Giving up gluten and dairy can be tough. It feels like you’ve been robbed of all your comfort food favorites in the name of good health (or at least pain-free digestion)—but it needn’t be. I like to see gluten- and dairy-free eating as a challenge to think outside the box when it comes to preparing good food.
On the surface, noodles and cheese seem pretty inseparable from lasagna. It’s when you start to explore using veggies and nuts in place of noodles and cheese that things really start to open up. I know what you’re thinking. This is hardly an original idea. Veggie noodle and nut cheese recipes are all over the Internet. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get on that train!
Have your lasagna and eat it too
Lasagna was one of my favorite comfort foods (and still is actually) before I discovered my health issues were caused by various food sensitivities. Choosing between a few minutes of indulgent eating followed by days of digestive upset or forgoing this tasty dish entirely wasn’t really a tough decision for me, although I did miss my old favorite. Of course, my story doesn’t end there…
Fast forward a few years and the days of lasagna longing are far behind me. Let lasagna cravings be satisfied and tummies rejoice! Seriously though, this sweet potato lasagna is where it’s at. Now I feel like I was missing out (and paying for it) all those years of eating soggy noodles and layers-upon-layers of cheese.
You may have guessed already that sweet potatoes play a starring role as the “noodle” in this recipe layered with a delicious ricotta cashew cheese and easy homemade marinara. Even if you decide not to make the full lasagna recipe, don’t pass up the marinara and ricotta. They are delicious in their own right and can be used in a variety of other preparations.
Sweet Potato Love
Did you know sweet potatoes aren’t potatoes at all? In fact, they are a member of the morning glory family. Richer in antioxidants and lower on the glycemic index than conventional potatoes, they also cook faster, making them an excellent substitute for traditional spuds. They also differ from and are commonly mislabeled as yams. Yams are larger, starchier and not nearly as sweet. Most tubers labeled yams at the store are more than likely sweet potatoes.
We could all benefit from eating more of this vibrant tuber. Rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients, blood sugar regulating compounds and anti-oxidant carotenoids (and anthocyanins in the case of purple hued varieties), sweet potatoes pack a nutritional punch in a tasty package. Enough, in fact to meet 35-90% of our vitamin A needs from a mere 3.5oz serving (uptake can be increased by adding a little fat). Sweet potatoes also boast high levels of vitamin C, manganese, copper and B vitamins.
The more vibrant flesh equals higher antioxidant content, so choose sweet potatoes that have more intense hues (deep orange, red or purple). The color of the skin can be deceiving so ask your grocer or farmer if you’re unsure. Varieties such as Stokes Purple and Carolina Ruby are good choices.
What are your favorite comfort foods you’ve stopped eating in the name of good health and a happy tummy?
 Sweet Potatoes. The Worlds Healthiest Foods, n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2015. <http://whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=64>.
 Robinson, Jo. Eating on the Wild Side. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2013, p 130. Print