Kevin is Italian. So you can imagine that being allergic to pasta has been really difficult for him. Luckily, I had a couple tricks to implement on Italian night, and we had a fantastic lasagna dinner. The biggest difference in cooking with rice pasta (which is what I substituted) was that it didn’t bake up as beautifully as I would have liked. The taste was spot-on, but the pasta breaks a little more easily, so scooping out that picture-perfect piece just wasn’t happening. (As a blogger, it made me want to cry, but dinner was a HUGE hit, so that more than made up for it.)
There are two main changes to make to your traditional recipe when making a gluten-free lasagna. The first is obviously, the pasta. The second is – ricotta cheese is out. There’s wheat starch added as a “stabilizer”, so it’s definitely not on the diet. I think I was a lot more upset about the cheese than the pasta, to be honest. So I bit the bullet and subbed cottage cheese instead… but read on, and I’ll tell you my trick for your guests not to notice the difference!
- 1 box gluten-free lasagna noodles (I used rice noodles)
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella (check the ingredient list to ensure it’s gluten-free)
- 1 – 24 oz. jar of your favorite pasta sauce (check the ingredient list to ensure it’s gluten-free)
- 1 – 16 oz. container of cottage cheese
- ½ cup chopped onion (about 1 small onion)
- 1 clove garlic, chopped or pressed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- Brown your beef in a skillet with the onion, garlic, and any other seasonings you like to add (I just use a little bit of salt and pepper – it’s not strictly necessary, it’s just whatever your family likes).
- Separate out ½ cup mozzarella to top your lasagna. Mix the other 2½ cups together with the cottage cheese. (When it melts – this will totally change the texture of the cottage cheese. We didn’t even miss the ricotta by doing it this way.)
- In a 9×13 pan, begin layering your dish. Add a thin coat of sauce to the bottom of your pan to prevent sticking, then layer uncooked pasta (I do 4 noodles wide, and you can overlap them slightly if you need to), a light layer of sauce, half your beef mix, then half your cheese mix. Repeat the layers again, then top them with noodles, the rest of your sauce, and the ½ cup mozzarella you set aside initially.
- Cover your dish with tin foil and bake for 1 hour.
Visually, you could tell the difference on the noodles, they are darker in color and they puckered a little on top, which I’m not used to. So while it was a little bit less beautiful than what I’ve baked up in the past, it was still a dish that the whole family could enjoy without feeling like we all had to give up the wheat. It’s a definite win if I can successfully serve it at an Italian table!