September is a month when it’s possible to enjoy the warm summer sun while excitedly unpacking cozy sweaters and scarves for the cooler weather ahead. As the air grows crisp and the leaves hint at changing, baskets at the market grow full of bright fall and winter squash. From sweet butternut to fibrous acorn, these vegetables are some of my favorite fall ingredients. This season means steaming soups, crispy root vegetable chips, and endless recipes designed for comfort.
Every weekend I try to make one big dish that will last me for several meals at the beginning of the week. This butternut squash lasagna is hearty without being heavy- it is gluten-free, dairy-free, and Paleo- and reheats well. It is also a frugal meal and can be made with whatever ground meat best suits your taste: beef, pork, turkey, or sausage will work just fine. Channeling Sandra Lee and her “Semi-Homemade” fame, I use store-bought pasta sauce to cut down on preparation time. If you are strictly Paleo, gluten-free, or dairy-free, make sure to choose a sauce that omits these ingredients, or make your own!
Paleo Butternut Squash Lasagna – 8 servings
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
1 red onion
4 cloves minced garlic
2 bell peppers (I used red and yellow)
1.5 pounds ground meat
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1 jar of pasta sauce- approximately 24 ounces
1 medium butternut squash
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Chop onion, core and chop bell peppers, then add along with garlic to the skillet. When the onions are translucent and the peppers are soft, add the meat and seasonings. Cook until the meat is browned.
While the ingredients in the skillet cook, cut off the top and bottom of the butternut squash. Peel the squash, then cut into quarters (one cut across the width, one cut across the length). Remove the seeds, then cut each piece in two. You will want to cut thin, plank-like slices of the squash, and I found that eight pieces made it easiest to cut slices between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch thick.
In a 9×9 square pan, pour a thin layer of pasta sauce- just enough to cover the bottom. Lay one layer of squash “noodles” over the sauce. I suggest using the misshapen noodles from the large, rounded bottom of the squash down here where no one will notice: save the nice rectangular planks for the top. Add a layer of vegetables and meat, then another layer of sauce, then another layer of squash; repeat. You will end up with three layers of squash total. Make sure to save enough sauce to pour a thin layer over the top noodles.
Place the pan in the oven and cook for 45 minutes or until the squash noodles are fork tender and look crispy on the sides. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.