No Noodle Lasagna

Here is a way to lower carbs, add in vegetables and create a gluten free lasagna  – take the noodles out and exchange for sliced butternut squash.  This recipe came about when I purchased butternut squash instead of spaghetti squash.  Once again I put into practice thinking outside of a recipe idea and utilized what I had on hand.  In the end I was happy with the results;  Jeff said he would eat it again and so it made the cut for the site.

No Noodle Lasagna
Lowering the carbs by removing the noodles and replacing with sliced butternut squash
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  1. 2 medium cooked butternut squash, cut in slices
  2. 1 lb ground turkey
  3. 1 jar Spaghetti or Marinara Sauce
  4. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  5. 1 tsp ground oregano
  6. 2 cups of shredded mozarella cheese
  7. 1/3 cup of parmesan shredded cheese
  1. Using the oven, Instant Pot or crock pot cook squash (See cooking instructions below.) Let cool. Peel. Use the long end and slice in 1/4" slices. (Save the hollow end for another recipe). Place in layers on paper towel to absorb moisture)
  2. Brown ground turkey. Add in sauce, cinnamon and oregano and combine. I know the cinnamon seems odd but it tastes good.
  3. Preheat over to 375 degrees.
  4. Spray small casserole with olive oil spray (if using a 9X12 pan - this recipe should be doubled). Also spray a piece of aluminum foil that will cover your pan. This will help the cheese not stick during baking.
  5. Putting lasagna together - Use all ingredients except parmesan cheese. There are three different layers: the saucy meat, the squash slices and the mozarella cheese.
  6. Place a layer of the saucy meat, then the squash, then half of the mozarella cheese. Repeat.
  7. Cover with foil and place in oven for 30 minutes.
  8. Change oven to broil.
  9. Uncover the lasagna and sprinkle parmasan cheese on top. Place under the broiler. Watch carefully as the top of the lasagna browns - this usually takes less than 5 minutes.
  10. Now the hard part: Take out of the oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes before cutting.
Deliciously Inspired

I used to make my own sauce all the time but there are some good pasta sauces out there that can save on effort and time.  Costco carries a good organic sauce.  The one pictured above is from Sprouts and is very good but not organic.

Regarding the butternut squash – here are some resources on how to cook ahead of time.  You could try slicing and putting in the lasagna without cooking but I would be concerned about the moisture from the vegetable making the casserole soggy.  Packaged and in the refrigerator for another dinner later in the week – an egg roll stuffing mixture.   

Cooking butternut squash in Oven – Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.   Cut squash in half lengthwise,  Using a spoon scrap out seeds.  Place butternut squash halves on a large baking sheet flesh side up. Brush the flesh side of each squash with a little olive oil.  Roast 50 to 60 minutes, until flesh is fork-tender. 

Cooking butternut squash in Crock Pot

Cooking butternut squash in Instant Pot

Dinner is Served

Please let me know if you have any questions or I need to provide more clarification.




Valentine’s Ideas

Here are some simple ideas to help celebrate those you love this Valentine’s Day…

1.  Set a pretty table.  Don’t have napkin rings – pink or red ribbon will work just as well. 

Valentine's Day - Place Setting

2. Make homemake lasagna(s) – One with meat – one vegetarian – Recipe Here

Valentine's Day - Lasagna

3. Buy a ready made treat and add a homemade gift card

Valentine's Day - Trader Joes

Let’s all remember to sprinkle kindness valentines to those we come in contact with.  Reach out – you never know what it will mean to another. 


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