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Unconventional Lasagna

I'm looking for a lasagna recipe that doesn't use ground meat. I would like meat in it though to keep my carnivore husband happy.

Any good recipes out there worth trying?

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  1. I don't have any lasagna recipes but have you thought about making a beef cheek ragu and using that instead of ground meat?


    1 Reply
    1. re: Paprikaboy

      I have been making all kinds of lasagnas and the most popular one, by far, is my beet and goat cheese lasagna. I got inspired after eating beet ravioli and I used the fine cooking butternut squash lasagna as a reference. I serve it with sausages and an acidic salad-usually with enive, radicchio and walnuts.

    2. Could use chunks of meat instead of ground. Maybe a favorite lasagna with chicken or beef cubes instead of ground meat.

      I enjoy lasagna made with:

      • chicken, bacon, tomato, green onion, alfredo, garlic, Pecorino, & mozzarella
      • potato layers (thin sliced), chicken, broccoli, and cheese sauce
      • olives in ricotta or cottage cheese layers (capers & chives optional)
      • Homemade pasta layers instead of dried noodles

      2 Replies
      1. re: smaki

        I like the idea of using capers or olives in with the ricotta.

        1. re: Musie

          Is tasty, good eye. Try flavored ricotta in spaghetti also. Ricotta protects olives and capers to showcase their flavor. Is especially good inside lasagna.

          Can also put flavored ricotta or other stuffing inside a plate of spaghetti. Each individual meal exactly as desired. First add a thin layer of noodles to an empty plate. Then top those noodles with whatever is handy immediately desired: ricotta, cottage cheese, capers, olives, chives, Pecorino, mozzarella, cheddar, dip, salami, glazed carrots, roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, pepperoni, meat, spinach, ... Then add another thin layer of noodles on top. Do as many layers as desire. Two or three is usually enough. So now each plate of spaghetti noodles have personal good stuff layer(s) in the center. Then top noodles with sauce to make wet instead of dry. Add optional treats to 'garnish' on top of the sauce like: chunks of chicken, beef, sausage, elk, ground meat, mushrooms, green onions, olives, capers, chives, sun-dried tomatoes, grated cheese, fresh basil, ...

          Have been calling it 'layered spaghetti' or 'personal lasagna'. Initially was 'lazy man's lasagna' because make when crave lasagna without enough motivation to make homemade noodles I like in it best.

          To taste individual flavors and mix in my mouth is something I enjoy - instead of pre-mixing things together ahead of time. So when cook for myself I often serve things separate. Five main items or less is often best. Love garnishes, sprinkles, and toppings. Allows expanded variety meal-to-meal when eating left overs.

          I prefer thin spaghetti made with whole wheat (cooked 7 minutes, drained, with olive oil stirred in). Cut down through the layers with my fork a bite at a time as eat. This way each bite has more layers of flavor. Often half way through half my plate will be empty.

      2. Do you want a traditional tomato based one?

        3 Replies
        1. re: chowser

          Ideally. Although I have considered using fresh tomato to layer with.

          1. re: Musie

            I think fresh tomatoes would release too much liquid when you bake.

            1. re: Musie

              Okay because I've made pulled pork lasagna which my carnivore husband enjoyed, although I was on the fence about it, and there is the Le marche lasagna which is excellent but not tomato based. I think fresh tomatoes would work if you oven roasted them some first.

          2. How about sausage? You can either open up the casing and cook it like that or cook it in the casing and then slice it to use when you layer the lasagna.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Philly Ray

              Last time I made lasagna I used two 8"x 8" baking dishes and put half a recipe with sausage in one, and half with Tofurkey Italian "sausage" chopped up in the other, as Mrs. O is not doing meat anymore. They were both quite good. The real sausage was just Johnsonville bulk Italian, browned in the skillet and crumbled. Not fabulous but good enough for lasagna.

              1. re: Will Owen

                I normally make lasagna 'cupcakes'. I do the traditional style lasagna filling for him and I use lentils as a meat substitute in mine. I've found lentils to be my favourite vegetarian substitution.

            2. I like Paprika Boy's idea of doing a braise (I think) of meat and using that as your ragu. Beef and pork, if you like. Tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery, wine.

