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Paleo Lasagna w/ Turkey & Zucchini (Gluten Free & Keto Variations!)

Oct 12, 2021 | Recipes | 0 comments

Paleo Lasagna

My paleo lasagna uses fresh herbs, zucchini and ground turkey for a healthy and delicious spin on this classic. Dairy & dairy free options!

If you're in the mood for some healthy comfort food, you've come to the right place!

I actually couldn't believe it when I realized I hadn't posted this recipe before. It's been a favorite for years, dating way back to my pre-Prep Dish days when I worked as a personal chef. My clients always loved it when I made lasagna and these days my little family loves it as well!

As you'll see below, this Paleo lasagna recipe is quite flexible. If you're not Paleo, you can easily add in some gluten free lasagna noodles. You can make it with either dairy or cashew cream. You can even make it keto friendly or vegetarian!

Make it your own and make extra! Lasagna freezes so well and it's one of my favorite dishes to double up on so I always have one ready to go in my freezer. I included freezer tips below the recipe.

Enjoy!

 

Paleo Lasagna w/ Turkey & Zucchini

Ingredients

  • 4 medium-large zucchini
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 small bunch basil
  • 1 # ground turkey, 85% lean (or sub ground beef)
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 25 oz spaghetti sauce
  • 1 cup raw cashews (or sub 32 oz greek yogurt)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan, separated (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Soak 1 cup cashews in 1 cup hot water for ~20 mins. Blend cashews and water until smooth. (Option to use 32 oz greek yogurt instead.)
  • Thinly slice 4 zucchini into long strips lengthwise (resembling lasagna noodles). This works best on a mandolin.
  • Place zucchini in oven and roast for 5-10 minutes or until lightly browned (remove halfway and carefully flip). Cool. 
  • Finely dice ½ yellow onion & finely chop basil leaves.
  • In a large sauté pan over med-high heat, add the following: 1# ground turkey, chopped onion, 8 oz sliced mushrooms.
  • Cook for ~12 minutes, breaking apart turkey meat as you cook.
  • Stir in ~25 oz spaghetti sauce, remove from heat.
  • Separately, stir together the following for the “white layer”: Cashew cream (or 32 oz Greek yogurt), ~½ cup chopped basil leaves, optional 1 cup shredded parmesan.
  • Assemble lasagna by layering in a 9x13” pan:
    - ½ turkey-tomato sauce
    - zucchini “noodles”
    - ¾ white layer mix
    - zucchini “noodles”
    - remaining ½ tomato sauce
    Dot w/ remaining white layer mix and top w/ ½ cup parmesan (optional).
  • Cover w/ foil and bake lasagna for 50min-1hr or until bubbly/ heated through.
  • Allow to cool ~10 min.

What is the nutrition like for this paleo & gluten free lasagna recipe?

Zucchini (Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium)

Zucchini is rich in many vitamins, but is especially high in vitamin A, which supports vision and immune function. In addition, the zucchini skin is high in antioxidants. Super low in carbs, zucchini is also a great choice for those following a Keto or low carb diet.

Turkey (B Vitamins, Selenium, Zinc)

In addition to being a low fat source of protein, turkey contains significant amounts of B vitamins, selenium and zinc. B vitamins are important for cell and amino acid formation and energy. Selenium supports your thyroid and metabolism. Zinc is vital for many functions, including your immune system.

Tomatoes (Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Potassium)

Packed with antioxidants, tomatoes may help reduce the risk of several kinds of cancer. Bonus tip? Combining tomatoes with healthy fats boosts absorption of tomatoes' phytochemicals!

The tomatoes in this recipe come from the spaghetti sauce. Maximize nutrition by avoiding sauces with added sugar and excess salt. We love the Rao's brand in out house, for both nutrition and incredible flavor!

Mushrooms (B Vitamins, Selenium, Copper, Potassium)

There are of course many kinds of edible mushrooms but the ones you most commonly find in the grocery store are either white button mushrooms or crimini (baby bella) mushrooms. Mushrooms are an excellent source of the antioxidant selenium as well as B-vitamins, copper and potassium.

Onion (Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Antioxidants, Folate, Potassium)

Did you know that the humble onion is actually packed with antioxidants? Antioxidants help protect you from free radicals that cause things like cancer and heart disease. Onions also have beneficial sulfides and polysulfides which may help protect against cancer.

