Friday, August 23, 2013

Low-Carb Lasagna

Over the course of my life, I have been a variety of sizes and have done almost every diet in the book. I have done fad diets, tried supplements, and have even invented my own "version" of diets. Throughout it all, the quickest and easiest way I have found to loose the pounds was the Low-Carb diet. I have also found that, if I don't enjoy some of my favorites while on a "diet", I certainly am not going to stick to it. It is vital to make it a lifestyle to see prolonged benefits!

 Here is a quick snapshot of me before and me after a 40 pound weight loss ...
Which one in the before is me and which is Dora?
For those of you who shudder at the words "Low-Carb"...I may know exactly what you are thinking. You may be thinking 1 of two things....1) that it isn't a healthy way to lose weight or 2) that you can't live without your carbs. I am here to let you know that it can be done in a healthy way and that, with a few alterations, you can enjoy some of your favorite dishes without all of the carbs.

How to do low-carb in a healthy way.
I am a carb addict and to top it all off...I am a vegetarian. This means that the Dr. Atkins way of dieting does NOT work for me. I can not sit down with a plate of beef topped with bacon and melted cheese. I had to make alterations and edits to lose weight. I dropped 40 pounds in just a few months with my healthy version of the low-carb diet. You can read more about it HERE and get a few of my favorite low-carb vegetarian soup recipes HERE.  I also eat organically which means the low-carb snack bars and products on the shelves are a NO GO for me! Those are chock full of additives and chemicals.

You can't live without carbs?
Can you tell it isn't pasta under the eggplant?
YOU CAN! You just need to learn to make your favorite dishes in a new way! Have you tried using Spaghetti squash in place of spaghetti? Check it out HERE! Have you tried whipped cauliflower in place of mashed potatoes?  You can also still enjoy your carbs in limited amounts! I take a day off every 10 days and it is important to do this. If you totally restrict yourself, you won't make it a lifestyle and the weight loss will come back. Once the weight is off, you can add healthy carbs back into your diet (or enjoy a donut every once in a while).

This brings me to a recipe for one of my favorite dishes...LASAGNA! Yep, on a low carb diet-you can still enjoy a BIG plate of messy lasagna! It may not be your momma's version of lasagna but it is fantastic and a bit more of an adult "gourmet" version! This recipe can be made both vegetarian and carnivore style and is a crowd pleasure for low-carb eaters and anyone who appreciates a large plate of comfort food!

This is a vague recipe as it is just a guideline for how to make the dish. You can add, edit, and alter in any way you see fit! It is all about making it the way YOU enjoy it. The closer you make it to your traditional favorite...the more likely you are to make it a permanent replacement!

  • Zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant. Any combination or just one
  • Canned Italian Style Tomatoes - Blended (I use organic canned tomatoes vs. jarred pasta sauces. They provide a fresh flavor and no added junk)
  • Protein (I omit this but you can choose chicken, beef, or pork. The idea is to make it close to your traditional lasagna!)
  • Cheese (A layer of rich ricotta cheese is an upgrade! To make it creamy and fantastic- blend a 1 pound tub of ricotta with 1 whole egg.  Again, the idea is to make it like your favorite so use any cheese you would like)
  • Your Favorite additions: onions, mushrooms, spinach, peppers, etc.

  1. Preheat Oven to 375 degrees
  2. Make your "pasta"! If you have a mandolin, this will make things easier. If you do not, don't fret! Simply cut the end off your zuchini and stand it on the cut end. Cut it into thin slices. The cuts will resemble lasagna.
  3. While organizing the rest of the dish, place your "noodles" on a cooking sheet and spray lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes on each side. Some folks do this in a skillet and some skip it altogether. I like adding the flavor into the veggies.
  4. If you are adding some carnivorous meat, prepare it however you like it best! 
  5. Remove your "pasta" from the oven and begin assembling.
  6. Layer your ingredients as you would like!Start with a thin layer of the blended Italian style tomatoes. Then proceed with your "noodles", veggies, protein, and so on. I like to switch up the directions of my "noodles" on each layer. It gives the dish a bit more stability when you cut it.
  7. Bake this just as you would your traditional lasagna. Typically about 45 minutes to 1 hour. 
  8. ENJOY!
If you have favorite low-carb swaps...I would love to know about them! It only takes a few great alterations to make a healthy meal that is low-carb, HEALTHY, and enjoyed by all.

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