Since January, I have been training for the full Toronto Marathon in May. In the past I’ve run a 15 and a half marathon without too much training, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to get away with that for a full marathon. So, I locked myself into full training mode for 19 weeks, including a strict diet that is based on what has worked best for my body during detoxes, and the kind of food my body needs to energize and repair itself. For me, this meant no alcohol, coffee, processed sugar, gluten, beef and pork. Eliminating beef and pork may seem strange during race training, but my detox was focused on digestion. For me, beef and pork have shown to be harsher on my digestion system. Carbs and protein are super important for recovery however and that’s where my Lamb Brown Rice Lasagna comes in!
At first, I was going to avoid all red meat, but later decided that a little bit of lamb would be very beneficial throughout the training period. While red meat is hard on my digestion system, it is also important to build strong, lean muscles and to help the body absorb vitamins. Besides the fact that my husband loves lamb, lamb is the best kind of red meat you can have. Although it is high in cholesterol (hence, “a little”), it is the lowest in sodium and is rich in zinc and iron.
I have also been taking the Culinary Arts 1 course at George Brown College and have since discovered the secret to making the perfect lasagna. Alternating between horizontal and vertical noodles and mixing the tofu and cheese together helps to fuse the lasagna and prevents “lasagna spillage”. I switched up some of the ingredients to make the lasagna marathon-diet-friendly, and came up with a delicious post-run meal, full of good carbs and protein to replenish and comfort the tired body. And, as a bonus, my husband was so happy to finally eat some meat he didn’t complain once about the brown rice pasta!
Gluten Free Dairy Free Lamb Lasagna
This Gluten Free Dairy Free Lamb Lasagna is filled with rich lamb, brown rice pasta, tofu and Daiya cheese. A delicious dish to have on a detox, and makes for an awesome post workout meal.
- 1 box brown rice lasagna noodles
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 227 g Daiya dairy free mozzarella shreds divided in half
- 450 g firm tofu drain, dried and crumbled
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 4 cloves garlic peeled, minced
- 1 medium yellow onion peeled, diced
- 1 red pepper seeded, diced
- 2 tablespoons Bob's Red Mill Cornstarch
- 156 ml tomato paste
- 796 ml diced tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely minced or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely minced or 1 teaspoon dried
- sea salt and ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a large casserole dish.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water as per directions on the box. Be careful not to overcook; brown rice pasta tears very easily.
Spread a couple of tablespoons of olive oil onto a baking sheet. When pasta is ready, drain and spread sheets of pasta flat on baking sheet.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine half the Daiya cheese with the crumbled tofu and mix well.
Heat sauté pan to high. Flatten meat and place in pan, turning down the heat to medium. Slowly break up the meat with a wooden spoon until just cooked. Meat should be greyish in colour, not brown, so that the vegetable flavours can marry with the meat.
Add all the vegetables and garlic. Sauté until just cooked, shiny but still a bit crunchy, approximately 5 minutes.
Turn the heat down to medium low and sprinkle the cornstarch over meat and vegetables. Mix well.
Working quickly, add the tomato paste and mix well. Add the diced tomatoes and stir to combine.
Add the bay leaf, chili flakes, basil and oregano and mix well to combine. Simmer over low heat until sauce thickens, but still has some liquid.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and remove bay leaf.
Spoon a layer of thin sauce into the casserole dish. Trim noodles and place vertically across the casserole dish, overlapping the edges. Spread 1/3 of the sauce over top. Sprinkle half of the Daiya/tofu mixture evenly over top of the sauce.
For the next layer, place noodles horizontally across, overlapping the edges, followed by another layer of trimmed, vertical noodles.
Layer 1/3 of the sauce over top, spreading evenly. Sprinkle remaining Daiya/tofu mixture over top of the sauce.
For the top layer, place noodles horizontally across followed by the rest of the sauce, being sure to cover the noodles well. Use a spatula to help spread the sauce evenly. Top with remaining cheese.
Cover loosely with aluminum foil, making sure the foil doesn't touch the cheesy top. Bake at 375F for 30 minutes, covered. Then uncover and bake at 325F for another 15 minutes. Cool 5-10 minutes before serving.