Lasagna is a popular Italian dish that consists of layers of noodles, tomato sauce, meat, and cheese. It’s a hearty, comforting meal that’s perfect for family dinners, potlucks, and other gatherings. However, traditional lasagna noodles are made from wheat flour, which can be a problem for those who are gluten-free or looking for low-carb options. Fortunately, there are many alternatives to traditional lasagna noodles that can be just as delicious and satisfying. In this article, we’ll explore the seven best substitutes for lasagna noodles.
What is Lasagna Noodle?
The lasagna noodle is a wide, flat, and rectangular type of pasta that has been around for centuries. It is made from a dough consisting of flour, water, eggs, and sometimes other ingredients, and has a taste similar to other types of pasta.
Lasagna originated in Italy during the Middle Ages, with the oldest known mention of it dating back to 1282 in the Memorial Bolognesi. A Bolognese notary transcribed a poem that mentioned Lasagne.
There are two main types of lasagna noodles: fresh and commercial. Fresh noodles require pre-boiling before filling and baking, while commercial noodles do not require pre-boiling and can be softened with more liquid sauces when baked.
Best Lasagna Noodles Substitutes
1. Zucchini Noodles
Zucchini noodles, also known as zoodles, are a popular substitute for lasagna noodles. They are low in carbs and calories, making them a great option for those who are watching their weight or following a low-carb or keto diet. Zucchini noodles are also a good source of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium.
To use zucchini noodles in lasagna, slice the zucchini into thin strips using a mandoline or a sharp knife. You can then use the zucchini strips in place of lasagna noodles, layering them with cheese and tomato sauce as you would with traditional lasagna. Bake the dish in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
2. Eggplant Slices
Eggplant slices are another great substitute for lasagna noodles. Like zucchini, eggplant is low in carbs and calories and is packed with vitamins and minerals, including fiber, potassium, and vitamin K.
To use eggplant slices in lasagna, slice the eggplant into thin rounds using a sharp knife or a mandoline. Then, layer the eggplant rounds with cheese and tomato sauce, just like you would with traditional lasagna noodles. Bake the dish in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
3. Portobello Mushroom Caps
Portobello mushroom caps are an excellent substitute for lasagna noodles, especially for vegetarians or those following a low-carb diet. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and rich in antioxidants.
To make portobello mushroom caps, remove the stems and gills from the mushrooms and brush them with olive oil. Roast them in the oven until they are tender and use them in place of the lasagna noodles.
4. Butternut Squash Sheets
Butternut squash sheets are a great alternative to traditional lasagna noodles. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and rich in vitamins A and C. To make butternut squash sheets, cut the squash into thin slices and roast them in the oven until they are tender. You can also lightly coat them in olive oil and season with salt and pepper for added flavor.
5. Cauliflower Rice
Cauliflower rice is another great substitute for traditional lasagna noodles. It is low in calories, high in fiber, and rich in vitamins C and K. To make cauliflower rice, pulse cauliflower florets in a food processor until they resemble rice grains. You can then steam or sauté the cauliflower rice and use it in place of the lasagna noodles.
Polenta is a versatile substitute for traditional lasagna noodles. It is made from cornmeal and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. It is also low in calories, high in fiber, and gluten-free.
To make polenta, bring water or broth to a boil and slowly whisk in the cornmeal. Cook the polenta until it is thick and creamy, and then spread it out in a baking dish to cool. Once it has cooled, cut it into sheets and use it in place of the lasagna noodles.
7. Sweet Potato Slices
Sweet potato slices are a healthy and delicious substitute for traditional lasagna noodles. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and rich in vitamins A and C. To make sweet potato slices, cut the sweet potato into thin slices and roast them in the oven until they are tender. You can also lightly coat them in olive oil and season with salt and pepper for added flavor.
In conclusion, there are many alternatives to traditional lasagna noodles that are just as delicious and healthy. Zucchini noodles, eggplant slices, portobello mushroom caps, butternut squash sheets, cauliflower rice, polenta, and sweet potato slices are all excellent substitutes that can be used in place of lasagna noodles. They are all low in calories, high in fiber, and packed with nutrients. Additionally, they cater to various dietary needs and preferences, making them an ideal choice for anyone looking to enjoy a healthier and more diverse version of lasagna.
When experimenting with these substitutes, it is important to keep in mind the cooking methods and preparation tips. For example, zucchini noodles and eggplant slices should be sautéed or grilled to soften them before using them in the lasagna. Portobello mushroom caps and sweet potato slices should be roasted until they are tender, while butternut squash sheets and cauliflower rice should be lightly steamed or sautéed. Polenta should be cooked until it is thick and creamy, then spread out and cooled before cutting into sheets.