I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to try this out. I really don’t. But now that I’ve figured out a dairy free lasagna recipe, I foresee us eating a LOT of lasagna this winter season! Which is a good thing (wink).
Now you may be thinking dairy free lasagna? How? Why? Awwwhailno! But I’m here to tell you that you CAN leave it out and still make a delicious meal.
To tell you why dairy free lasagna is such an amazing discovery in our house, I need to give you a little background about my husband. Tom is lactose intolerant, but he hasn’t been all his life. It’s one of those things that’s become more pronounced as he grows older. And shortly after we got married, it became apparent that any trace of dairy (sour cream, cream cheese, cow’s milk, cream-based soups, and lactose-rich cheeses) was too much. So, we cut them out. Now, I still enjoy 2% milk in my coffee and a scoop of ice cream now and then, but as a family, I avoid fixing meals and dishes that require these ingredients. #1) It’s just not fair to make food that Tom can’t eat and #2) who wants to cook two meals a night??
Despite being one of our favorite foods, lasagna’s been our “no” list for years. I tried to make a meat-and-sauce only lasagna once and I just remember it being a dense, dry mess.
When I came across this recipe from my friend Melissa at The Happier Homemaker, I knew I had to make another attempt at dairy-free lasagna. By swapping a veggie puree for the ricotta cheese, you still get the moisture, spread-able consistency and added flavor, but without the issue of dairy.
To make my veggie puree, I started by chopping and steaming one small zucchini and one bunch of fresh spinach leaves. I drained the water, then pureed the veggies in a food processor. Then I mixed in two eggs, a tablespoon of pesto and just a handful of shredded parmesan and mozzarella cheese (Tom’s okay with these cheeses in small doses, but they can be eliminated altogether for someone with more severe intolerance), and I had a nice mixture to layer between the noodles and meat sauce mixture. I wound up with about 2 cups of veggie puree—the same suggested amount of ricotta. You could probably steam and puree any veggies you like for this dish, from broccoli to cauliflower to kale. (My apologies for not having pictures of this process to share. At the time of cooking, I had no intention of posting this recipe because I wasn’t sure it would work out!)
The results were incredible. This lasagna is so, so delicious. I really think the pesto is what makes this whole dish. The added zest of basil is perfect!
- 1 12oz package of no-boil lasagna noodles
- 48oz of marinara sauce
- 1lb mild Italian sausage
- 1lb ground beef or turkey
- 2 cups pureed vegetables of your choice
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (optional if you don't need a dairy-free recipe)
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese (optional if you don't need a dairy-free recipe)
- 2 tbsp pesto to add to marinara sauce; 1 tbsp pesto to add to vegetable puree
- 2 eggs
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large pan, brown and drain the sausage and ground beef or turkey, then set aside.
- Add 2 tbsp pesto to the meat and mix well.
- Add marinara sauce to the meat and mix until well combined.
- Chop and steam vegetables, then puree in a food processor.
- Combine pureed vegetables, 1 tbsp pesto, eggs, and optional mozzarella and Parmesan cheese if you're not making a dairy-free lasagna.
- Spoon 1 cup of meat sauce mixture in the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking dish.
- Top with lasagna noodles, half of vegetable mixture and ⅓ of the remaining meat sauce.
- Repeat with another layer of noodles, vegetable mixture and ⅓ meat sauce.
- Top with remaining sauce and cover with foil.
- Bake for one hour.
- Let sit for 15 minutes before to serving. It will be very hot!
Now if I could just figure out how to make homemade mac and cheese without dairy…
Have you converted any creamy favorites to dairy/lactose free? Do you have a good resource for dairy-free recipes? I’d love to know! Share in the comments!
Sharing with: Outside the Box / Work It Wednesday / Lou Lou Girls
Great adaptation Emily!
Melissa@TheHappierHomemaker recently posted…Gluten Free Brownies
This looks yummy! Pinning
vanessa recently posted…Pottery Barn Inspired By Pinterest – DIY180 – Knock Off Tour Inspired By Pinterest
Thanks Vanessa 🙂
Brad is also lactose intolerant. I’ll have to try this!
You should!! Tom and I both loved it!
Love the name of your blog!! And this lasagna looks mouth watering good, you cracked the code for sure! Following you over from the creative spark link party! Thanks so much for hosting! 🙂
Aww, thanks Cathy! So glad to have you join us 🙂
This looks delicious. Definitely going to try it using a low carb pasta.
Shannon from Bohemian Junktion recently posted…Chicken Tortilla Soup
Thanks Shannon! Low carb pasta would make it that much more healthy 😉
You always bring the most amazing dishes to our party! Thank you. Pinned and tweeted. We feel honored that you take the time to stop by our party. I hope to see you on tonight at 7 pm. We love to party with you! Happy Monday! Lou Lou Girls
Lou Lou Girls recently posted…Fun Family Nite Ideas!
Awww, thanks ladies! And thanks for hosting such a great party each week!
Emily…love this recipe. Shared on my fb page last week.
Thanks for the recipe – I find that it is good sometimes to go on a bit of a dairy cleanse every now and then even if you aren’t lactose intolerant.
Liz recently posted…Why Cook with Cast Iron
Thanks, Liz! Let me know how you like it if you try it!
My husband is also lactose intolerant and I can’t thank you enough for posting a dairy free lasagna alternative!
You’re welcome Katie! I hope you both like it! It’s become a favorite around our house 🙂