Lasagna Rolls (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free)

This is a comfort food for me that I haven’t had in years because the original recipe I used called for jumbo shells or manicotti, neither of which I’ve been able to find in my local grocery stores in gluten-free form.  They are available on Amazon.com but since I didn’t have any today, I used some lasagna noodles – I tried two kinds, Tinkyada made from brown rice and Explore made from pea protein.  When cooked, they both tasted about the same, like lasagna noodles so in the future, I’ll probably use the Explore because it has a higher protein and lower carbohydrate count.  This is really quite an easy recipe to make.  And you can either use a marinara sauce or the mushroom béchamel recipe given here.  If you wanted to make this a vegan meal, Kite Hill makes an almond milk ricotta cheese which you can use to make a vegan filling.  

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  For the  lasagna noodles mix:

  • 1 pound ground turkey, not turkey breast which will be too dry OR you can use 1/2 pound ground veal or a pound of hamburger.  If you use veal, also add 1/2 pound ground pork.
  • 2 teaspoons ground sage (you’d probably want to use thyme, marjoram, or another herb if you use a different meat)
  • 1/4 cup shredded non-dairy cheese
  • 1/4 cup ground mushrooms (this adds moisture to the mix)
  • 1/4 cup  minced onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I used about a 1/4 teaspoon of each)

Cook 10 (depending on which noodle you decide to use) lasagna noodles per package directions or when the water boiled, I added the noodles and when it came back to a boil, I cooked them for 3-4 minutes, then turned off the heat and covered it for another 3-4 minutes.  Be sure when you remove them from the pot to run cold water over them so that they don’t stick together. (I had to pull apart the Explore noodles since they stuck together in the boiling water.)

For the longer, brown rice noodles, cut them in half so that you have two equal sized pieces from each noodle.  The Explore noodles, I just used a larger portion of the meat to fill each one.  Take approximately 1/4 cup of meat mixture, shape it into a log to fit in the noodle side to side rather than lengthwise.  Be sure that you’ve put a good amount of sauce into your baking dish before you add the rolls because they will stick to the bottom of the baking dish.  Line the rolls up in the baking dish with the ends side of the noodle on the bottom.  Once you have them all in the pan, add more sauce to the top, non-dairy cheese shreds if you like, and bake at 350 degree for 45 minutes if your oven isn’t pre-heated or 30 minutes if its to temperature.

For the Mushroom Béchamel Sauce, put into a saute pan:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6-8 ounces of sliced mushroom, or you can dice them if you prefer
  • 1/4 cup of minced onion
  • 2 diced garlic cloves

Cook until soft, approximately 4-5 minutes.  Stir in:

  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage (again, if you’re using veal or hamburger, use a different herb)
  • 3 tablespoons gluten-free brown rice flour

Let this cook for a minute to get the flour incorporated and then add:

  • 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (anything other than soy)

Cook until the milk gets hot.  This will thicken in the oven as the noodles and meat cook so it doesn’t need to be thickened on top of the stove.

 

Spaghetti and Meatballs (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, sugar-free)

A throwback to my earlier life cooking for my best friend and my son, and sometimes for her parents as well, this recipe holds lots of memories.  The marinara sauce is a remake of my Aunt Jean’s sauce while the meatballs are an off-shoot of my meatloaf recipe.  If you prefer, a jarred sauce works just as well if you have one your family especially likes, and it sure is a lot quicker and easier than making a sauce from scratch.

Marinara Sauce:

  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 bell pepper, any color, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves diced
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 64 ounces of pureed tomatoes
  • 16 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup red wine (or stock if you can’t use wine)
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • fresh oregano, thyme, and parsley (about 2 tablespoons of each)
  • monk fruit powder, stevia, or agave nectar if needed for additional sweetness

In a large skillet, saute the onion and bell pepper for a few minutes and then add the diced garlic and the grated carrot.  Saute until softened, about 3 minutes over medium heat.  Add the red wine and cook off the alcohol.  Add the pureed and diced tomatoes and cook over a low heat, covered, for approximately 1 hour.  Uncover and cook an additional 15 minutes.  Add the fresh herbs along with salt and pepper to taste and the tomato paste.  If needed, depending on your taste, add additional sweetener.  Simmer over low heat until ready to add the meatballs.

Meatballs:

  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 8 ounces mixed mushrooms, pulsed in a food processor until small dice
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs (I used an herb mixture such as Mrs. Dash)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry parsley
  • 1/2 cup sugar-free ketchup (such as Organicsville Agave Ketchup) OR 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 slices of gluten-free bread crumbled

Preheat oven to 400 degrees; grease an 8×10 baking pan with olive oil.  Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until combined but try not to overmix so that the meat mixture stays tender.  I use a soup spoon to measure out the meatballs so that they are all about the same size.  Mine were approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter and the recipe made 24 meatballs.  Bake in the prepared pan for about 45 minutes, in the middle of the oven so that the bottoms of the meatballs don’t burn.  Add the meatballs to the sauce.

Prepare your favorite pasta.  I use the red lentil and quinoa linguine which takes just about 8 minutes to cook and my husband thinks tastes good even though he doesn’t realize its gluten-free and contains protein.  After you drain your pasta, put it back in the cooking pot, add sauce and mix thoroughly.  Serve with the meatballs and feel free to sprinkle some grated mozzarella (non-dairy of course) over the top.

Seafood Pasta Salad (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free)

This is a recipe passed down from my mother and grandmother.  They traditionally made it for our July 4th celebration along with blueberry muffins since usually by early  in July, we’d have fresh peas as well blueberries in central New Hampshire.  They made it with canned salmon, crab and shrimp but these days fresh or frozen seafood is also widely available.  My mother also always made it with the pasta shells for esthetic reasons but you can use whatever type of pasta your family likes.

You can also make it two ways, like the potato salad and the cole slaw, with either a vinaigrette or mayonnaise.  I prefer the vinaigrette since it has a lighter taste, especially in the July heat.

Mix in a medium sized bowl:

  • 6-8 ounces of cooked salmon
  • 4 ounces of cooked tiny shrimp
  • 6-8 ounces of cooked lump crabmeat
  • 6-8 ounces of cooked peas
  • 3 stalks of celery diced, don’t forget to add the leaves as well — they have a wonderful celery taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion, chives, or scallions
  • 2 cups cooked gluten-free pasta [here I’ve found that the quinoa pasta works the best because it doesn’t get all mushy if it sits for a day; I’ve also gotten into the chickpea pasta to add more protein]
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite vinaigrette [I make mine with 1/2 olive oil, 1 tablespoon spicy mustard, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons agave nectar (or 1 teaspoon stevia), and 1/4 cup of water.]; if you need to, you can add more vinaigrette especially if you let the salad sit awhile in the refrigerator since the pasta will absorb the moisture.
  • OR 1/2 cup of your favorite mayonnaise mixed with several tablespoons of cold water [the water will loosen up the mayo and make for a lighter dressing without affecting the taste].
  • Salt and pepper to taste along with some fresh parsley to taste

I like to serve it on a bed of lettuce with some cherry or grape tomatoes as a garnish.  This recipe serves 4.  Delicious!

Pasta and Cheese (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan)

Doesn’t everyone love a good pasta and cheese?  For those of us who are allergic or sensitive to dairy this is one comfort food we thought we’d have to give up forever.  However, today with all the non-dairy cheeses that are available, making a pasta and cheese dish is quite easy to do.  And if you want to lighten it up, substitute cauliflower rice for half the pasta.  You could also use chopped broccoli.  This one is very creamy and luscious.  Here’s how I make it.

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups of non-dairy milk
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • 12 ounces of cheese (Daiya, Kite Hill, etc.)
  • 8 ounces of pasta
  • Topping of cheese or gluten-free breadcrumbs mixed with a fat such as olive oil or your favorite margarine

In a 2 qt saucepan, heat 1 1/2 cups of your favorite milk (I use Tempt hemp milk; its strong flavor holds up to the cheese).  Add 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper and 12 ounces of Daiya Classic Cheese blend or your favorite non-dairy cheese (you want to use grated cheese here).  When milk gets hot, reduce heat to low.  Stir frequently to blend as the cheese melts.

Heat 4 qts water in a large pot.  When its boiling, add 8 oz of your favorite pasta (I used Ancient Grains Supergrain rotini but I often use Lensi Chickpea pasta, or  POW) along with 1 teaspoon salt.  Cook according to package directions, drain.

Grease a 2 qt casserole pan, add cooked pasta and about two-thirds of your cheese sauce.  Stir to mix.  I top it with a couple of slices of Daiya Provolone but you could also use a mixture of margarine (or oil) and gluten-free bread crumbs (my husband’s favorite).  Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 30 minutes.