With Eggplant Noodles and Cashew Cream
I know, I know. How in the world can lasagna taste amazing when you take away the noodles and the cheese? But, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with how delicious this Whole30 lasagna tastes. This from the guy who last week said he didn't like eggplant. But... I also said "unless it's covered it in sauce" - which, by the way, is the real reason why this recipe works so well!
This is the perfect kind of dish when serving a crowd. All the ingredients in this recipe are Whole30 compliant. But because it's a baked good, it is technically against the rules. But it's the perfect way to end a round or for a special celebration! It really is healthy comfort food. And a bonus... it's also gluten-free and dairy-free. But it's so good - trust me, no one will care!
What the Heck is Cashew Cream?
It sounds weird. And I was a skeptic. But this stuff really worked! I had heard of cashew cream in the past, but really had no desire to try it. The only reason I chose to this time is because of my desire to come as close to traditional lasagna as possible. And it totally looks, and tastes, like a cheese layer! Just make sure you soak your raw cashews the night before. Super simple to make.
Be Patient. Let it rest.
Now to everybody's least favorite part of the process. Once your lasagna is all done cooking, take it out of the oven, and walk away! The longer you let it rest, the more likely it will hold together when slicing. I would say a minimum of 30 minutes, but a solid hour of rest time is best. Please don't throw tomatoes.
More Recipes Like Whole30 Lasagna
And this is the AMAZING Result…
★ Did you make this Whole30 Lasagna?
Please give it a star rating below! ★
Whole30 Lasagna with Eggplant Noodles and Cashew Cream
- 2 cups raw cashews soaked overnight in 4 cups water
- 2 lbs. lean ground beef
- ½ cup yellow onion diced
- 1 Tbsp. sea salt divided
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- ½ tsp. fennel seeds
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp. garlic minced
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 28 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
- 15 oz. tomato sauce
- ½ cup water
- 1 large globe eggplant cut lengthwise into ¼-inch slices
- 18 oz. frozen spinach
- ¼ tsp. fresh nutmeg
- Soak 2 cups of raw cashews in 4 cups of water overnight.
- In a Dutch oven, add ground beef, onions, 1 teaspoon of salt, and black pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until beef is browned. Season with basil, fennel seeds, and Italian seasoning, and give a good mix. Then add mushrooms, garlic, and remaining 2 teaspoons of salt and cook until juices from mushrooms have evaporated. Add tomato paste, mix well to fully incorporate, and cook for 2-3 minutes. This will help get rid of the can taste. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile – Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a mandolin, slice eggplants into ¼-inch thick “noodles.” Spray two baking sheets with nonstick spray and place eggplant pieces in single layer. Season both sides of eggplant slices with sea salt. Bake for 10 minutes (until tender and beginning to brown) turning halfway through. Remove from oven and allow eggplant to cool. Can be roasted 1 day ahead and refrigerated.
- Make cashew cream – Drain the soaking water. Transfer soft cashews into a blender with 2 cups of new, warm water and puree in a blender until smooth. Set aside.
- Defrost frozen spinach. Drain and squeeze out all liquid (don’t be fooled, there’s a lot). Place in large bowl and break apart thoroughly. Season with a bit of nutmeg and mix well.
- Assemble in a 9 x 13 glass dish. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees. Add a layer of meat sauce (about 2 cups). Then a layer of eggplant noodles. Then gently and evenly spread a layer of cashew cream. Take half of the spinach and break up into an even layer atop the cashew cream. Repeat all steps. Then finish the top with a layer of sauce, and then a layer of cashew cream.
- Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Then switch oven to low broil setting and continue cooking for about 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let rest for at least 30 minutes. Cut with a sharp knife and scoop out with a spatula.
- Soak the Cashews: Make sure to soak them overnight to soften them and make them easier to blend into a creamy consistency. If you forget to do this the day before, you can do a quick soak by covering the cashews with boiling water and allowing them to soak for 30 minutes.
- Cut Eggplant Evenly: Slice the eggplant into even slices to ensure even cooking and to avoid having some slices that are undercooked and others that are overcooked. A mandolin works best.
- Brown the Meat Thoroughly: Make sure to fully brown the ground beef or turkey to bring out the flavors and to cook off any excess moisture.
- Use a High-Powered Blender: If you want a smooth and creamy cashew cream, use a high-powered blender or food processor to blend the ingredients together.
- Let it Rest: After removing the lasagna from the oven, let it rest for 30-60 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together and the sauces to settle.
- Can I use a different type of meat besides ground beef or turkey? Yes, you can use ground chicken, pork, or a combination of meats in this recipe.
- Can I use a different type of nut besides cashews for the cashew cream? Yes, raw almonds or macadamia nuts can substitute for cashews, but the flavor and texture may differ.
- Can I use a different type of eggplant besides regular eggplant? Yes, you can use Italian or Japanese eggplants in this recipe, but remember that the size and texture may differ.
- Can I make this recipe ahead of time and freeze it for later? Yes. Bake the lasagna and let it cool to room temperature before wrapping it in plastic wrap and freezer-safe foil.
- Can I use different vegetables besides eggplant in this recipe? Yes, you can use zucchini or summer squash as a substitute for eggplant, but the texture and cooking time may differ.
- Can I add cheese to this recipe? If you are following Whole30, cheese is not compliant. However, if you are making this recipe as a gluten-free and lower-carb lasagna option, you can add traditional cheese. Keep in mind, cook time and quality may vary as this recipe was developed using cashew cream.