjury or libel but you have to be on oath or a reporter to get in trouble. So what do we do?
Personally, integrity is all we got. If you are not true with yourself, you cannot be true to others. I do believe honesty IS the best policy. Honesty is free and the best gift you can give yourself and others. I don’t think this is a stretch when I say fitness and eating healthy is all about doing the right thing and being honest with ourselves. How bad do you want it? Be honest. You want to be thin and fit, but do you want to put the time into doing it? You are lying to yourselves if you say you want to be fit and healthy but you don’t do anything to change your life. In the Army, my first battalion commander taught me that you always have to do the right thing, even when it is hard. So I ask you all to do the right thing and take care of yourselves. Work out so you can live a long and healthy life. Eat right not to just look good in your bathing suit this summer, but to be strong and live a life without chronic illness and disease.
Anyway this blog has been a place for me over the last 6 months where I lay it all out there and tell the truth. I know many people don’t want to hear what I have to say, heck I barely like listening to myself talk, but I am putting myself out there because I want to do something more in life. I know many self righteous people grow up with their charge in life to help people. They have a noble cause like fighting cancer, stopping hunger or promoting world peace, so what is my cause? Helping people get fit and feel good about themselves? Seems self centered and miniscule compared to those worthy causes, but I will take it! Now if I could only get paid for this and do this full time. That is what you all are for. Keep listening, keep cooking, keep trying and keep checking back to OurFullPlate and see what is new. Good things don’t happen overnight. Like anything in life, it takes time. Anything in life that is worth it, IS HARD. Do the right thing, be honest with yourself and others, and the results will come with time.
So in the meantime, I am going to be honest with you….MAKE THIS 100% PALEO LASAGNA. It was my first attempt to making a lasagna 100% Paleo and I loved it. I was a little skeptical of making a lasagna that didn’t have an ounce of dairy in it but after devouring almost half of the lasagna, like they say, “the proof was in the pudding (or Paleo Lasagna).” I used my semi-homemade Paleo Meat Sauce to make the sauce for this Paleo Lasagna and I was inspired by this recipe for my Walnut “cheese” sauce. Let me know if you are a convert too and love this lasagna as much as my family did.
The Paleo Lasagna Recipe
- 1lb of ground beef, I used 96% lean
- 1lb of ground pork sausage
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 (8 oz) can of tomato sauce
- 1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes (I used Italian Style)
- 1 (6 oz) can of tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon of oregano
- 2 eggplants, cut into ⅛ in julienne slices (lengthwise)
- 2½ cups of frozen spinach
- 1½ cup of raw walnuts
- ½ cup of raw pumpkin seeds
- ¾ cup of almond milk
- ¼ cup of warm water
- ½ teaspoon of nutmeg
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Lay out all your ingredients and preheat oven to broil or 500 degrees.
- Take out your frozen spinach from the freezer and set aside to thaw it out while you are preparing the lasagna. This step is optional if you use fresh spinach. Even if you use frozen, you do not have to thaw it out because it does cook through so really it is up to you.
- Dust off your mandolin slicer. Wash your eggplant and set your mandolin slicer to the julienne setting to cut the eggplant into skinny slices. I used the ⅛ in setting because my thoughts were the thinner the better so they would closely resemble a pasta noodle. Besides, I think it worked better for my kids too. They ate the eggplant up but if the eggplant was thick they would probably would have run for the hills. Again, if you are sans mandolin, don't get beat down. Eggplant is not difficult to slice so it will not take you long, I just don't know how easy it will be to cut the eggplant that evenly thin. Either way, try the recipe OR save your money and buy a mandolin slicer; you can get one for $30. Now that I am Paleo, I am learning to appreciate my mandolin slicer more and more. Stay tuned for more homemade vegetables chips and grainless sandwiches with cucumbers, which are all possible with the use of my wonderful mandolin slicer.
- Spray each sliced eggplant with a little olive oil and place on a cookie sheet. For 2 medium-sized eggplants, I had to use 1 large cookie sheet and made 5 batches. Another way to cook these eggplants slices in one shot is grilling them on a gas grill. Though if you are broiling them, like me, you will have to take the top rack in the oven and place it as close as you can to the broiler. Add your first batch/ cookie sheet with the eggplant slices and cook for 8-10 minutes. Half way through the broiling time (about 4-5 minutes), turn the eggplant to avoid burning on one side. This was a bit of a tedious step but it didn't seem too bad because I started cooking the meat sauce concurrently.
- While the eggplant slices are broiling, heat a saute pan over medium heat with about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Cook oil, garlic and onions for about 5 minutes until onions are translucent.
- Add ground beef and pork and cook for another 3-4 minutes until you see no pink in the meat.
- Add tablespoon of oregano and stir.
- Once the meat is cooked, add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce and stir for about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste to thicken the sauce and stir again until everything is evenly distributed.
- Cover and simmer on low until all your eggplant is cooked and ready to serve. Should be about 5-10 minutes by this time.
- Once the meat sauce is on low and the eggplant is all broiled you can make your nondairy walnut "cheese" sauce. All you have to do is add your walnuts, pumpkin seeds, almond milk, nutmeg and water and hit blend. I used a heavy duty blender to blend the sauce. It is no Vitamax but it is pretty powerful. I have read you can soak your nuts first to soften them if you want. I didn't it and it was fine. The sauce blended rather immediately, no more than 2 minutes. Add more water if you think the sauce is too thick. Ultimately you want it to be the consistency of ricotta cheese, thick and not too runny.
- Ok after everything is complete, you are ready to assemble the lasagna. While you are assembling, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Step 1: Take your 13 x 9in Pyrex pan, spray with olive oil and place about half a cup of the meat sauce on the bottom, covering the majority of the bottom.
- Step 2: Spread ½ of your eggplant slices on top of the thin layer of tomato sauce.
- Step 3: Spreading evenly, add half of your spinach.
- Step 4: Add half of your nondairy walnut "cheese" sauce, again trying to spread as evenly as possible.
- Step 5: Add a hefty portion of your meat sauce, about half of what you have left.
- Step 6: Repeat the second and last layer with eggplant slices, spinach, the nondairy walnut "cheese" sauce and the remainder of the homemade tomato meat sauce. I thought it was weird to not top the lasagna with any dairy or cheese, but don't worry. After you try it you will not be longing for that dairy again. Promise.
- Cook in the oven, uncovered for 45 minutes.
- Be prepared to have this meal knock your socks off! To me lasagnas are a lot of work, but it was so worth it after trying it.
So what is the verdict? Does this paleo lasagna still offer all the taste without all the grains?
See your Recipe Book.
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