Are you gluten-free and dairy-free?
Are you gluten-free and dairy-free and miss comfort food?
If you are, you’re gonna love this recipe.
It’s the secret to all of your dairy-free gluten-free comfort food dreams.
Lasagna is one of my favorite comfort foods (call it my Italian-American heritage or just a love for all things cheese and pasta), but for a while, I was dairy-free and gluten-free. Lasagna and other cheesy pasta favorites were no longer on the menu.
We were on a tight budget, so buying all the expensive substitutes wasn’t really an option. Also, have you ever read the ingredients on dairy-free cheese? No thanks.
While there are cleaner brands out there, I wanted to find a simple, real food version of my favorite baked pasta.
Real food is important to me, and honestly, the most budget-friendly thing you can do when you’re gluten-free and dairy-free is to stick to the foods you love that don’t require any special substitutes.
So rather than trying to find a fancy substitute for macaroni and cheese or pizza, I enjoyed my other favorite foods that were easy to make gluten-free and dairy-free – like burrito bowls.
But sometimes we just want lasagna.
RELATED: IF you aren’t gluten or dairy-free and stumbled here by mistake, check out this spinach and sausage pasta dish with real cheese!
How to Make Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Lasagna
Don’t worry. This isn’t one of those recipes that only people who can’t have cheese will enjoy. It’s so good that even my husband – who has a very discerning palate – couldn’t tell it was gluten-free or dairy-free.
It’s just a really delicious, creamy, cheesy, baked pasta.
Here’s how I make my gluten-free and dairy-free lasagna.
Lasagna and Pasta Bakes have 3 essential components:
Next, you’ll probably want some of these:
- Ground beef or turkey
- Spinach or other greens
When you’re gluten-free and dairy-free, you need to get creative. But with a few simple tweaks, you’ll have a really delicious, creamy, allergy-free comfort food dinner.
You can use jarred pasta sauce or make your own. If you’re using meat (I recommend it!), brown it, then stir it into the pasta sauce.
Gluten-free lasagna noodles are hard to find and tend to be expensive. So rather than making a real lasagna, I make a pasta bake with the gluten-free penne pasta I can find at my Aldi. It’s delicious! Here’s a review of several gluten-free pastas.
You can also make a veggie-based lasagna by cutting thin strips of butternut squash to use as lasagna. Or use strips of zucchini or summer squash! Don’t forget to salt and drain them beforehand to cut down on excess liquid like when you’re making zoodles.
There are a few decent dairy-free ricotta cheese substitutes at the grocery stores. But if you want to keep it really clean, use my dairy-free magic sauce – a creamy cashew wonder made with , almond milk, and salt. If you like, blend in a few teaspoons of nutritional yeast for more of a cheesy flavor. But I found that if I have really good marinara sauce, it isn’t necessary.
You can top your lasagna with marinara sauce or a sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese, which you can whip up in the blender (included in the recipe below)!
A New Twist on Batch Cooking
Have you tried batch cooking? It’s one of my favorite kitchen hacks to save time while cooking real food, but my take may be slightly different than the ones you’ve seen before.
Instead of making large batches of food and saving them for later, I batch together kitchen tasks and link one night’s dinner to the next. Think of it as getting a head start on your next meal. The net result is time savings AND fresh dinners every night.
The current trend in meal prep seems to be focused on taking several hours on a weekend day to chop and prep veggies, cook meats, and then assemble the leftovers into a multitude of containers.
This is great if it works for you, but my family gets sick of eating leftovers all the time and I get tired of keeping track of all the containers in the fridge! Plus, spending 3-4 hours in the kitchen on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon is usually the last thing I want to do.
My Real Food Head Start 7 Day Dinner Plan provides a framework for incorporating my technique each day to save time on future meals and even start stocking your freezer if you want, while still making and serving a fresh dinner. The best part is, you use the time you are already in the kitchen – no extra prep day needed!
Pasta Bake with No Cheese or Gluten
You’ll be happy to know that people who have no interest in eating gluten-free and dairy-free love this recipe too! My husband said he never would have guessed it was anything but normal cheesy baked pasta.
When I first shared the recipe for the Dairy-Free Magic Sauce, I said it adds that creamy, fatty texture that so many of us miss when we’re gluten and dairy-free. This cheesy dairy-free lasagna recipe proves it again.
Try these other gluten-free and dairy-free recipes:
- Dairy-Free Magic Sauce
- Turmeric Lentil Soup
- Chocolate Dessert Hummus
- Butternut Squash Gluten-Free Biscuits (dairy-free option)
- Spicy Tahini Roasted Cauliflower
- Frugal BBQ Chicken in the Instant Pot
- Vegetarian Taco Quinoa Chili
- Breakfast Mudballs
A creamy, comforting, allergy-friendly, clean version of our favorite Italian-American casserole.
- 8 oz. gluten-free lasagna noodles or penne pasta
- 1/2–1 lb. ground beef or turkey
- 1 1/2 24-oz. jars marinara sauce
- 1 batch of Dairy-Free Magic Sauce (cashew cream)
- Salt (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase)
- 1/4 c. raw
- 1 Tbs. nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- pinch of garlic powder
- pinch of oregano and basil (optional)
To Make the Vegan Parmesan:
- Toss all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until it all becomes dry crumbs and all the bigger chunks of cashews are processed.
To Make the Lasagna:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Brown the meat in a saucepan over medium heat, adding a pinch of salt while cooking. Stir the marinara sauce into the meat, reserving 2 cups of sauce for topping the pasta.
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
- In an 8×8-inch baking dish, scoop a small amount of sauce and meat into the center and use a spoon to spread it out, making a thin layer across the bottom of the baking dish.
- Spread half of the pasta across the top of the sauce. Then scoop the magic sauce (cashew cream) on top of the pasta. Use a spoon to spread it evenly. Add about half of the remaining meat and marinara sauce on top of that. Layer on the rest of the pasta, then the remaining meat sauce, and finally the reserved sauce on top of that to make an even topping. Sprinkle with vegan parmesan.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, and serve warm.
- Serving Size: 1-1.5 cups
- Calories: 465
- Sugar: 15g
- Sodium: 700mg
- Fat: 13g
- Saturated Fat: 4g
- Unsaturated Fat: 9g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 55g
- Fiber: 7g
- Protein: 29g
- Cholesterol: 71mg
Keywords: comfort food, creamy, easy dinner
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Simple Gluten and Dairy-Free Dinner Recipe
I know pasta and cheese are our classic comfort food. It’s really hard to find good comfort food that we know and love when we’re on a tight budget and have food allergies.
Dairy-free lasagna is a simple recipe – it’s actually easier than making a traditional lasagna – that you can make ahead of time or even serve to guests.
Gluten and Dairy-Free Comfort Food Recipe
I hope this recipe for gluten-free and dairy-free lasagna gives you a nice comforting treat while you eat well and take care of your body.