Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Low Carb Lasagna

I have always liked lasagna, but I never realized how much until I started making a low carb version of this classic dish!  It is so simple, and there's no dealing with those wacky lasagna noodles, either cooked or uncooked.  I've made this a handful of times now and felt it's finally time to share my new favorite recipe!

The inspiration from this recipe once again came from my favorite low carb website, Linda's Low Carb Menus & Recipes.  Her lasagna recipe uses an 8x8 baking dish and makes 6 servings.  Today I wanted to make a bigger version.  I love the leftovers just as much as eating it for dinner!  I used a 2.75 qt casserole dish, however one slightly larger would work as well as this comes out as a pretty thick lasagna.  Mine also made 8 servings although I think it could easily do 9 or 10 servings especially if you use a larger baking dish.

I think the ingredient that makes this lasagna taste so darn good is the Italian sausage.  I used a mild version but it still just gives the flavor a special kick that other regular lasagnas are lacking.  The most unique ingredient is what puts this lasagna in low carb status.  Instead of using pasta between the layers of the lasagna, I use thinly sliced oven-roasted deli turkey breast.  When I first saw Linda's recipe using the turkey breast I was intrigued.  I was also really unsure about how that was going to work out, but it's fantastic.  The turkey really works well with all the other flavors in the lasagna, and it also does it's job of providing a separation between the layers.

Low Carb Lasagna

  • 1 lb ground beef (I use ground chuck)
  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1 cup tomato sauce*
  • 1 15 oz container of Ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of wilted spinach leaves (about 3 cups fresh)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 9 thin slices of deli turkey breast
  • 8 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 grated Parmesan cheese
*I use Hunts Garlic and Herb tomato sauce.  It comes in a large can and is only 5 net carbs a serving (1/2 cup).  It's the most affordable low carb tomato sauce I have been able to find at the store, and it's also quite tasty!  You could make your own sauce or use any sauce your prefer, but note that you will have to adjust the carb count accordingly!

Directions:  Brown ground beef and Italian sausage together in a large skillet until done.  Drain grease and return to pan.  Stir in tomato sauce.  In a separate pan with lid wilt spinach leaves in 1/4 cup of water.  Drain any excess water and allow to cool slightly.  Mix Ricotta cheese and eggs in a bowl until blended.  Stir in pepper, garlic powder, and spinach.

Layer the lasagna in at least a 2.75 qt casserole dish in this order, from the bottom:
  • 3 slices turkey breast
  • 1/2 meat mixture
  • 1/2 Ricotta mixture
  • 1/2 shredded Mozzarella
  • 3 slices turkey breast
  • remaining meat mixture
  • remaining Ricotta mixture
  • 3 slices turkey breast
  • remaining shredded Mozzarella
  • grated Parmesan on top
Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 40-45 minutes.  Let stand for at least 5-10 minutes before slicing to serve.  

 Left:  Lasagna before going into the oven      Right: Lasagna resting after baked

The lasagna can be baked immediately or covered and stored in the fridge or freezer.  I prepared it early in the day and put it in the fridge until ready to bake for dinner.  I have also prepared this before and left in the freezer for several days until I wanted an easy dinner!  However, if you do freeze it, move it to the fridge the day you are going to bake it to allow ample time to thaw.  Also leave it on the counter for about 30 minutes before baking it to allow the casserole dish time to adjust to a warmer temperature.  Also, as hard as it might be, don't skimp on the resting time once the lasagna is done baking.  Not only does it allow the lasagna to cool slightly so it's easier to eat, but it helps the lasagna to hold its shape better once it's cut into servings.

For 8 servings, this lasagna is 8 net carbs a serving.  If you made it into 9 servings it would 7 net carbs, and if you wanted to even make it 10 smaller servings, it would only be 6 net carbs a serving!  This dish would be perfect for having friends over for dinner and paired with a great salad it's a fantastically filling and delicious low carb meal.  I would bet even non-low carbers would like this spin on lasagna!

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