Hearty like lasagna, but with a gluten-free twist! I had a request come to me last week for an idea using quinoa. I made my “safe” Oodles of Zucchini Noodles Lasagna this week in case this didn’t come out, but the Quinoa Lasagna ended up being delicious! For those of you that have never heard of quinoa it is a great alternative for individuals that are gluten intolerant and/or are trying to lose weight. It offers a large serving of protein and fiber, plus has absolutely no gluten since it is actually a seed, not a grain. However, it is a great option for everyone!
Quinoa originating in the Andean regions of Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, offers our bodies an immense amount of nutrition and health benefits. This superfood is a complete protein, meaning it offers adequate amounts of all the essential amino acids. Quinoa has heart-healthy fats, magnesium, iron, calcium, and phosphorus. It also supplies our bodies with flavonoids and has anti-inflammatory properties. So why not add some quinoa to our diet? The most important trick to quinoa is rinsing it VERY well! Quinoa naturally has saponins that are rinsed away with the magic of water. Saponins are not harmful to us, but they are not very tasty in my opinion. They have a very bitter taste. When rinsed and cooked quinoa has a slightly nutty flavor. It reminds me of a couscous, but much more flavorful. When I first learned about quinoa I didn’t realize it needed to be rinsed and thought I hated it, but it really tastes much different when rinsed. Quinoa is so versatile. You can add it to anything you would add rice or pasta to. You could even use it as a breakfast oatmeal. I have even seen people make cookies with it! I will be testing out more recipes using quinoa soon because it really is so good for us!
- 3 cups of cooked quinoa (see note below)
- 1 zucchini, chopped into little squares
- 12 ounces of shredded cheese of choice
- 1 pound ground beef (or any ground meat)
- 1 cup yellow onions (1/2 medium-sized onion), chopped
- 1 tablespoon basil (preferably fresh)
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon parsley (preferably fresh)
- 15 ounces organic tomato sauce
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- Coconut oil for greasing baking dish
*Note: 3 cups of cooked quinoa = 1 cup quinoa seed, 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of Himalayan salt cooked over medium heat covered for approximately 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Brown ground beef in a large skillet.
- Add garlic and onion and cook for 5 minutes.
- Stir in tomato sauce and tomato paste.
- Add in parsley, basil, oregano, salt and pepper and continue to stir.
- Bring sauce to a light boil, then remove from heat.
- Grease an 8×8 baking dish with coconut oil.
- Put about 1/4 cup of the meat sauce on the bottom of the baking dish and spread it out
- Next place a layer of quinoa
- On top of the layer of quinoa, sprinkle some of the zucchini squares, add a layer of meat sauce and then add a layer of cheese
- Repeat with a second set of layers: quinoa, zucchini squares, meat sauce and then ending with cheese on the very top.
- If you have extra zucchini you can decorate the top or sprinkle the rest on the top
- Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes
- Remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes or until all the cheese is melted.
- Pull out of oven and let set for 5 minutes before cutting and serving