One of our favorite dinner time meals is Lasagna!! Its so creamy, cheesy and delicious. But the older my kids get (and my husband for that matter) the harder it is to get them to branch out and eat any kind of vegetable as a side…. So that’s where my yummy spinach lasagna comes in! Sometimes I even hide other vegetables like pureed carrots, peas etc..but today- just the spinach makes its hiding debut.
Now, they have NO clue that this lasagna has anything healthy at all in it. And they will never know. This has to be our little secret 🙂
I start off by browning my meat. We like pork, so I usually choose ground pork and sometimes mix it with sausage to give it a nice spice. After the meat is browned I add my seasonings, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano etc.
I then add my sauce. Now, I grew up with homemade spaghetti sauce….but I’m not that talented, so we get the Aldi’s brand, and we really like it (any brand will work)! Add that into the meat and let it get nice and warm. While the sauce is warming I start with our secret ingredient…the spinach! Now, if you’re like me and don’t mind a little green leaf in your lasagna, just layer it in between your layers and let it cook that way…but my family can’t see ANYTHING green or “odd looking” in our lasagna or heaven help us. The amount of whining and questions I dodge just by doing this is amazing… Its simple really. I take an entire package of spinach, put it in my blender…with little water and make it green liquid…. I then pour it into the meat/sauce mixture, and whala- no one is the wiser. You can also cook carrots until soft, blend them up and add them to the sauce as well.. Peas work… The spinach and peas change the color of the sauce slightly, but not enough for my family to have any qualms about it
The next important part is to make sure you have gluten free noodles. If you can’t find any (our Walmart does not carry gluten free lasagna noodles) you can buy Polenta and cut it very thin as noodles. It has a different texture, but it works the same, and I personally loved it when I tried it last! There are places to order gluten free lasagna noodles online, I know Amazon carries some and other grocers as well.
Now, to make your lasagna layers. you’ll want to start off by putting a little of the meat sauce mixture on the bottom of your 9X13 baking dish to keep the noodles from sticking. Then layer your noodles, more meat/sauce mixture, and then the CHEESE!! Some people use cottage cheese…. I used ricotta cheese… and it was AMAZING! You’ll want to make sure you get two containers if you want it really cheesy and delicious, because one just isn’t enough 🙂
After you add the cheese (either ricotta or the cottage) add another layer of noodles and then another layer of your meat. Top it with your shredded mozzarella cheese and you’re done. Now, I like to make this early and pop it in the fridge to let the juices soak up through the noodles a little- but if you don’t have time, cover your pan with foil, put your oven on 350° and bake for 45mins- an hour or until your noodles are tinder. If you can let it sit and cool for a little before serving it wont be super soupy on you, but we rarely have the time. My family always jokes with me that its lasagna soup night, because I take it from oven to plate! But its soooo wonderful, and the left overs the next day are even better!!!
Of course I didn’t get a finished picture of when the cheese was oozing everywhere because… we had a meal to eat! But it was pure perfection, and didn’t last long!!!!!!
Gluten free Spinach Lasagna
2 lbs ground meat
2 jars spaghetti sauce
Lasagna noodles (gluten free) or polenta
1 16 oz package fresh spinach
1 16 oz container of cottage cheese or 2 15 oz container of ricotta cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1. brown and season your meat to your liking with the salt, pepper, oregano, basil and garlic. Add your spaghetti sauce and turn down to a low simmer.
2. While the meat is simmering put your spinach in a blender with a dash of water and blend until the spinach is a green liquid. Add to your meat/sauce mixture.
3. Layer a little meat/sauce mixture on the bottom of your 9×13 pan, then layer your noodles, another bit of your meat/sauce and then your cottage or Ricotta cheese. Continue with layers until you run out of meat/sauce and then top with your shredded cheese.
4. Put in your refrigerator until ready to cook or cook immediately covered with foil on 350° for 45mins-1hour and uncovered for 15 mins to brown the cheese (bake until a knife can be inserted through the noodles). Some gluten free noodles take longer to bake.
Let rest so the noodles can soak up the juices!