Prior to making this, please be sure to read the notes under the recipe for variations and substitutions.
It’s October and in Texas that means it’s either going to continue on in 90 degree weather or, we just might have one of those special years where we get some chilly weather for Halloween. Always a toss up. We woke up this October morning to 57 degrees and rain! For Texas, this is essentially Christmas morning. It was glorious! Now all I want is a Pumpkin Spice Latte!
I’ve been on a casserole kick for the last month or so – such an easy thing to throw together and make ahead and great fall recipes for the cooler weather I am crossing my fingers for!
Mo and I do not have children – just the sweetest, cutest, most loving French Bulldog in the whole world! But majority of our clients do have children, so on some level we understand how CRAZY life gets when school starts back up in the fall. We find that clients always struggle this time of year to maintain clean eating habits simply for the fact that time suddenly feels it is not their own anymore. One kid needs to be at football practice at 6am, another at school at 8am, a little one at Mothers Day Out at 9:30am and then pick up starts at 2pm and so on… Add to it games, dance lessons, etc. that happen in the evenings and I honestly don’t know how people do it day-in-day-out with frankly, more than one kiddo.
These casserole recipes were meant for YOU! For those who feel like they have no time to make themselves, much less overall health, a priority because of so many things going on and getting thrown at them. I hope you’ve found these to make life a little easier and a way to keep you and your family eating clean in spite of the chaos. It’s always interesting to me – when I eat poorly (i.e. fast food, packaged products, etc.) on a regular basis, sometimes out of what seems like pure necessity – my energy to do ALL of the things that I NEED to do – all of the things that have caused me to believe that fast food is the only option – is completely zapped. I don’t HAVE energy to do those things. And then I’m cranky and tired and that’s not good for anyone. 🙂
So, while I don’t have children, I do understand what it is to be incredibly busy with back-to-back “to-do’s” each day and I just want to encourage you to take good care of the body and mind that has to perform those tasks. I hope these recipes have helped make eating clean more feasible and flavorful in the midst of the chaos.
See? Isn’t Franklin the cutest EVER???
I made this lasagna recipe for the first time a couple of years ago. One of our clients brought us some ground venison and I was using it in everything! We love venison! I think we ate half of the lasagna the first night. 🙂 The leftovers were awesome and made life so easy for the next few days. It has SO much flavor! If you prefer, you can absolutely omit the meat in this recipe altogether and replace with additional mushrooms (see my notes below the recipe) and it will be just as yummy!
This recipe can easily be doubled and you could make two pans or several small – single or double servings sizes – to store in the freezer and heat up in the oven when needed for a quick dinner. It will freeze beautifully! Just skip the last step in the directions and cover in saran wrap and foil, place in the freezer for up to 6 months.
I hope this makes life a little easier for you and eating clean more feasible in the crazy times!
Zucchini Goat Cheese Lasagna
- 2 large zucchini
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1lb ground venison, bison, beef, turkey, etc.***
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 3 medium portabella mushrooms, diced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1, 6oz can tomato paste
- 1, 16oz can low sodium tomato sauce
- ¼ cup red wine***
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 cage free egg
- 1, 6oz container spreadable goat cheese, brought to room temperature
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1, 6oz container goat cheese crumbles
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a deep 9×13” casserole dish with cooking spray or rub well with olive oil and set aside.
- Slice zucchini lengthwise into very thin slices or use a mandolin to do so. Lay all of the slices onto a paper towel (somewhere in the kitchen that it won’t take up prep space) in one layer and sprinkle lightly with sea salt; leave them be while you prep the sauce.
- To start the sauce, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once warm, place the ground meat into the skillet and break up. Cook for approx. 7 minutes – until almost cooked through. Set aside.
- In a separate sauté pan, add the green pepper and onion; cook until softened – approx. 5 minutes; add in mushrooms, garlic and a pinch of sea salt. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn.
- Add the vegetable mixture to the meat and stir in tomato paste, tomato sauce, wine, basil, and oregano. Add a small amount of hot water or broth if sauce gets too thick. Bring to a light boil; reduce the heat and simmer sauce for approximately 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
- While the sauce is cooking, whisk (or use a hand mixer) the egg, goat cheese, and parsley together in a bowl until completely combined. It should have the texture of a thick sauce.
- To assemble the lasagna, spread ½ of the meat sauce into the bottom of casserole dish; then layer ½ of the zucchini slices, all of the goat cheese mixture, and then repeat with zucchini and then sauce again. Cover with foil.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the top with the goat cheese crumbles. Raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees F and bake an additional 5-10 minutes. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.
- You can make this vegetarian by omitting the ground meat and replacing with 3 more portabella mushrooms or 1 medium eggplant. You will simply have one pan for your sauce vs. starting with two.
- You can replace the wine with either a beef stock or if keeping vegetarian, a vegetable stock.
- If you are super pressed for time and need a pre-made sauce – I suggest The Vine – it is my very favorite! Super clean ingredients and very low in sodium! You will simply omit garlic through oregano in the list of above ingredients. Cook the vegetables and meat per above directions and add 1 jar of the sauce directly to the meat/vegetable mixture. Bring to a low boil, add sea salt and black pepper to taste and allow to simmer for 5-7 minutes. Follow remaining steps per above directions.