Sweet Potato Lasagna
During an upcoming podcast episode with my close friend, we discuss the personal attachment she has towards lasagna and the meaning the dish holds within her family. After our recording session, I left realizing that it had been far too long since the last time I had lasagna. Since I am gluten-free, most lasagnas offered at restaurants are off the table, and the dish seems pretty laborious and intimidating for it to become a part of my typical recipe rotation. I wish I was joking when I say this, but that night I had a dream about making this exact lasagna; swapping out the pasta for thin sweet potato slices and all. When I awoke from my glorious pasta filled slumber, I knew what recipe I was going to create that week. Alas, my sweet potato lasagna was born.
Now, I’m not going to lie to you, this doesn’t hold up as perfectly as your classic lasagna, and there is obviously a main difference in the flavor profile (considering the obvious that there is the addition of sweet potatoes and the removal of pasta), but boy is it delicious. It almost reminds me of a cross between a shepherd’s pie (cue the potatoes) and your classic beef lasagna. Shockingly, this dish came together way quicker and easier than I expected. I also was able to put to use the cottage cheese I had in my fridge by replacing the typical ricotta and mozzarella cheese mixture of most lasagna recipes with a cottage cheese and yogurt mixture. It was a risk I was willing to talk and one that I was pleasantly surprised with the result of.
To make this dish, I relied heavily on a new kitchen gadget: my mandoline slicer. While this is not entirely necessary, and a typical knife can be used to cut the sweet potatoes, this device guarantees thin and even sweet potato slices and makes it an extremely easy task. However, be careful when using and make sure to protect your fingers! Consider yourself forewarned. Once you slice the sweet potato, lengthwise, into thin and equal slabs, set them aside and begin making the ground beef and tomato filling. To do so, I used my recipe for my classic meat sauce. It includes searing and cooking the ground beef on a cast iron skillet before mixing it with spices and crushed tomatoes. Once the sauce is made, combine the yogurt with the cottage cheese to make your creamy filling and topping. This was my first time trying this combination, and it was a random choice really determined by using ingredients that were already in my fridge, but it did not disappoint. I mixed the cottage cheese with goat’s milk yogurt, but any plain yogurt will suffice.
Now that you have the ground beef sauce prepared, the sweet potatoes sliced, and the dairy mixture combined, it is time to get layering (see pics below for the steps!). First, take a paper towel and grease the baking dish with a little bit of avocado oil to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom. Then, begin with a layer of the sweet potato slices. You have to play a little bit of Tetris to make sure the entire dish is covered, but no one is grading you on your layering skills (at least I’m not!). Next up, pour in a layer of the ground beef tomato sauce, followed by handfuls of spinach, and eventually topped with the yogurt / cottage cheese mixture. Complete this exact layering over again. Next, complete the same sweet potato and ground beef layering, but skip the spinach simply place the dairy mixture on top. Place this dish in a preheated oven at 425 degrees and cook for 45 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes before slicing and diving in!
Sweet Potato Lasagna
- Ground beef (1lb)
- Sweet potato (2)
- Spinach (1 bunch)
- Cottage cheese (3/4 cup)
- Yogurt (3/4 cup) – I used plain goat’s milk
- Crushed tomatoes (1 12oz can)
- Avocado oil (1 teaspoon)
- Red pepper flakes (1/2 teaspoon)
How to cook Sweet Potato Lasagna
- Using a mandolin, or a knife if you do not have one, cut the sweet potato lengthwise into long and thin pieces and set aside
- On a hot skillet, add ½ teaspoon of avocado oil and the ground beef
- Season the ground beef with salt and pepper, sear on one side for about 7 minutes, and then mix, using a wooden spoon to break it into small crumbles
- Stir the beef around on the skillet for around another 7 minutes, or until all of the beef is cooked through
- Remove the skillet from the heat and pour the ground beef into a bowl with the can of crushed tomatoes
- Season this mixture with ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes and salt & pepper and set aside
- In a separate bowl, combine the yogurt and cottage cheese
- Grease a baking dish (I used one that was 7x11x2.5in) with ½ teaspoon of avocado oil
- Layer the sliced sweet potatoes on the bottom of the baking dish and then top that with a layer of the meat sauce, a layer of fresh spinach, and dollops of the yogurt & cottage cheese mixture
- Repeat the step above
- After you have two complete layers of all the ingredients, top it with another layer of sweet potatoes (for a total of 3 sweet potato layers), meat sauce, and yogurt & cottage cheese mixture
- Place this dish in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 45 minutes
- Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes before slicing and serving
- Gluten Free
- Soy Free
- Nut Free