I mostly gave up all wheat and grain products about 3 years ago (um, you still need to celebrate birthdays people!). For the most part, I haven’t looked back because I feel so much better. It’s pretty easy to find substitutes for crackers (cucumber rounds, red peppers, vegetable crackers), but living without pasta can get a bit difficult. I found ways to use vegetables for spaghetti, but often missed a big ol’ pile of lasagna. That is until I used butternut squash as the lasagna noodles. If it is sliced thin enough, you don’t even notice it. You get to enjoy your lasagna and not roll around the next day with joint pain, puffy fingers, and a headache (seriously, no one likes a wheat hangover!).
Don’t worry, this is super easy and you can pick up a handheld mandolin for super cheap. If you’re trying to cut down on carbs, increase your vegetable intake, or are gluten intolerant, you’ll be super pumped to get your hands on this lasagna. You won’t regret it!
- 2 medium or 1 large butternut squash
- 1 bunch swiss chard (spinach or kale would work too), blanched
- 32 ounce container ricotta (or make your own)
- favorite lasagna sauce/filling (I prefer a Bolognese)
- 2 cups mozzarella
- 2 cups aged Asiago
Peel your butternut squash. Slice in half lengthwise. This might require you rearing back and hacking the knife into the middle of the squash and then beating it on the cutting board until the knife runs through. Hey, that’s at least what I do! Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Cut each half in half again crossways to make two smaller pieces.
Now get to slicing–CAREFULLY–with the mandolin (these things can take a fingertip off in a skinny minute!).
Place your slices on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or so, flipping once about 1/2 way through. You want them to be soft and to release some liquid, but not be mushy. They’ll cook more later.
Place a bit of your sauce (Bolognese–you won’t be sorry!) in the bottom of your casserole dish.
Layer your slices in a single layer, overlapping slightly. Spoon about 1/3 of the ricotta on top. Layer 1/3 of the swiss chard. Spoon about 1/2 of your sauce (Bolognese!) on top. Layer again with squash slices, ricotta, chard, and sauce (Bolognese–are you getting the hint?). Repeat one more time. Top with cheeses.
Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and the cheese is just starting to brown.
Practice all restraint and patience to avoid cutting immediately as it is molten lava right out of the oven and will burn the bejesus out of your mouth. I speak from experience. No throwing your head back, rolling the molten food around in your mouth, and huffing while trying to exclaim explicatives and laughing at yourself. You. Can. Do. This. Just wait. Your patience shall be justly rewarded, I promise!
Slice after about 10 minutes and dig on in. No blistered mouth in site….just eye rolling and a happy stomach!