It seems like every day there is a new anti-paleo/primal/ancestral/evolution diet article out there on the world wide web. I understand some of these arguments, such as:
- We live in a modern world, not a prehistoric one.
- We continue to evolve and adapt to our surroundings, so we should be able to adapt to new kinds of foods.
My response to these arguments is that I simply feel better when I don't eat certain modern, processed foods. At the end of the day I will continue to eat whole, fresh foods and simple, natural ingredients because I feel great when I do.
With that said, we DO live in a modern world with modern cultures and modern social pressures, many of which revolve around food. Before I "went paleo" I consumed a lot of traditional processed foods... and I had a lot of problems. Now, even though I have changed my unhealthy ways, I still enjoy the foods I love... I just find creative, healthier ways to make them. Often these new paleo/primal recipes are better than the old processed-food recipes! Such is the case with this...
Primal/Paleo Butternut Lasagna
This recipe is primal if you use goat cheese (optional), and paleo without any goat cheese added. Adding the meat is also optional - just substitute additional veggies for a delicious vegetarian or vegan meal.
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and thinly sliced (see notes below)
- 2 pounds ground beef or venison
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 large green pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms (portabella, shitake, etc.)
- 5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon dried or fresh oregano
- 32 ounces marinara sauce, homemade or paleo/primal-approved
- 16 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled (optional)
- sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large pan, combine beef or venison with onion, green pepper and mushrooms. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until meat is browned and vegetables are soft. Add garlic, oregano, sea salt and pepper, stir and remove from heat.
- Add marinara sauce to the meat/vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Carefully cut butternut squash in half width-wise, separating the round, bulb end from the long skinny end. Stand the long end up on the freshly cut side, and using a sharp knife, carefully slice away the outer skin (see photos below).
- Slice into four manageable pieces, and start slicing off thin pieces. These are your lasagna "noodles."
- I like to use my trusty spiral vegetable slicer to slice thin butternut squash "chips." This machine is AMAZING.
- In a 9x13" pan, spread a small cup of sauce on the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking.
- Take 1/3 of the butternut "noodles" and spread them on top of the sauce in the pan so they form a thin layer.
- Cover the butternut layer with 1/2 of the goat cheese crumbles (optional).
- Cover the goat cheese layer with 1/2 of the remaining meat sauce.
- Repeat, layering butternut, goat cheese, and sauce.
- Top with remaining butternut squash in a thin layer. Use a broad flat spoon to squish lasagna down into pan evenly. Bake for 45 minutes until lasagna is bubbling and the top layer of butternut squash is starting to brown.
- Remove from oven, allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving.