Thursday, September 6, 2012

No-Pasta Lasagna

Brigid had pictures of lasagna roll-up on her blog not too long ago, and as I caught up on a week's worth of web, they looked absolutely delicious. On the other hand, I've come to the conclusion that if I don't stop chowing down lots of tasty carbalicious things, it doesn't matter how much work I do, I'm not going to get down a jeans size.

So lots of internet research and contemplation later, I made a no-pasta lasagna, combined from 3 or 4 recipes. Preserved here for easy research, the delicious but not-so-photogenic recipe:

2 pounds ground beef
3 medium zucchini
1 large yellow onion (or the half left in the fridge, and half a new one, leaving you... half an onion in the fridge.)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 green bell pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
(with an extra 1/2 tsp of thyme and 1/4 tsp sage thrown in, because I think this italian seasoning's mix is low on 'em.)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 cup mozzarella, sliced into small chunks (I didn't have ricotta or cottage cheese, and it needed to go before it tempted me to crackers and cheese again.)
2/3 cup feta (okay, maybe 1 cup)
1/4 cup mozzarella (really wild estimate)

First, if you have one of those nifty mandoline slicer gadgets, use it to convert the zucchini to lasagna-noodle-like thin slices. If you don't, use a knife and carefully cut the zucchini into thin ribbons. Swear you need to get a mandoline slicer if you do this again. Put slices into a colander, add a generous sprinkling of salt to the dry-looking slices. Leave alone for at least half an hour, while defrosting the "mince meat".

Come back after the internet distracted you to sopping wet zucchini slices and a puddle on the counter under the colander. Wipe up puddle, poke slices, reassure self that Calmer Half did not stick them under the faucet, they're just sweating that much. Be happy that much liquid is not drowning the lasagna. Preheat oven to 350 F.

Look in fridge that needs to be cleaned out, grab tub of italian-herb-marinated mozzarella that you've already refilled with fresh cheese to marinate twice. Spoon a little olive oil into a pan, because the ground beef from Phillip Mignon (who was an obstinate and annoying cuss of a young steer, ensuring his destination in my freezer instead of a long life with some cows) is so lean that it actually needs extra oil to brown.

While beef is cooking, chop onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Note directions on all recipes with beef say to drain the beef. Laugh. Dump in the veggies, as there's barely enough fat to brown them. Add the seasonings. When onion is translucent and garlic is not quite burned, add in diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Turn off heat. Fork out marinated cheese slices from the tub and put in strainer to drain off brine and oil.

Use more marinade oil to grease a glass baking dish. Layer the still-wet-looking zucchini slices on the bottom, then half the clumpy, dense tomato-coated beef and veggies. Arrange a sparse pattern of mozzarella on top, no piece further than 3 inches from another, then sprinkle a helping of feta over everything. Repeat with rest of zucchini slices, other half of tomato-meat-stuff mixture. Top with another thin pass of marinated mozzarella, then sprinkle feta over whole dish. Follow up with a pass with the parmesan can.

Stick in oven for 45 minutes. When finished, pull out and let rest for at least 5 minutes so the molten cheese can go from flesh-searing to tasty piping hot goodness. Serve, and enjoy.


  1. That's the most 'real world' recipe I've ever read. Wonderful!

    But for me, the 1/2 onion in the sandwich bag in the fridge somehow ends up pushed to the back and forgotten until the next time I use half an onion, put its unused half in another baggie, then discover its mildewed predecessor as I'm digging out the jar of artichoke hearts.

  2. Nice! And not a bad idea... :-)

  3. Take pictures of it and post them with a link to Yabu's place.

    You can win some meaningless bauble or something.

  4. I need to cut and paste the kind of meal.

  5. I really shouldn't have read this just before lunch.

    This sounds absolutely delicious, and is perfect for this time of year. This is going on the table in the next couple of days.