It’s been a little longer than usual between posts, and all I really have to say for myself is that I. Am. EXHAUSTED!
Seriously, like more tired and run down than I’ve been in a loooong time. Our trip to Colorado was incredible and full of lots of surprises and adventures, but I am still struggling to get back on my regular track since coming home. We have a lot of changes coming up in the next few months, as well as a bit of travel (my sister’s wedding and then Christmas in NYC, and then more in January). So while it has just kind of been nutty the last two weeks… it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down any time soon! It doesn’t help that we both caught a cold after we got home, and spent the whole weekend sick in bed.
That said, this is probably the perfect time to share this next recipe, because it is perfect for a busy schedule and has definitely been a lifesaver lately! This Lasagna Bolognese is dairy free and SO delicious. It does not taste like fake dairy at all – it tastes 100% like the real deal. AND, the best part is that it freezes and reheats amazingly, so you can make a pan of this on the weekend and eat it for meals throughout the month. One pan makes about 4 meals for me and Adam, so I’ve been making this Lasagna and usually a soup or chili recipe every other weekend, and then freezing half of it and just eating them over the weeks that follow.
Meal prep like this is seriously a game changer. If you work long hours and/or have a crazy busy schedule, making something like this lasagna or one of my slow cooker recipes is so helpful to reduce stress. You just pop it in the oven or microwave to heat it up when you get home from work and dinner is ready in like five minutes! Especially as we’re getting into the holiday season, having recipes like this in your back pocket will be key to getting through it all!
Ever since I had to stop eating dairy, I’ve found it so frustrating any time I see lasagna on a menu because I WANT IT but I definitely can’t eat it. And I’ve never had a dairy free version that was not also vegan, which doesn’t work for me because I think the beef is a pretty critical ingredient. So, I was really excited about creating this recipe!
The first time I made this, I just made a regular tomato sauce. It turned out pretty good, but it felt a little lacking. Adam, suggested turning the sauce into a bolognese and that made all the difference in the world!
To get started, grab 2-3 carrot sticks, 2 sticks of celery, and one small white onion and chop them up. I chopped the carrot and celery pretty finely, but if you want a chunkier sauce, you can chop them a little bigger!
Heat up a skillet over medium and add about 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil. Throw your carrots, celery, onion, and 2 minced cloves of garlic into the pan and sauté until fragrant and softened; about 5 minutes.
Add 1.5 lbs of ground beef to the skillet and cook until browned.
Drain the fat from the skillet and add 1/4 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, and cayenne.
Next, pour in two 12oz cans of tomato sauce (plain, with no added seasonings).
Pour in 1/4 cup Italian red wine and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.
Add another 1/4 tsp of salt and pepper, along with 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning and a dash of cayenne.
Stir the sauce and let it simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, cook 9 lasagna noodles according the package instructions and set them aside. Or, if you’re like me, cook 11 noodles and snack on the other two while you’re waiting for the sauce to finish! 😛
Preheat your oven to 375° F.
Grab a mixing bowl and add one 8oz container of Kite Hill almond milk cream cheese.
Kite Hill actually makes a ricotta, which I really wanted to try for this recipe, but Wegmans and Whole Foods are ALWAYS sold out of it, so I haven’t been able to try it yet. That aside, the cream cheese actually does still work perfectly.
Add 1/2 cup Parmela Creamery cashew nut pepper jack cheese, 2 eggs, and 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning to the bowl with the cream cheese and whisk until it’s as creamy as possible. It should end up looking like ricotta cheese, oddly enough!
Stick your “cheese” mixture in the refrigerator until the sauce is done simmering.
Once the sauce is done, ladle a thin layer into the bottom of a greased baking pan.
Lay three lasagna noodles side by side on top of the sauce.
Spoon out some of the cheese mixture on top of each noodle. You’ll only have two cheese layers, so you’ll end up using about half of the mixture on this first layer.
Top that layer with another ladle of sauce, and repeat the previous steps until you get to your third layer of noodles.
When you’re laying down your third layer of noodles, this time, don’t add any cheese (you should be out by now anyway) and instead top with the remaining sauce.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup Parmela Creamery pepper jack cheese on top of the sauce and cover the pan with tin foil.
Bake for 30 minutes covered, and then 10 minutes uncovered.
Let the lasagna cool for about 15 minutes and then take a knife and cut out your squares. I was able to get 15 squares out of mine, which translated to 4 meals for me and Adam, or 8 individual servings.
The last step is the hardest – trying not to eat it all in one sitting so that it actually makes it to 4 meals!! <3
- 2-3 carrot sticks
- 2 celery sticks
- 1 small white onion
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1.5 lbs ground beef
- 1-2 tsp olive oil
- 9 cooked lasagna noodles
- 2 12oz cans plain tomato sauce
- ¼ cup Italian red wine
- 1 T balsamic vinegar
- 1 8oz container Kite Hill Almond Milk Cream Cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup Parmela Creamery pepper jack cheese
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp cayenne
- ¾ tsp Italian seasoning
- Finely chop carrots, celery, and onion
- Heat a skillet over medium and add olive oil to pan
- Add chopped vegetables along with 2 minced cloves of garlic to the hot skillet and cook until fragrant and softened, about 5 minutes
- Add ground beef to the pan and cook until browned
- Sprinkle in ¼ tsp each of salt, pepper, and cayenne
- Pour in tomato sauce, wine, and balsamic vinegar
- Stir and add another ¼ tsp salt and pepper, along with ½ tsp Italian seasoning and a dash of cayenne
- Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Preheat oven to 375° F
- Cook noodles according to package and set aside
- In a mixing bowl, combine Kite Hill cream cheese, ¼ tsp Italian seasoning, 2 eggs, and ½ cup Parmela Creamery pepper jack cheese
- Whisk until it resembles a creamy ricotta and then refrigerate until sauce is done simmering
- Once sauce is done, ladle out enough to cover the bottom of a greased baking pan
- Lay 3 noodles out side by side on top of the sauce
- Top each noodle with some of the "cheese" mixture (you will use about half of the bowl on this layer)
- Ladle out more sauce on top of the cheese and repeat steps 14-16 until you get to the third and final noodle layer
- Top this layer with remaining sauce (you should be out of cheese by now)
- Sprinkle remaining ½ cup pepper jack cheese on top and cover with tin foil
- Bake for 30 minutes covered, then 10 minutes uncovered
- Let cool for 15 minutes and then cut into squares (I did 3 rows of 5 and that was plenty!)
- Enjoy now or freeze for later!