Zucchini, meat & fillingWhen it comes to diet modification, there is such a thing as “too creative.” When I was vegan half a dozen years ago, I once made a “quiche” out of rice, soy sausage, and tofu.There wasn’t a thing about it that even remotely resembled quiche, other than it being baked in a pie plate.

So can I still call this dish lasagna without the noodles or cheese?Lasagna–or lasagne–is pasta that takes the form of of a sometimes ruffled ribbon (thank you, Mr. Webster–I never before thought about what lasagna and 70s tuxedo shirts have in common until now).But the etymology of lasagna reveals that in Vulgar Latin, the word came from lasania–the actual pot the meal was cooked in. But go back a little farther and we find lasanum, Greek for chamber pot.So I suppose the answer to my question depends on what you think this recipe tastes like.

Regardless of what you call it, this pasta-less dish turned out well and is a great yeast-free, preservative-free, dairy-free, lower-carb, wheat-free entree. Cut into servings and freeze individually. Note that Whole Foods is a great place to get ground meats and sausages that are hormone-free, minimally processed without filler (e.g. corn) and additives (e.g. dextrose). If you want the extra low-carb option, leave off the sauce or use roasted red bell pepper in place of tomato paste.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini, peeled

Filling

  • 1 cup frozen artichokes
  • 12 pitted kalmata olives (in brine)
  • 1 cup non-GMO soft tofu (about 1/2 a package)
  • 1 T fresh basil

Meat

  • 1/2 lb. organic ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1/2 lb. ground spicy sausage (pork or turkey)
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed

Sauce

  • 1 6 oz. can organic tomato paste
  • 3 sundried tomatoes (packed in olive oil)
  • 1 T oil from sundried tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic pressed
  • 1 T dried oregano

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.You’ll need a 9×9 baking dish.

In a skillet brown the meat together and add the onion and garlic.Cook until the meat is done and the veggies are soft.Add the basil and set aside. Take a potato peeler or mandolin set to the thinnest setting and slice your zucchini lengthwise.

In a food processor, blend all of the filling ingredients until smooth.Transfer to a dish and set aside.

Combine all the sauce ingredients in your food processor and blend until smooth.

Place a single layer of zucchini In the bottom of the baking dish. Next add meat mixture, and then the filling. Repeat zucchini, meat, filling. Add a last layer of zucchini and then top with sauce.Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.