Google+ Allergy-Free Vintage Cookery: Cheeseless Lasagna with Hidden Veggies


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cheeseless Lasagna with Hidden Veggies

I never knew I had a dairy allergy until I was 43 years old.  I actually hated milk as a kid, but was forced to drink it anyway (as we all probably were) because it was "good for me."  I couldn't stand the taste of cheese either, but eventually learned to tolerate it because it was everywhere and I hated being left out.  For a long time, Velveeta was my go-to cheese (I know, I know, we weren't a gourmet family by any stretch of the imagination).  After years of experimenting, I finally learned to appreciate a wider variety of cheese flavors, but there was still one dish that I just couldn't stomach... lasagna.

What's that you say?  Everyone loves lasagna?  Not me.  Too much of that mushy cheese.  I broke my arm last winter, and no fewer than six thoughtful neighbors brought over dinners they had made....and every single one was a lasagna.  Not wanting to be rude or ungrateful (and not having much choice anyway), I ate them all.  And I swore I would never do that again to my stomach.

In the spring, I learned about my dairy allergy (among many others) and all the pieces clicked into place. So THAT'S why I was never down with the milk and cheese!

Since we now have a houseful of dairy allergies, I thought I'd give cheeseless lasagna a shot.  My husband is still on the vegan track, so this dish is just for the boys and me.  Rather than try to replace the cheese with some kind of artificial substitute (we can't eat soy anyway), I just left it out.  To have something else to layer with the meat and noodles, I sliced up some tomatoes, and love how the color looks, and to round out the dish I diced some raw broccoli (including the stems) to mix in with the meat.  All the non-allergenic food groups in one dish, and some nice contrasting colors too!  And to wrap it all up with a bow, the gluten-free rice pasta is nice and firm, so my mushy texture issues are taken care of as well.  It's a winner!

Cheeseless Lasagna with Hidden Veggies

1 package gluten-free lasagna noodles (I used Tinkyada brown rice noodles)
1 jar spaghetti sauce (choose your favorite)
1 pound ground beef (organic, if you can find it)
2 cups broccoli, chopped very small (or broccoli slaw, chopped up)
2 fresh tomatoes
fresh tarragon to taste

Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions and drain.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown and crumble the beef with salt, pepper and oregano to taste.  When cooked, remove from heat and mix with 3/4 of the jar of sauce, and the 2 cups of broccoli (still raw).

In an 8x8" pan, layer the noodles, remaining sauce, meat mixture, and tomato slices.  You will need to trim the noodles to fit the pan, and may have a few left over.  Finish with a noodle layer and top with sauce, being careful to spread it to cover all the edges of the noodles (otherwise they dry out).  This recipe is small, because the organic beef came in such a small package it wouldn't stretch to fill a regular sized pan.  (Next time I'll double the recipe.)

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, and top with something fresh and green to serve (I used tarragon).

Shared with the Hearth and Soul Hop at Premeditated Leftovers and What's Cooking Wednesday at Turning Back the Clock and Gluten Free Wednesday at the Gluten Free Homemaker and Pennywise Platter Thursday at The Nourishing Gourmet and Fresh Bites Friday at Real Food Whole Health and Good and Tasty Tuesday at Stay At Home Babe and Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as Mom and Thursday's Treasures at Recipes for My Boys and Hunk of Meat Monday at Beyer Beware.


  1. I love seeing more vegetables added to dishes. Right now, I'm working on a series of posts about eating more vegetables, so it's a timely dish. I'd bet the summer squash and zucchini could be hidden in there with the broccoli too, if they work for everyone.

    Maybe grated carrots or sweet potato?

  2. I can't tell you how excited I was when I saw this recipe1 My oldest son doesn't do well on dairy although he loves it. We have let him choose lactose free alternatives, but this week we decided that he should try going completely dairy free and I have been agonizing over how to create dairy free alternatives for some of his favorite dishes (two of us can't eat soy, so it limits df choices). I will be making this recipe this week, plus I am going to adopt the approach of just leaving cheese out and using the other ingredients and see how he likes those recipes. Thank you for sharing this recipe with the Hearth and Soul Hop - it was the right recipe at the right time for me!

  3. @ Stephanie ~ Great ideas for hiding more vegetables! I have one son who basically won't eat any vegetable if he can see it :)

    @ Alea ~ I'm so glad! I hope your son likes the lasagna. Let me know if you try any other cheeseless recipes that turn out well. I was actually surprised that this one tasted as good as it did :)

  4. sounds delicious and love the hidden veggie part so hard to get teens to eat veggies sometimes come see what I shared at

  5. I love the broccoli and tomatoes in this - I can eat dairy but I'd still love your lasagne! Thank you for sharing it with the Hearth and Soul hop.

  6. Hiding veggies in sauces and soups and smoothies is my favorite mom trick. I give them whole veg to develop their palettes as well, but I like to sneak in the hidden stuff to make sure they get enough nutritional punch.

  7. Love this! My boys are getting picky and not wanting to eat the veggies they once did. Perfect! Thank you for sharing on Thursday's Treasures. Can't wait to see what you have for us next. <3 and HUgs!