Mom’s Secret Meat Sauce Lasagna (Gluten-Dairy Free)

Mom’s Secret Meat Sauce Lasagna (Gluten-Dairy Free)

Paleo Cucumber Meat Sauce Gluten-Dairy Free Lasagna

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This was my first time making a gluten and dairy free lasagna. It came out amazingly tasty.

I grew up eating my mom’s homemade lasagna for Christmas and often for New Year’s as well. She took pride made that big casserole. My guess is I gained 5 pounds during that one week every year. Plus, she made my favorite dessert which had prunes, condensed milk, cookies, granulated milk chocolate, and milk.

The entire holiday week was a health disaster for me. I did not know any better (ignorance) and I did not care. I ate like a pig and was ok ‘paying’ for it afterward (gas, bloating, burping, constipation).

Today, I know it better and adjust properly so that I do not feel like crap. Instead, I feel satisfied and respect my body.  I choose to fuel my body with tasty and yummy foods for performance instead of pigging out on foods that will temporarily shut my system down.

Mom always said her secret was the meat sauce. The good daughter here talked mom into giving me the highlights of her meat sauce. Technically, that is the only part of the lasagna mine is similar to her recipe.

Mom's Secret Meat Sauce Lasagna
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time
2 hrs

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Maria Horstmann, MBA, BCFWP, FDN-P
Cucumber 'Dough'
  • 5 medium cucumber, cut lengthwise strips of 1/4 of an inch thick
  • 2 tsp himalayan or celtic sea salt
Mom's Secret Meet Sauce
  • 2 lbs grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 roma tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inc slices
  • 24 oz organic tomato pasta sauce, no sugar added (paste with basil, garlic, oregano is fine)
  • 1 tbsp grass-fed organic butter (ghee or coconut oil)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp * Arisco Complete Seasoning (= mix of sea salt, onion, jalapeno pepper, mashed garlic, red hot peppers, black pepper, chives, parsley, and basil.
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, cut thin
Dairy-Free Ricotta Cheese
  • 2/3 lbs raw and unsalted cashews
  • 1/3 lbs raw and unsalted macadamia
  • 4 pasture raised organic eggs
  • 1/2-1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or juice of 1 large lemon)
  • 2 clove garlic (or 1 tsp of ground garlic)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • himalayan sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Other Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast -- gives a cheese flavor
Cucumbers 'Dough'
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.  During this time, start on cucumber and meat sauce. 

    Wash cucumbers, cut the ends, cut them lengthwise into strips a little less than 1/4 of an inch thick. Perfection isn't a must. Thinner is better than thicker. Sprinkle the salt on both sides of the sliced cucumbers. Place the salted cucumbers on top of paper towels. 

    Once the oven is ready, pat the cucumber to remove extra water. Arrange the slices in a single layer on wire racks (if available) or another container that allows the cucumber 'breath'. Let it bake for 10 minutes. This process will prevent a watery lasagna. Also, go ahead and drop the temperature to 375ºF.

    If you choose to skip this process, you can remove the 'extra' watery sauce later. Be aware it will be a more painful process of using a tool to remove the sauce from the ends of your cooking dish.

    Lasagna Layer 1
Mom's Secret Meat Sauce Recipe
  1. Let's start with the meat sauce. Mom's sauce is amazing because, according to her, of the process--lengthier than average and so worth. 

    Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and let it melt. Add the beef and Arisco, oregano, and basil and let it cook. Keep breaking up the meat with a spatula, until no longer pink. 

    Let it cook until meat dries and slightly sticks to the pan. Add a little of hot water to the pan and repeat this process a couple of more times. 

    While the meat cooks, work on the cucumber 'dough', cut tomatoes and onion, and prepare the nut ricotta.

    Once the meat went through 3 rounds of drying and recooking, add the tomatoes, onion, and pasta sauce. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the sauce simmers, and allow it to continue to cook while you prepare the other components.

    After you see the tomato and onion break down through the cooking process, cover the sauce with 1 inch of water.  Let it the water and sauce boil rapidly with the lid on and this baby will be ready.

  2. * Note on Arisco Complete Seasoning is a kitchen staple in every Brazilian's home. You can find it on Amazon but the price is absurd. If you live close to a Brazilian market, I would be surprised if they do not sell it. Give it a try. You might start adding to any dish you cook.

Nut Ricotta Cheese
  1. This homemade cashew and macadamia ricotta spread is easy, healthy, and fast to prepare.

    Nut Ricotta Cheese
  2. Soak the cashews and macadamia nuts for a minimum of 2 hours in a blow of water with a pinch of salt. Cover the nuts about 2 inches of water. There are benefits for soaking them longer and we can discuss it another time.

  3. Drain the nuts and put all other ingredients into a Vitamix, food processor, or blender. Process until creamy. Add salt to taste. 

  4. Put it in the refrigerator, to stiffen it a little, for an hour or so. If it gets too thick, add a little bit of water and mix. 

Layering Up for Oven and Stomach
  1. Congratulations!  You have done the hard work. Grab a 9x13 casserole dish and let's wrap this baby up!  We will make three layers so calculate to use ~1/3 of meat sauce and nut spread on each layer.

  2. Add a layer of meat sauce.

  3. Cover it up with cucumbers you had baked for 10 minutes earlier.

  4. Spread a layer of nut ricotta on top of the cucumbers.

  5. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast on top of the spread.

  6. Repeat this process three times. Put in the oven for ~30 minutes (reduce the temperature to 375°F.

  7. Check out this beautiful, healthy, and tasty dish.

    Meat Sauce, Gluten-Dairy Free Lasagna
  8.  Enjoy it!

    Paleo Cucumber Lasagna
Mom and I

Me and mom last time I went home (Brazil). I spent 10 days during the Holidays with family.

I sent mom–Celia is her name–pictures of my little masterpiece :-). She was happy to see I took pride and was planning to share with you all her recipe. I felt proud and accomplished. Thanks, mom!

I hope you will enjoy it. I would love to hear comments.

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