All the flavors of traditional lasagna (including noodles!) plus a few secret ingredients work together to create the robust flavor profile of this ultimate lasagna.
Lasagna. Garfield’s favorite treat. The ultimate Italian comfort food. And one of my family’s (perhaps yours, too) most beloved meals. Unfortunately, when made in the typical traditional way, lasagna is a major bummer on your blood sugar.
Enter the beauty of Dreamfield’s pasta. Dreamfield’s tastes just like regular store-bought pasta, but it has a special coating that causes you to not digest the majority of the carbs.
For this reason, you’ll notice in the nutrition facts that the carbs look high and, if you’re doing Trim Healthy Mama or keto, that makes this lasagna way off plan. But, because of this coating, each serving (pasta only) yields a mere 5 carbs instead of the hefty amount indicated.
If for any reason you would rather not have yummy pasta, then you can easily sub it for eggplant, spaghetti squash, sliced zucchini, spinach, or whatever you like.
Lasagna Secret Ingredients
Okay, so I’m sharing my “secret” lasagna ingredients publicly for the world to see. So that doesn’t make them very secret (at least not any more!). But there are two things I add to my lasagna that maybe not everyone uses (though I’m sure there are some out there).
First up is the cinnamon. I like to use ceylon cinnamon because it is healthier than the typical saigon cinnamon. That said, saigon cinnamon would also work (this is the kind typically found in most grocery stores).
Cinnamon adds a unique flavor to the lasagna that makes the lasagna a little more irresistible!
Red Cooking Wine
Red cooking wine gives the lasaga a subtle but amazing “tang.” It also boosts the flavor and makes it extra delicious.
Instead of cooking wine, you can use a dry red wine instead. Or you can sub it totally with some beef broth or just omit it.
Low and Slow
The meat mixture in this lasagna has a lot of liquid in it. This is taking full advantage the reducing technique. This is where you add a bunch of liquid then let it simmer for a longish time until most of the liquid has evaptorated. The liquid reduces and the flavor remains. It takes longer than just tossing it all together, but, trust me, it creates amazing flavor!
When I serve this casserole, I keep it very simple and just serve a side of leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, and arugula usually). Top it with a small drizzle of my house ranch dressing and call it good!
If you do not already have a deeper pan to make casseroles like this in, I’d recommend you get one. A regular 9- by 13-inch glass Pyrex dish can work, but there are a lot of ingredients in this recipe which equals a lot of volume!
Therefore, I’d recommend you get a deep dish. Something like a roaster pan will do beautifully. Or you can acquire a special casserole or lasagne pan such as this one.
Alternatively, you can set a sheet pan underneath the baking dish you do have to catch any overflow so your oven doesn’t turn into a huge mess!
I did mention this above, but I wanted this to appear just before the recipe card for those people who don’t read the full article before diving into the recipe.
If you prefer for any reason to NOT use Dreamfields pasta, you can easily substitute it with something else and still glean a super delicious casserole.
Ideas include: sliced eggplant, spaghetti squash, shiritaki noodles, sliced zucchini (or zoodles), and spinach.
TJ’s Ultimate Lasagna
For Meat Mixture
- 1 pound ground mild or hot Italian sausage (make sure it has no corn syrup or other sugar)
- 1 pound ground meat (beef, venison, elk, turkey, chicken, etc.)
- 1 small yellow onion, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 ounces canned crushed or diced tomatoes, drained
- 15 ounces canned tomato sauce
- 12 ounces canned tomato paste
- ½ cup
red cooking wine or beef broth
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon THM Super Sweet
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon mineral salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried fennel seeds (optional)
- 8-10 Dreamfields lasagna noodles OR "noodles" of choice: thinly sliced zucchini, thinly sliced eggplant, spinach, etc.
For Creamy Mixture
- 16 ounces small curd cottage cheese
- 15 ounces Ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded (NOT the green can kind)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- ¼ teaspoon
ground ceylon cinnamon or regular ground cinnamon(optional–boosts flavor)
- 1 teaspoon mineral salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 16 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
- dried or chopped parsley for garnish, optional
- Mix the ground meat, sausage, and onions together in a pan over medium-high heat. Chop up the meat into crumbles with a chop-stir utensil or a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring frequently, until the meat fully browned and the onions are translucent or lightly caramelized.
- Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute. Mix in the remaining meat mixture ingredients and cook, covered, over low heat for 1 to 1½ hours or until the liquid has reduced a bit (this is the flavor boosting process), stirring every 15 minutes or so.
- About 30 minutes before the meat mixture is done cooking, heat oven to 350℉. Prepare a deep 9- by 13-inch glass or ceramic dish by lightly greasing it with avocado oil cooking spray; set aside.
- Prepare noodles of choice. If using Dreamfields lasagna noodles, boil them per the package directions until al dente. Once cooked, drain the noodles then run cold water over the them until cooled down enough to handle.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together all of the creamy mixture ingredients.
- Pick up one lasagna noodle and hold it with one hand over its pot. With the other hand, using your index finger and thumb, wipe off the excess water. Repeat with each noodle as you put it in the dish. Right now, place a layer of noodles in the bottom of the prepared dish with HALF OF THE NOODLES (4 to 5 noodles).
- Spread out HALF OF THE CREAMY MIXTURE on top the noodle layer.
- Carefully spoon HALF THE MEAT MIXTURE over the first creamy layer.
- Sprinkle HALF OF THE MOZZARELLA CHEESE atop the first meat layer.
- Place another layer with the REMAINING NOODLES over the first mozzarella layer.
- Spread the REMAINING CREAMY MIXTURE over the second noodle layer.
- Carefully spoon the REMAINING MEAT MIXTURE over the second creamy layer.
- Pop in the oven for 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle on REMAINING MOZZARELLA CHEESE and optional garnish parsley.
- Return to the oven for an additional 20 minutes or until heated through (it should be about 160℉) and the cheese is melted, bubbly, and possibly a little browned.
- Allow to cool at room temperature for at least 15 to 20 minutes before cutting into 15 squares with a serrated knife.