Food allergies? Vegan? You can still enjoy lasagna

I’m known for making a mean lasagna. Aunt’s Trudie’s super-delish lasagna recipe to be exact. You can make it and be a hero in your family, too.

But if you or someone in your family has food allergies, or if you are vegan, you may be interested in hearing that you, too, can make a delish lasagna.

Let’s talk ingredients. First, lasagna noodles. For those who can eat wheat, I recommend Dreamfields lasagna noodles. They are totally egg and milk free and are made in an egg-free facility (unlike many traditional pasta companies that make egg-noodles on the same equipment as their other pasta). Dreamfields is the only traditional pasta I feel comfortable giving my daughter. It tastes just like regular pasta and is also awesome for diabetics.

If you can’t have wheat due to a food allergy, gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, try DeBoles Rice Lasagna noodles. I haven’t tried these, but I’ve heard good things about them.

The other tricky ingredient for food allergies is cheese. Until now the only casein free (milk protein) cheese alternative I’ve been able to find has come in slices… and doesn’t melt well at all. I’ve found shredded soy cheese, but has that pesky casein… and those with a true milk allergy typically need to avoid that.

But great news people, there’s a new dairy and soy-free shredded cheese on the market called Daiya and IT IS AWESOME! I read an article raving about Daiya in Allergic Living magazine and tracked some down at Whole Foods. The “cheese” tastes more like real cheese than other varieties I’ve bought — and the best part is it melts and even gets stringy. I tried it on nachos, quesadilla and melted into soup… so I felt confident giving a lasagna a try. And people… I was NOT disappointed!

Doesn’t this look like real cheese and real lasagna? YUM!

The secret to great lasagna, in my opinion, is to simmer the sauce as long as possible before assembling. Here’s how I make mine:

1 pound Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage (optional)
1 medium white onion chopped (1/2 cup)
2 tbsp fresh crushed garlic
1 tsp of dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
1 can (16 ounces) whole tomatoes (undrained)
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce

Cook sausage, onion together until meat is brown. Add remaining above ingredients, simmer in a big stockpot or in a crock-pot on low. Let the sauce cook for as long as you can – I usually let mine simmer for about 6 hours!

If you are making this for a toddler, you might consider reducing the garlic and omitting the onion. You can also use traditional beef hamburger – or no meat at all. Although I really love the pork in lasagna, it makes it taste more, well, Italian, instead of American.

I typically make a cottage cheese/egg/parsley mix to add as a layer to my lasagna to hold everything together and give it texture. I simply omitted this step. Some dairy and egg-free recipes add tofu for this step, but not me! I didn’t really miss it – although I did miss the fresh parsley and will add some next time to sprinkle through the layers and on top for garnish.

When the sauce was ready, I layered the noodles on the bottom, poured on a layer of sauce, then sprinkled a heavy layer of both the cheddar and mozzarella Daiya cheese. Repeat – noodles, sauce, cheese.

For reference, I used one full package of each flavor of the Daiya cheese.

Cover in tinfoil and bake at 350 for approximately 90+ minutes. Take off foil ½ hour before end – but keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t get too brown or crispy for your tastes.

The cheese melted great, and look! The edges are crispy! My favorite part!

The Daiya cheese was gooey and tasted great, and the flavor of the sauce tastes the same as the traditional recipe. The best part though? It reheated well in the microwave! I feasted on this lasagna for days and it reheated really well each time.

Now, I don’t want you to think it tastes exactly like regular cheese, because it doesn’t. But it’s by far the best substitute I’ve tried – and the consistency makes it awesome!

Let me know if you have any questions in the comment section. You can read more articles about our food allergy journey here. If you know others with food allergies, please share this post with them!

You can find me on facebook, too!

Disclaimer: I am an occasional cook, not a chef. I am also not a doctor. If you choose to replicate this lasagna, remember to read all labels to make sure they are safe for your particular situation. I was not paid to review any of the products in this post. I purchased all ingredients.

This post was written by Missy Berggren and originally posted on Marketing Mama. Follow Missy on Twitter: @marketingmamamn

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Tom Anichini on 10/23/2010 - 09:38 am.

    Hi Missy,

    Thanks for the article; we didn’t know about Dreamfields.

    Would you mind clarifying how you know their facility is “egg free?” While I didn’t find eggs in their ingredient lists, I also didn’t find that language on their website.

  2. Submitted by Missy Berggren on 10/24/2010 - 12:41 am.

    Hi Tom, thanks for your comment and question. I called the manufacturer and asked about their facility. They assured me that none of their products contain egg, and therefore there are no eggs in the facility. I felt comfortable enough with that answer to serve their pasta to my severely-egg allergic daughter. She has never had any reaction to their pastas. Please definitely do your own research until you feel comfortable.

    Take care and thanks for reading!

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