Basil (Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Antioxidants)

A significant source of Vitamin K, basil may help reduce memory loss, blood pressure, and depression. Smelling basil also may help you feel more alert so consider growing some in a kitchen garden to smell whenever you need a boost!

Cashews (Copper, Magnesium, Manganese)

While generally thought of as nuts, cashews are actually seeds. Their nutrients are good for bone health, brain health and immunity. Cashews are also high in antioxidants and may benefit weight loss efforts, blood sugar levels and heart health.

Greek Yogurt (Calcium, Probiotics, often fortified with Vitamin D)

High in protein and nutrients, yogurt is fermented and some yogurt contains probiotics, which are highly beneficial to gut health. Since a lot of yogurt is pasteurized, which can kill probiotics, you'll need to check the label if you're looking for yogurt with probiotics. Like other dairy, yogurt is often fortified with vitamin D which, coupled with its calcium, supports bone health.

What if I want a zucchini lasagna with noodles?

If you're not Paleo and you're looking for a healthy zucchini lasagna with noodles, this recipe is easily adapted! I include a gluten free version that uses rice noodles on our gluten free meal plans and it's quite popular!

Here are the changes you need to make:

1. Use 2 zucchini instead of 4

2. Cook brown rice lasagna noodles according to package

3. Follow the Paleo lasagna recipe, but layer like this:

  • ½ turkey-tomato sauce
  • a layer of brown rice lasagna noodles
  • ¾ white layer mix
  • zucchini “noodles”
  • remaining ½ tomato sauce
  • dot w/ remaining white layer mix
  • top w/ ½ cup parmesan, optional

Can I make this into a keto lasagna?

Yes! The paleo version of this lasagna is already pretty low carb as written. However, there are a few tweaks you can make to further lower the carbs, making this a great keto lasagna:

  • Decrease the veggies: use 2 zucchini instead of 4 and use 1 shallot instead of 1/2 an onion
  • Use 16 oz Greek yogurt instead of 32 oz
  • Reduce parmesan cheese to 1/2 cup

Can I make this into a vegetarian zucchini lasagna?

While I haven't tried it myself, you could easily turn this into a vegetarian zucchini lasagna. All you need to do is omit the ground turkey from the tomato sauce! It will still be plenty hearty with the mushrooms, but feel free to add additional veggies to the sauce if you like. Diced carrots or spinach would work well.

If you'd like to make this a vegan lasagna, simply omit the meat and follow the dairy free cashew cream option.

Is this a good meal prep lasagna?

Yes! This lasagna is great for meal prep.

You can actually make the whole recipe ahead and then wait to bake until the day you plan to serve. Just follow the instructions through step 10 and cover with foil.

On the day-of, let the lasagna sit on the counter for a few minutes so the pan isn't too cold and then proceed with baking!

Tips for How to Freeze Lasagna

Lasagna is also an excellent option for stocking your freezer. Doubling the recipe is so easy and barely takes any extra time. I love knowing I have a hearty meal like this waiting in my freezer for those inevitable crazy weeks when I don't have time to prep!

Here are some tips on how to freeze lasagna:

  • Assemble the lasagna (but don't bake!)
  • Let it cool to prevent freezer burn and prevent heating other items in your freezer
  • Cover tightly with plastic wrap and then foil and freeze
  • I like to use glass, temperature proof containers but you can of course use disposable if you prefer
  • Thaw in the fridge for 24 hours and then bake as normal – make sure to remove the plastic wrap before baking!

What are some other healthy lasagna recipes?

As I mentioned above, my family loves lasagna! Here are a couple of my other favorite lasagna (or lasagna-esque) recipes if you'd like to give them a try:

Eggplant and Grass-Fed Beef Lasagna: With just 7 ingredients, this healthy lasagna is simple enough to make on the regular. Grass-fed beef and thinly sliced eggplant give it a slightly different flavor profile than this turkey lasagna.

Baked Polenta Casserole: Okay this isn't technically a lasagna as it doesn't use any noodles. BUT flavor-wise, it has so much in common with the Italian classic. I use a homemade polenta here instead of pasta so it's naturally gluten free!

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