The G Word

Although it seems to have developed into a Fad Diet du jour, it is most definitly far from that.  Living with Celiac Disease; how clear are you on what that means exactly? Lemme raise your IQ a bit. Literally straight off the Celiac Central websiteCeliac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. In other words, if you suffer from CD, your body inadvertantly attacks itself every time gluten is introduced into the GI track.  Ohhhkay-  So you get it, now?  Celiac Disease + Gluten = An UN-Happy Camper.  BUT- what is gluten? (How about another couple points towards that IQ?) Gluten is a specific type of protein, but not the protein you are thinking of.  I’m talking about the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Going gluten-free means avoiding these whole grains.
A gluten-free diet is essential for most people with celiac disease.  GFG’s (Gluten Free Guru) need a sharp eye for labels. Some ingredients to look out for; including the obvious, like wheat, wheat gluten, barley, or rye; but also steer clear from “stealth” gluten. Malt (which is made from barley) and hydrolyzed vegetable protein (sometimes contains wheat) are two red flags to be aware of as well.  While it is probably the most easy thing to do, focusing on limitations can easily develop into a nightmare! Seeking out online stores, specialty products and stressing over gluten free menu selections at a restaurant can leave one drained and discouraged.  Instead, enjoy naturally gluten-free fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats. These items are healthy, less expensive (because you aren’t paying for that ‘gluten free’ label..like I said before, kind of a fad right now..) and readily available.
Try my simple (AND gluten free) lasagna.  I used a somewhat starchy vegetable, the eggplant, in place of the wheat noodles, and layered it with whole natural ingredients (not ONE labeled GF!) to create this yummy gluten free meal. Eat it alone, or paired with rice noodles for a ‘true’ Italian pasta dinner.  I’ve decided that, after a recent request, I’ll be labeling those recipes that are Gluten Free.  Makes for easy access for the GF readers :)   Also, just incase of any confusion- if you AREN’T in need of a gluten free diet, this recipe is for YOU, too!!!  Nothing special about any of these ingredients, so go for it my friends!
Eggplant Lasagna
INGREDIENTS:
4 Sundried Tomato and Basil Chicken Sausage Links, casings removed (My favorite–Hans All Natural)
1 medium eggplant (about 1 1/4 pound), skin removed.
Cooking spray
1 (16 oz) container sliced button mushrooms
1 (8oz) container whole Baby Bella mushrooms
1 medium onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 (16oz) jar tomato sauce, no added salt
1 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
DIRECTIONS:
Preheat broiler.  Arrange the eggplant slices on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; broil 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and set aside.  Preheat the oven to 375°.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat; add sausage and cook until no longer pink, remove from pan.  Add onion and next 4 ingredients (onion through mushrooms) to hot pan, adding more cooking spray as needed. Cover and cook 7 minutes or until tender, stirring mixture occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high; uncover and cook for 2 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Add chicken sausage back to mushroom mixture, season with pepper.  Spread half of mushroom mixture in bottom of a 9X13 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange half of eggplant slices over mushroom mixture.  Top with 1/2 cup tomato sauce and 1/3 cup mozzarella and 2 tablespoons parmesan. Spread remaining mushroom mixture over mozzarella; top with remaining eggplant slices. Top with remaining tomato sauce.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons of parmesan. Cover and bake at 375° for 1 hour.  Remove cover and continue baking for 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Let stand 10 minutes.

Nutrition Information:
Makes 6 servings, about1 1/2 cups each
Calories: 232
Fat: 9.5 g
Carbohydrates: 20.5 g
Fiber: 6.1 g
Protein: 18.3 g

Comments

  1. I made this and it is SO yummy! I made a few substitutions but overall this was great! The hubby liked it too and ate two helpings! I served it with garlic toast and asparagus on the side. The substitutions I made were:
    1) left out the sausage (I wasn't feeling like meat but in the future I will try with the sausage)
    2) put in less mozzarella cheese (mainly because I didn't have very much!); probably used about 1/3 cup
    3) spooned in my canned diced Italian tomatoes over the tomatoe sauce on each layer cause I like 'maters!
    4) put in extra garlic (I always do this!)
    5) I was also thinking it might be good layered with cottage or ricotta cheese like you use with traditional lasagna, may try this next time

    I will DEFINITELY make this again! A great way to use eggplant! And the mushrooms are so "meaty" !

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