Gluten Free Beef and Spinach Lasagna

Gluten free lasagna
Photo: Angela Mombourquette

This is not the kind of recipe you embark upon after a rushed workday; it’s more of a Sunday dinner dish because the preparation is fairly time-intensive. The flavour and the comfort-food quality of this rich cheesy lasagna make it entirely worth the effort, though. In fact, the tomato sauce is so delicious you will want to use it in many other dishes — and you can, so keep that in mind.

Also, this recipe yields two pans of deliciousness, because you’ll really want leftovers. Fortunately, this dish freezes well, so after everyone has enjoyed a healthy serving, package the leftovers up in individual containers, freeze them, and enjoy yummy lasagna for lunches through the week!

One great time-saver is to use the type of GF lasagna noodles that don’t need to be pre-cooked. You can actually layer the uncooked noodles in the dish and they cook during the baking process. I used brown rice pasta noodles and they worked just wonderfully. The key is not to overlap them or let them touch (leave a little space between each one) and use LOTS of sauce to soften them while the dish bakes.

900 g extra-lean ground beef
1 796-ml can diced tomatoes
2 156-ml cans tomato paste
2 tbsp dried basil
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 sweet onion
2 tbsp butter
1 796-ml can crushed tomatoes
¾ cup water
1 tbsp gluten free Worcestershire sauce (make sure this is a gluten free brand)
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
8 gluten free lasagna noodles, uncooked
150 g fresh spinach, chopped
1 227-g package mushrooms, chopped
2 cups creamed or lasagna-style cottage cheese
2 large eggs
gluten free cooking spray
6 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated

If your GF lasagna noodles require pre-cooking (check the package), now’s the time to do that, per your package directions. When they’re finished, set them aside in cold water until it’s time to assemble the whole dish.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, sauté the ground beef until fully cooked. Add the diced tomatoes and 1 can of the tomato paste and stir until combined. Season with 1 tbsp of the oregano, 1 tbsp of the basil and the bay leaf; lower heat, cover and simmer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Chop the onion and place in a microwave-safe dish. Add butter and heat in microwave for 3 minutes at full power. Add the crushed tomatoes, 1 can tomato paste, water, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, remaining basil and oregano, salt and pepper. Microwave on high for 10 minutes.

Chop the spinach and finely slice the mushrooms. Microwave these together in a covered casserole (no water needed) at full power, 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. In a separate bowl, combine cottage cheese and eggs. When the spinach and mushrooms have mostly cooled (you don’t want the hot vegetables to cook the eggs), add them to this mixture and stir to combine.

Spray two large 8 x 12-inch (20 x 30-cm) casserole dishes with gluten free cooking spray (be careful about your choice of sprays – check the label). Spread a layer of the cooked meat mixture to cover the bottom of each dish. Place a single layer of uncooked noodles, not overlapping, over the meat sauce.

Add a layer of tomato sauce. Divide the cottage cheese mixture in half and layer each half in each dish. Add a layer of mozzarella and then another layer of noodles.

Cover this with a generous layer of meat sauce (remember you want to cover all the noodles with sauce) and then add another layer of noodles.

Pour and spread all of the remaining tomato sauce on top, and add all the rest of the mozzarella and the parmesan. Bake, covered (with foil, if necessary) at 350F for 35 minutes. Remove covers and bake another 20 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Makes 12 servings.

NOTE: As ever, check all canned and pre-packaged ingredients to ensure that they are gluten free.

Want more delicious gluten free recipes? No problem! There are plenty more where that came from!

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4 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. I use polenta instead of noodles. It makes a wonderful addition to lasagna and is gluten free. Get a long roll of polenta and slice it thinly lengthwise like lasagna noodles. The polenta soaks up the flavour of sauce and has almost a creamy texture. Total yum+!

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