Whole30 Lasagna with Eggplant Noodles and Cashew Cream

Whole30 Lasagna

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.

 

Slice of lasagna on white plate.

 

More Recipes Like Whole30 Lasagna

 

The Process

Raw cashews soaking in bowl of water.

Soak 2 cups of raw cashews in 4 cups of water overnight.

 

Uncooked ground beef in Dutch oven, topped with diced onions, salt, and pepper.

In a Dutch oven, add ground beef, onions, 1 teaspoon of salt, and black pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until beef is browned.

 

Browned ground beef topped with dried spices.

Season with basil, fennel seeds, and Italian seasoning, and give a good mix.

 

Ground beef topped with chopped mushrooms and minced garlic.

Then add mushrooms, garlic, and remaining 2 teaspoons of salt…

 

Ground beef and mushroom mixture in Dutch oven.

…and cook until juices from mushrooms have evaporated.

 

Ground beef and mushroom mixture topped with tomato paste.

Add tomato paste…

 

Ground beef, mushroom, and tomato paste mixture in Dutch oven.

…mix well to fully incorporate, and cook for 2-3 minutes. This will help get rid of the can taste.

 

Tomato sauce in Dutch oven.

Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

 

Slices of eggplant on cutting board with mandolin.

Meanwhile – Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a mandolin, slice eggplants into 1/4-inch thick “noodles.”

 

Slices of eggplant on baking sheets in oven.

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.

 

Raw cashews and warm water in blender.

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.

 

Defrosted chopped spinach in fine mesh strainer, seasoned with salt and nutmeg.

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.

 

One layer of tomato sauce in casserole dish.

Assemble in a 9 x 13 glass dish. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees. Add a layer of meat sauce (about 2 cups).

 

Layer of cooked eggplant noodles in casserole dish.

Then a layer of eggplant noodles.

 

Layer of cashew cream in casserole dish.

Then gently and evenly spread a layer of cashew cream.

 

Layer of spinach in casserole dish.

Take half of the spinach and break up into an even layer atop the cashew cream.

 

Second layer of tomato sauce.

Repeat all steps. Then finish the top with a layer of sauce, and then a layer of cashew cream.

 

Uncooked lasagna baking in oven.

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.

 

And this is the AMAZING Result…

Removing one slice of lasagna from casserole dish with spatula.

 

 

★ Did you make this Whole30 Lasagna?

Please give it a star rating below! ★

Slice of lasagna on white plate.

Whole30 Lasagna with Eggplant Noodles and Cashew Cream

This Whole30 lasagna recipe is some of the best you will ever eat. The noodles and cheese have been replaced with eggplant and cashew cream.
4.75 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Resting Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 16
Calories: 223kcal
Author: Gary White

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw cashews soaked overnight in 4 cups water
  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion diced
  • 1 Tbsp. sea salt divided
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 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
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 large globe eggplant cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
  • 18 oz. frozen spinach
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh nutmeg

Instructions

  • 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 1/4-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.
  • Remove from oven and let rest for at least 30 minutes. Cut with a sharp knife and scoop out with a spatula.

Nutrition

Calories: 223kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 712mg | Potassium: 909mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 4135IU | Vitamin C: 11.9mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 4.8mg

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13 Comments

  • Reply
    Kim
    March 18, 2018 at 6:09 am

    I’m impressed! This looks so yummy – can’t wait to try it!

  • Reply
    Kaitlin
    July 24, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    Hello! Planning to make this, and I’m considering either making a smaller dish (1/2 the recipe) or making it all and freezing half. Did you happen to freeze any of it? I’m wondering how it would hold up. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Chef Gary
      July 24, 2018 at 3:39 pm

      Hmmm… We did not freeze any of it either time we cooked it. Quite frankly, we ate every bit of it! Please let us know how it goes.

  • Reply
    Kaitlin
    July 26, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    4 stars
    Thanks for getting back to me! I made the entire dish, and it’s delicious! The prep time was definitely more than 10 minutes for me, but it was worth it. A few notes – I got 2 eggplants, but only used 1 (maybe my mandoline slices too thin or my eggplant was larger). Also, I think I accidentally bought roasted cashews, so I have a feeling my cashew cream came out slightly different, but it was still very good and toasted up like cheese (and i have some leftover). I made this lasagna for me and a traditional lasagna for my boyfriend – he actually couldn’t tell which was which before biting into them. With all of that being said, mine didn’t stay in perfect square forms when serving, but that is probably due to the errors i mentioned here. I won’t be freezing it just because I don’t think it will hold up. But wow, it really compares to “real” lasagna! Excited to have leftovers for a few days and pretty much end my whole30 with this!

  • Reply
    Andrea
    August 28, 2018 at 8:46 am

    5 stars
    LOVED this recipe! I tried it last night with some tweaks like on the herbs, plus I forgot to get spinach and I used only passata instead of combined tomato products. I found it to be a lot of work but 100% thought it was worth the time and effort! I was so surprised and impressed by the cashew cheese even after nearly goofing that up too. (I forgot to pre-soak my raw cashews and had to resort to a rapid-soak method. Then, I found out that I didn’t buy enough raw cashews, but another rapid-soak method of a few roasted cashews did the trick.) Maybe next time I’ll be better prepared instead of one huge hot mess. Thank you for this awesome recipe!!!

    • Reply
      Chef Gary
      August 29, 2018 at 12:31 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    Jill
    January 5, 2019 at 11:32 am

    I plan to make this recipe tomorrow for a holiday party in 2 days. How would it come out if I bake it tomorrow then heat it up the day after?

    • Reply
      Gary
      January 5, 2019 at 11:57 am

      I think that would work just fine. I tend to like lasagna better the second day anyways.

  • Reply
    Jilll
    January 8, 2019 at 9:09 am

    The flavor was amazing! Tasted very similar to your typical lasagna just not as heavy. Only thing I noticed is that it was a bit soupy and the presentation was not as enticing as a normal lasagna.

    • Reply
      Gary
      January 8, 2019 at 10:30 am

      Thanks for giving the recipe a try and the feedback, Jill!

  • Reply
    Becky
    January 21, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    5 stars
    I’ve never been a fan of eggplant before but decided to try this as I’ve given up pasta. So glad I did! This has an amazing flavor! I highly recommend it!

  • Reply
    Megan
    January 27, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    5 stars
    This sounds wonderful. Planning to try it this week. Does anyone have any recommendations for sides? We are doing a lifestyle change (not diet lol) similar to Whole 30 so no grains. Otherwise, I would do garlic bread.

    • Reply
      Gary
      January 27, 2019 at 10:26 pm

      We served it with a tossed salad with our favorite salad toppings.

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