Brown Rice Pasta Lasagna

When I was a child one of my favorite meals my mom cooked was her lasagna.  It was good all year round but my happy memory is when I would come into the house on a cold winter California day from school and smell this dish in the oven.  As I began cooking for my own family I appreciated the ease of this recipe.  So I’ve tweaked it a bit for me since I don’t eat much meat these days but am also including how I make it for my meat eating-gluten-free husband.

I use Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Pasta which makes this lasagna a little different because it uses rotini and not the long traditional lasagna noodle.  Serve with side salad and you are good to go.  Remember dishes like this are always extra good the next day.

brown rice pasta lasagna 4 x 6

Brown Rice Pasta Lasagna

2 cups              Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Pasta
1 jar                  Marinara Sauce – I like Paul Newman Brand
2 cups              Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
1- 1/2 cup        Ground beef or turkey sausage – Meat Version
1/2 cup             Trader Joe’s Vegan Chorizo  – Non Meat Version
2 cups               Mushroom, sliced  – Non Meat Version

Prepare and 8 x 8 square pan or a 10 X 6 oblong pan with vegetable spray.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brown meat or meat alternative – drain grease if needed
In a bowl combine meat and sauce and combine well.  Set aside.
For non meat version – saute mushrooms in a skillet sprayed with vegetable spray.  This will give the mushroom a meat like texture and remove some of the moisture so the lasagna isn’t soggy. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.
Bring a large bowl of water to a boil.  Add pasta, stir often for about 8 minutes.  This is a reduced cooking time listed on the package but the pasta will finish cooking in the oven.  Then drain and rinse under cool water.   Pat with paper towels to get as much of the moisture off the noodles.

Now you are ready to assemble..
First Layer – Place half of the meat sauce in prepared pan and spread evenly.
*Non-meat version – Add a layer of mushrooms on top of meat sauce layer.
Second Layer  – Place half of the pasta evenly over the meat sauce
Third  Layer – Spinkle half of the cheese over pasta.
Repeat layers
Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes covered.
Remove foil and bake for 15 additional minutes
To crisp up the top – Turn broiler on low and watch very carefully.  This will only take a few minutes for it to get golden brown.
Now is the hardest part in our family…Let rest on a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before cutting into.

4-6 Servings

Note:  For a 9X11 pan – double ingredients.

Here are the meat alternatives I use.  I have found the Lightlife Smart Ground Crumbles at Fry’s Marketplace.  The Soy Chorizo is a Trader Joe’s product.

Meat Alternatives