If lasagna is comfort food that you just can’t quit thinking about, then pull out that lasagna pan because this recipe is going to make you really happy. Even the most carb-addicted, pasta-loving person you know will be hard pressed to admit that this Primal lasagna isn’t delicious. This lasagna is the real deal – minus the noodles, of course.
In place of noodles are thin sheets of celery root, a vegetable with a mild flavor and tender texture that does a fine job of impersonating a lasagna noodle. Extra scraps of celery root are pureed with butter to give the lasagna a creamy middle, no ricotta or béchamel sauce needed. This recipe isn’t completely dairy-free though, because if you’ve been really craving lasagna, then a cheese-free version just isn’t going to cut it. However, if you don’t do dairy no matter what, then you can use this recipe as inspiration to make a cheese-free casserole of meat and veggies layered with celery root (and let us know how it turns out).
But if it’s lasagna you want, then you’ll love these ultra-satisfying layers of roasted tomatoes, ground beef, and mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Comfort food has never tasted so good.
Servings: 4 to 6
Time in the Kitchen: 1 hour 15 minutes, plus 30 minutes to bake lasagna
6 Roma tomatoes, cut into fourths lengthwise
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided (75 ml)
3 large celery root
3 tablespoons butter (45 g)
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pound ground beef (450 g)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (5 ml)
2 tablespoons tomato paste (30 ml)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (30 ml)
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (approximately 90 g)
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (22 g)
Preheat the oven to 325 ºF/163 °C.
Toss the cut tomatoes with 3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (to prevent sticking) and lay the tomatoes on the baking sheet, evenly spaced. Lightly salt and pepper. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the tomatoes are very soft and wrinkled.
Use a paring knife to trim the skin off the celeriac root. Use a larger knife to cut each root into a square shape. Save the scraps that are trimmed off and set aside.
Cut each square celery root into very thin square/rectangular sheets, 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. (3 mm to 6 mm)
Bring a pot of water to a gentle boil. Add the sheets of celery and boil for 3 to 5 minutes until tender and easily pierced with a fork. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to lift the sheets out of the water. Set on a towel to cool.
Cut the celery root scraps that were set aside into pieces that are about the same size. Drop the pieces into the boiling water, cooking until tender. Drain. While still warm, puree in a food processor with the butter until very smooth. Add salt to taste. Hopefully, you have about 1 cup of puree.
In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes then add the ground beef. Season with salt and pepper.
As soon as the meat is no longer pink, stir in the oregano and tomato paste. Continue to cook until the meat is browned. Turn off the heat and stir in the basil. Add more salt to taste if needed.
Preheat the oven to 375 °F/190 °C
Divide up the ingredients so you have enough for each layer, and in an 8×8 (20cm x 20cm) baking dish layer the ingredients in this order:
Celery root sheets
Celeriac puree (use all of it)
Celery root sheets
Celery root sheets
Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 35 minutes until the cheese on top is nicely browned and bubbling. Let the lasagna sit at least 10 minutes before cutting into it.