              1. How about you do a spinach and/or veggie lasagne, then serve a pork, chicken, or veal piccata on the side?

                1. How about transforming chicken/turkey tetrazzini into a lasagna...

                  1. Thanks for all the replies. Lots of inspiration in my head now, so I'm going to make up my own recipe and shall report back with my results.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Musie

                      You can also do a pulled pork or beef in the crockpot and add that.

                    2. We used to use sliced or crumbled sausage And meatballs. Obviously the meatballs don't fit your requirement but sausage would.

                      1. I'm curious why you want meat but not ground. I make Hazan's green lasagna with her Bolognese sauce. Having ground meat you get it along with all the other flavors and ingredients beautifully combined together.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: c oliver

                          I've never cared for the texture of it when it is in a sauce, for many years I associated the texture with something rather unpleasant. In conclusion, I'm a fussy meat eater!

                          If I was making this purely to my likes, chances are that I would just do a vegetable lasagna, but I'm attempting to find a middle ground so that I don't need to make 2 sauces when a lasagna craving pops up.

                          1. re: Musie

                            i don't care for scattered ground meat in a lasagne, but my family always used cut-up hot sausage (from a real butcher) and tiny meatballs, which were browned and added. those are a total pita to make! lol.

                        2. So I decided to go with roast chicken, which I shredded onto the layers. I started with a layer of roasted portabello mushroom marinara, I then layered it with the chicken, slices of roasted sweet pepper and roasted mini bella mushroom. The final layer before the pasta was ricotta that I mixed with oregano, capers, spinach and fresh ground black pepper. I sprinkled fresh grated parmesan on the top and baked at 350F for 40 minutes.

                          Me and my husband both agreed that we found a good middle ground.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Musie

                            Let me see if I'm getting this. You only had ONE layer of pasta? Now THAT IS unconventional. It's always great when both parties like something. Congrats.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              I should have noted that I repeated this layering 3 times (I think it was 3).

                              My husband also wasn't sold on the chicken. But it was good enough that I won't have to make 2 sauces.

                              1. re: Musie

                                Looks great! I make lasagna rolls with chicken and pesto, and that was going to be my suggestion before I saw you already did it :)

                              2. i see you already figured it out but...
                                my sister's MIL makes a pierogi lasagna. layers of lasagna noodles, cheese, mashed potatoes and lots of butter. you could totally add meat to it. she serves with onions cooked in LOTS of butter on the side.

                                hmmm... now I can't wait for the first family birthday party of the summer, that's when she makes it. :)

                                1. Two suggestions: 1) Instead of ground meat, use beef stew meat cut into smaller pieces. 2) Make a pan of lasagna half-and-half with one side vegetarian (eggplant is good instead of meat) and the other side with meat.

                                  1. OMG, my man made the most awesome mushroom lasagna for NYE, and again recently b/c it's so delish I requested it!


                                    1. Meatballs in it, or on the side, should suffice.

                                      If you want to cut back on the meat but still have meaty flavor and texture, use shredded eggplant, and sliced mushrooms, in your tomato sauce. When I do that, it's about an ounce of browned pancetta per quart of finished sauce. Start by browning the meat, then deglaze with chopped onion and garlic, before adding the tomato product and whatever other seasonings and ingredients you like.

                                      1. My college cafeteria used to serve a "Fiesta Chicken Lasagna," and it was delicious (disclaimer: delicious in the way that Taco Bell is delicious, not the way caviar and pate is, so targeted right at a college student's palette).

                                        It was basically a chicken burrito, but in lasagna form - shredded chicken, sour cream, salsa, black olives, onions, lasagna noodles.

                                        1. I made one with homemade spinach noodles rolled out very thinly and were very tender. In the filling I used cream, wine, scallops, shrimp and mushrooms. All held together with a Bechamel sauce and a dusting of cheese to brown lightly on top. It was very good.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Candy

                                            That sounds heavenly, Candy. Do you have a recipe that you might share?

                                          2. I always slice Hot Italian Sausage, cooked, into mine, or half hot & half sweet. Everyone seems to like it.

                                            1. I have made this Butternut squash and sage lasagna and it is really delicious. You could probably add roast chicken to it for your hubs, but it might need a little more béchamel. http://www.marthastewart.com/314642/b...