Meaty Lasagna

Today is my youngest daughter's birthday, and this is one of her all-time favorite meals, so it was the obvious choice for today. :-) Happy Birthday, Grace! 

I wonder how many lasagna recipes exist. Surely the count is into the millions by now. And I bet most of them are perfectly scrumptious. If you already have one you love, I'm not suggesting you abandon it. Just offering my favorite for those who might be still looking.

These are some of the reasons this recipe is my favorite: 1. It is actually very easy to make, which is not always the case with lasagna. 2. It is so hearty and meat-filled that you can feed a pretty significant dinner crowd with just one tray. 3. It is easily adaptable to a low-carb meal by simply swapping zucchini strips for noodles and not losing any flavor at all. (Honestly, can we all agree that the noodles just carry the meat and cheese to your mouth?) 4. It is excellent for making ahead of time (or making several trays at a time) and storing in the freezer for a super quick homemade meal later. 5. It is Yummy! This recipe is a favorite of my entire family and a whole long list of my friends. It is probably my most-requested meal. If you don't already have a tried and true favorite, try it and see what you think!


1/2 pound lasagna noodles (or 2 zucchini thinly sliced in long ribbons)

1 pound lean sweet turkey Italian sausage

1/2-1 pound lean ground beef (I personally think there's no such thing as too much meat in this recipe, so I tend to go with the full pound.)

1 medium-large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 can (28oz.) chunky crushed tomatoes

2 cans (6 oz. each) tomato paste

2 teaspoons coconut sugar

2-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

1-1/2 teaspoons dried crushed basil

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 container (15 oz.) part-skim ricotta cheese

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

4 cups shredded mozzarella

3/4 cup grated Parmesan


1. Boil noodles according to package directions or slice zucchini length-wise using mandolin. Set aside.

2. In large skillet over medium heat, brown beef and Italian sausage with onions and garlic until vegetables are tender and meat is no longer pink. Drain. Return meat mixture to pan and add tomatoes, tomato paste, coconut sugar, 2 teaspoons of salt, basil and pepper. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

***Hey, can I show you a fun trick for getting tomato paste out of the can? Run your can opener around the top *and* bottom of the can, then use the bottom lid to push out the paste. No more trying to dig it out of the corners with a spoon.

3. In small bowl, blend ricotta, egg, Italian seasoning and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

5. Spoon 1-1/2 cups meat sauce into bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish. Layer 1/3 each of noodles (or zucchini), ricotta mixture, meat sauce and mozzarella into dish. Repeat twice. 

6. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle Parmesan over top, and bake an additional 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is golden and bubbly. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before cutting. (Don't worry. It will stay molten lava hot much longer than that.)