Tag Archives: Cabbage

Worlds (secretly) healthiest lasagna

I am sure 95% of people who read this will either cringe or roll their eyes, but… I don’t really like pasta. Or rice.

No, it isn’t that I just say that because I want to avoid carbs; I genuinely just don’t get much mouth bliss when I eat either. In my opinion, pasta and rice are quite bland and dilute the deliciousness of the flavors surrounding them. Basically, I was the kid that used two cheese packets on her Kraft and would be mocked “would you like some pasta with your meat sauce?” Perhaps it is that I have never had truly great pasta, but even in Italy, the slippery ribbons of wheat didn’t do much for me. I do enjoy some grains though, but that is because they have flavor in their own right. When preparing a dish that is typically tainted with pasta or rice, I usually sub in bulgur, amaranth, or more veggies. For example, last week I was having a strange craving for lasagna (which means I was actually craving meaty marinara) and decided to find a way to make it sans pasta. I still wanted layers of cheese, sauce, and meat, but I needed a new medium to act as the barrier. What is green and resembles doppia riccia noodles? Cabbage of course!

Not Your Mama’s Lasagna

Recipe: Makes 4 (huge) servings

1 lb beef, 90% lean

1 head of cabbage (you will use around the outer most half of leaves)

1 cup mozzarella cheese (full fat)

parmesan cheese

For the sauce - 

1 can TJ’s diced and fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles

1 can tomato paste

3 garlic cloves

3 tbsp chopped red onion

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp garlic grapeseed oil (I used Apres Vin, but you could also use extra virgin olive oil)

basil, a handful fresh or several shakes dried

oregano

garlic salt

dash thyme

dash parsley

salt

Directions – 1. Preheat the oven to 350. Brown the beef on the stove top and set aside.

2. Prepare the sauce by combining the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, garlic, basil, oregano, thyme, sugar, garlic oil, parsley, garlic salt, and salt in a blender and pulsing until combined. You can make it as chunky or smooth as you wish. Taste test and add any more spice if desired. Pour into the pan with the beef and stir. You can let it marinate for a few minutes on low heat while you prepare the cabbage.

3. Steam the cabbage the lazy way by placing the entire head in a microwave-safe bowl with 2 tbsp water, covering with another bowl or plate, and nuking for about 2-3 minutes. Cut off the very bottom of the cabbage. Carefully peel off the leaves of cabbage and lay on a towel to dry.

4. Grease an oven-safe 13 x 9 x 2 dish with olive oil. Place a layer of cabbage leaves on the base. Add a layer of meaty pasta sauce. Sprinkle on a third of the mozzarella cheese and some parmesan. Sprinkle on more garlic salt, oregano, parsley and thyme. Add another layer of cabbage leaves. Top with a layer of pasta sauce. Add another layer of cheese and spices. Repeat once more or until you are out of pasta sauce and cheese. Bake covered with foil for 25 minutes and uncovered for ~10 minutes or until the cheese is browned to your liking.

Even my pasta and rice loving roomy Kristi loved this lasagna.

Benefits

Tomatoes * also contain a LOT of vitamin A and C. Vitamin A is a potent antioxidant that has been shown in studies to reduce the effects of smoking. This does not mean it is okay to smoke, but if you do, it is a VERY good idea to make sure are getting lots of vitamin A daily. Tomatoes are also rich in lycopene, which has been proven to halt the growth of cancer cells!

Lean beef *  An excellent source of iron, B vitamins, zinc, selenium, phosphorous, and of course protein. Don’t be scared of beef’s fat content! Check out my post on saturated fats here.

Basil * Has anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants called flavonoids. Flavonoids protect your cells from damage (and thus, in the long run, cancer).

I loved this lasagna. It was cheesy, hearty, and packed with flavor. No noodles to spoil the party ;).

Legit Thai Salad

I don’t know about you, but one of my pet peeves is when restaurants title a dish in a misleading way. Like whenever they have “Mexican salad” or “Asian stir fry” and it doesn’t resemble anything that an actual Mexican or Asian would eat. Not to mention that Asia is huge and encompasses so many different countries and diverse cultures… I also find it pretty funny when restaurants boast about their Cuban food. I have been to Cuba, and their food is definitely not a strong point. The street food is mainly cheese sandwiches, meh pastries, and really greasy pizza. However, I did have some amazing (and healthy) dishes while I was there! Like here:

My recipe for today is for my Thai Salad. It is so good! I had it for an appetizer at lunch and dinner yesterday. I can vouch for its authenticity because…


I know you foodies want some of this:

I stalk monks like its my job…

I tried to eat literally everything I saw while I was there. In some cases, I bit off more than I could chew. Like when I literally started crying from the amount of red chili peppers in my fruit baggy. They are big on chopped fruit, in a bag, with lime juice, sugar, and red chili peppers. He asked me if I wanted it tourist style or local style. I went for local. Which means 4 or 5 chili peppers instead of 1. BIG mistake. Can’t hang, can’t hang.

The only not-that-Thai ingredient that I added is a pinch of cumin and a sprinkle of cinnamon. The cumin isn’t key, but the cinnamon issss.

Recipe: Serves 1

Chop up 2 large handfuls worth of green cabbage, 1/4 of a red bell pepper, a handful of mushrooms, and some avocado. Throw into a bowl.

Squeeze the juice of 1/3 of a lime into the bowl. Add 1 tbsp of brown sugar, a pinch of cumin, a shake of cinnamon, and as much cayenne pepper as you like/can handle.

Stir well and enjoy!

Benefits:

Cabbage * contains fiber and antioxidants.

Red bell Pepper * the bright color is an indication of its high concentration of vitamins. It has tons of vitamin A, carotenoids, and vitamin C. Of green, red, and yellow bell peppers, red ones are technically the most nutrient dense.

Mushrooms * a great source of niacin, potassium, and selenium!

Cayenne pepper * high in antioxidants and temporarily raises the metabolism!

Lime juice * has been linked to weight loss, improved digestion, constipation relief, treatment of scurvy (vitamin C deficiency), and respiratory disorder improvement.