This noodle-less butternut squash lasagna recipe is a healthier take on traditional lasagna. The pasta is swapped out for hearty butternut squash pasta sheets that pair perfectly with the rich meat sauce. To keep the lactose low, farmer cheese is used in place of ricotta. Freshly shredded provolone and Havarti cheese provide the cheesy deliciousness that you expect from lasagna and this SCD, grain free, and gluten free meal is the ultimate comfort food!
Today I'm sharing with you the recipe that is my ultimate comfort food!
If I have a bad day, this is what I want. If I need to feed a crowd, this is what I make. If I want something that freezes beautifully, this is the recipe.
Those of us that follow the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD) can't have traditional pasta noodles (as it's made with grains and gluten), ricotta cheese or mozzarella cheese (too much lactose). So this easy butternut squash lasagna recipe is a different take on traditional lasagna!
Homemade meat sauce!
The homemade meat sauce is a hearty combination of ground beef, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, and herbs.
I've made the sauce numerous times from fresh tomatoes but that was before having kids!
Now I use the POMI brand of strained tomatoes and crushed tomatoes when making my sauce. It just speeds the process up a bit and the only ingredient in them is tomatoes. No thickeners, sugar, preservatives, etc.
In order to get the most flavorful sauce, let it simmer for at least an hour. It's totally worth it and your house will smell AMAZING!
Butternut squash pasta sheets!
In the past I've used eggplant in place of the lasagna sheets but I have to be honest...I don't really like it! For me, it's a bit too "slimy" in texture.
I find that using butternut squash " pasta sheets" is much closer to the texture of traditional pasta noodles!
- Use a butternut squash with a longer "neck", since that's the only part of the squash being used in this recipe.
- Evenly slice the squash into long, thin sheets using either a knife or mandolin. Make sure the sheets are the same thickness for even cooking.
Low lactose cheese!
The replacement for ricotta cheese is farmer cheese. It has a VERY similar texture to ricotta but has almost no lactose, which means a happy tummy!
Instead of mozzarella cheese, a combination of havarti and provolone provide a delicious creamy/salty bite.
How to assemble lasagna
Begin by spreading a thin layer of meat sauce along the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
Layer the butternut squash sheets over the sauce making sure that that they overlap just a tad. If needed, cut the sheets to fit in the baking dish.
Spread the butternut squash pasta sheets with the farmers cheese and then top with some meat sauce before sprinkling with the havarti and provolone cheese.
Repeat the process until you have three complete layers.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake until the butternut squash pasta sheets have softened and the cheese has melted.
Hope you enjoy this butternut squash lasagna recipe!
In the mood for more Italian? Try these!
- Zucchini Cannelloni with a Butternut Squash Filling
- Homemade Italian Meat Sauce
- Roasted Beetroot Pasta Sauce
- Dairy-Free Alfredo Sauce
- Italian Braised Chicken Thighs
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This post was originally published April 24, 2018. The text and nutrition information was updated in September 2020.
Butternut Squash Lasagna Recipe
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 16 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup strained tomatoes
- ¼ cup freshly chopped basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 pounds butternut squash (about 2 butternut squash with long "necks")
- 8 ounces farmer cheese (I use the friendship dairies brand)
- 8 ounces havarti cheese, grated
- 8 ounces provolone cheese, grated
- Melt the olive oil in a large pot or skillet over medium heat. Brown the ground beef, breaking it into small chunks as it cooks.
- Stir in the onion and garlic. Add the basil, oregano, thyme, and salt. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and strained tomatoes. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Drop the heat to low and allow to simmer for at least an hour, stirring occasionally.
- Peel the "neck" of the butternut squash. Cut the "bulb" off the squash and set aside. Use a mandolin or sharp knife to slice the "neck" of the butternut squash into ⅛" slices. You will need about 25 evenly sliced "sheets".
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Spread ½ cup of meat sauce on the bottom of a deep 9x13 pan. Layer the squash on the bottom of the pan, allowing it to overlap just a bit. Spread the farmers cheese on the squash and top with about 1 cup of the meat mixture. Sprinkle the Havarti and provolone cheese on top.
- Repeat layering two more times until you have three complete layers. Loosely cover the top of the baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake in the center rack for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes until the squash sheets have softened.
- Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh chopped basil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional).
- If the butternut squash sheets are thicker than ⅛", cook time will be longer. Before pulling the lasagna out of the oven I suggest inserting a knife into the dish to check the squash has cooked through.
- The butternut squash lasagna can be assembled then wrapped tightly with aluminum foil and frozen for up to 3 months. To reheat, remove the lasagna from the freezer and place in the fridge for 24 hours. Follow the cooking instructions above. The lasagna may need to cook longer than the recommended time!
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.