Sunday, September 22, 2013


This lasagna recipe has developed by trial and error, and I think I have now put together the right combination of great flavor and ease of making it!  Due to Charlie's dairy allergy, I leave the cheese off of one side of the lasagna, so his portion is just layers of noodles and meat sauce (it's ok because he doesn't even like cheese!). I have found that the key to a great-tasting sauce is simmering it over low heat for about and hour.  If you don't have time to tend to it, you could even toss the sauce ingredients in the slow cooker for a few hours. Ted is not a huge fan of ricotta cheese, so I limit the amount that I use and add more mozzarella and parmesan, and this combination seems to work really well.

We took this lasagna to have for dinner with great friends who recently had an baby.  I made the sauce and then assembled the lasagna in the morning. I just covered it with foil and put it in the refrigerator until we left, and when we got to our friends' house, we just popped it in the oven to bake while we visited with them (and had a couple glasses of wine!). So this can be easily assembled ahead of time, and can even be frozen to be baked later. 

Ted also made some homemade garlic bread with some fresh italian bread from our neighborhood bakery. And we made a mixed green salad with my homemade balsamic vinaigrette.  It was great to catch up with good friends over a meal and meet their sweet little baby!



1 pound organic grass-fed ground beef
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large (32oz) jar tomato basil marinara sauce
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
1 small (6.5oz) can tomato sauce
9 lasagna noodles
12 oz ricotta cheese (~3/4 of a 16oz container)
1 organic free range egg
1/3 cup fresh organic parsley, chopped
2 1/2 cups part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pot, cook ground beef, onion and garlic until meat is cooked through and onions are translucent. Add marinara sauce, tomato paste and tomato sauce and stir until evenly combined. Simmer sauce over low heat for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

2. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions (I boiled mine for 10 minutes). While noodles are cooking, place ricotta cheese, egg and parsley in a small mixing bowl and stir until evenly combined. Drain noodles and let sit until cool enough to handle.

3. To assemble lasagna, coat bottom of rectangular baking pan with a thin layer of sauce (so noodles don't stick to pan). Layer 3 lasagna noodles on top of sauce layer. Place another layer of sauce on top of noodles. Top sauce with ricotta cheese mixture, followed by mozzarella and then parmesan. Top cheese with another layer of noodles, and repeat. 

4. Bake, covered, for 25 minutes. Remove cover and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

What are the nutritional benefits of this meal? Compared with conventional beef, grass-fed beef is lower in total fat, higher in omega-3 fatty acids and higher in vitamins, particularly vitamin E. Onions are rich in quercetin (a type of antioxidant) and vitamin C. Canned tomato products contain more bioavailable lycopene compared with fresh tomatoes, and are high in vitamin C. And cheese is of course a great source of protein and calcium.

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