I remember watching TV once when I was a kid. If I remember correctly, it was 7th Heaven, but I can’t say with any real authority. Sorry. Anyway, one of the characters said something about how they made a vegetarian lasagna, and I (stupidly) said, “ew… gross!” My mom got a little offended, or maybe she was just calling me on my picky eating BS (it’s hard to call, really), and responded with “My lasagna is vegetarian, is it gross?”
And in my stupid little preteen brain, when I thought of vegetarian, I wasn’t thinking meatless. I was thinking veggie-full. And my stupid little preteen brain told me that veggies were gross.
This lasagna is the polar opposite of my mom’s lasagna from back then (although since getting this recipe from my sister-in-law, she only makes her lasagna this way). There are tons of veggies. And meat. It makes no sense, really. You could make it meatless, sure. But I prefer not to.
And it doesn’t have veggies like my stupid preteen brain was picturing. It doesn’t have mushrooms and olives, which I still maintain are pretty disgusting. It doesn’t even have spinach, which even my preteen self was ok with in lasagna (primarily, I’ve stopped eating spinach because I’m pretty sure I was having an allergic reaction to it, at least in the large quantities that I was eating it). It has a really sneaky vegetable masquerading as noodles.
Yep. That’s how this thing is gluten free. Zero pasta. We could call into question its validity as a “lasagna” at all at this point, but once you see how yummy it is, I’m not sure you’ll want to.
I like to make it in little loaf pans because that’s about exactly right to feed me and my husband for dinner. But when I’ve had it with my family, I’ve made it in 13×9 pans, and since that’s a more typical amount of lasagna, I’ve made the recipe thus.
On this particular occasion, I made a quadruple recipe and froze a ton of little loaf pans. My husband and I are the proud owners of a new to us freezer that is currently sitting in our living room. More on that later. In the meantime, know that this meal freezes extraordinarily well. I’ll even tell you how.
Here’s how this lasagna goes down.
Butternut Squash Lasagna
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 pound ground beef (optional)
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 2 jars spaghetti sauce
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
Brown the ground beef with the onions. Add in the spaghetti sauce. You can leave the sauce alone at this point. Or I like to add some black pepper and fresh herbs and then just let it simmer. This is all optional.
Peel the squash, then cut the skinnier part into thin round disks (about a quarter of an inch or less, try to be as uniform as possible). Then cut the larger part in half vertically if it’s standing on its butt. (I have no idea the technical terms for a butternut squash, so just go with me on this…) Use a spoon to scoop out all the seeds and what not. Now cut these into moon shaped disks.
Spoon a bit of sauce into your pan. Then cover with a layer of butternut squash. Top with sauce. Then cheese. Then repeat. And again. Until all the ingredients are used up.
Here’s where you cover with foil and freeze if you’re into that. Then you just pull it out of the freezer, thaw, and follow these other directions when you’re ready to eat.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until the squash is fork tender. Then bake uncovered until the cheese is just slightly blistered.
P.S. The butternut squash really dried out my skin today, a problem I haven’t had when I’ve made this in the past. I mean, we’re talking peeling skin dried out. It’s gross. If you have a similar problem, you should know that a bowl of sugar to rub your hands in and an episode of house hunters should do the trick.