A few years ago I found out something that was hard for an Italian girl to stomach. The news was like a dagger to the heart. There was no sugar coating the truth.
My body hates carbs. ::shudder::
My love for bread, pasta, and sweets was going to have to take a lonely drive to nowheresville. Yes, I get to visit from time to time on holidays, but sometimes these visits are such a tease! The one day visits sometimes lead to weekends, then long weekends, so on and so forth. You get the picture. It is hard to give up what you truly love.
So instead of giving up my favorites, I have learned to make substitutions that allow me to eat what I love but still remain pretty faithful to my lower carb way of eating.
I know low carbohydrate diets are not for everyone and I think that is okay. We all must do what works best for us. For me, reducing sugar and carbohydrates allows me to feel awesome! Goodbye bloating, fatigue, heart palpitations and diabetes risk! Hello happiness, health and new delicious recipes!
So without further ado, I give to you….
Low Carb Italian Sausage & Vegetable Lasagna
- 4 medium sized green or yellow squash, cut lengthwise to make “lasagna noodles”
- 1 bell pepper, sliced
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
- olive oil
- 5 cups of homemade or store bought marinara sauce
- 32 oz of ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- 4 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
- 5-6 links of Italian sausage, casings removed
- 6 oz of ground turkey or ground beef
- 1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 1/2 tbsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (or more if you like heat)
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat in a large sauté pan. Add sliced onions and peppers to pan, sauté for 5-6 minutes until vegetables are becoming tender. Then add in mushrooms, cooking until mushrooms are fully cooked. Season with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper and 1/2 tsp of granulated garlic (or to taste), then remove from pan and set aside.
In the same pan over medium high heat, add the Italian sausage with casings removed, breaking up with a spatula. Add the ground turkey or beef, combining with sausage, season with 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp granulated garlic, 1 tsp dried basil and 1 tsp dried oregano (or to taste). Cook meat until browned and cooked through. Side aside when fully cooked.
You may cook the sliced squash on the grill, in a grill pan or sauté pan. Brush both sides of squash with olive oil, seasoning with salt and pepper. If using a grill or sauté pan, heat over medium high heat. Place squash evenly in pan in small batches, lightly marking each side before removing from pan.
In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp granulated garlic and 1 1/2 tbsp dried parsley. Mix together until well combined.
To assemble the lasagna, use a large casserole baking dish or your favorite lasagna pan.
Coat bottom of baking dish with 1/2 cup marinara sauce. Layer squash as you would lasagna noodles onto bottom of pan (you will need to divide squash into two layers). Spread 1/2 ricotta mixture over squash layer, topping ricotta with 1- 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese. Then add your sausage mixture. Next add 1-2 cups of marinara sauce.
On top of the sauce, add the vegetables (onions, peppers and mushrooms). Next, add the remaining ricotta cheese. You may reserve 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture to add on top of the lasagna at the end before placing in oven.
After the ricotta layer, place your 2nd later of squash. Top with marinara sauce and 1 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese. At this time you can separate the reserved ricotta cheese and place dollops on top of the lasagna.
Cook for 35-45 minutes, uncovered until bubbling and cheese has melted. Turn oven to broil, allowing cheese to become slightly browned in color. Remove from oven and allow to sit for at least 10-15 minutes.
Pour additional marinara sauce on top and enjoy!!!