Sweet Potato Lasagna| sheenascott.com

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!

Easy Marinara | sheenascott.com

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.

Sweet Potato Lasagna | sheenascott.com

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 Lasagna | sheenascott.com

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.

Sweet Potato Lasagna | sheenascott.com

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).[1] 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.[2]

What are your favorite comfort foods you’ve stopped eating in the name of good health and a happy tummy?

Sweet Potato Lasagna

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: Makes a large pan

The Easy Marinara and Herbed Ricotta Cashew Cheese can easily be prepared a day in advance, making this lasagna a weeknight option. Leftovers reheat well in the oven - tasting even better the next day!


  • 2 medium-large sweet potatoes
  • a few sprigs of fresh basil
  • one batch of Herbed Ricotta Cashew Cheese (recipe below)
  • one batch of Easy Marinara (recipe below)
  • For the Easy Marinara:
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1 leek (or another onion)
  • 2 ribs of celery
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp each fresh basil, oregano and thyme (or 2 tsp each dried)
  • 4 14.5oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 lb. pastured ground beef or 4 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tsp sea salt (less or none if your tomatoes aren’t "no-salt added")
  • Black pepper to taste
  • For the Herbed Ricotta Cashew Cheese:
  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 6-8 hours in warm water with a squeeze of lemon.
  • juice of 1 lemon (about ¼ cup)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh basil, oregano, thyme or parsley (optional)
  • Black pepper to taste


    Prepare the Easy Marinara:
  1. Finely dice the carrots, onion, celery and leek (if using). Melt the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the finely chopped vegetables. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the carrots have softened – 10-15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile mince the fresh herbs. When the vegetables have softened, add them to the pot along with the garlic. Stir frequently, until fragrant.
  3. Now stir in the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  4. Transfer to a blender in batches (be careful-hot liquids can build up pressure if not vented) or use an immersion blender to blend until very smooth.
  5. In a separate pan, brown the ground beef or mushrooms and drain. Stir into the marinara sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Prepare the Herbed Ricotta Cashew Cheese
  7. Drain and rinse the cashews. Transfer to a food processor with the lemon juice, olive oil, water and salt.
  8. Process until the mixture resembles ricotta cheese, scraping down the sides as you go. If it seems a little thick add more water 1 tsp at a time. You want it to be spreadable, but not runny.
  9. Fold in the minced herbs if using and a few cracks of pepper. Add more salt, pepper or lemon to taste.
  10. Assemble the Lasagna
  11. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  12. Using a mandolin slicer or a sharp knife, slice the sweet potato into thin uniform rounds.
  13. Transfer to a steamer and steam until soft, but not squishy (you should be able to handle them without falling apart). Set aside to cool.
  14. If you made the marinara ahead of time heat it up.
  15. Get out a large 9x12 casserole dish and set up an assembly line: Start with a little marinara, then sweet potato (overlapping slightly), ricotta and finally a sprinkle of torn basil leaves. Keep layering until you’ve filled the pan, leaving sauce for your last layer and reserving a few basil leaves to garnish.
  16. Bake until the lasagna is heated through and the sauce is bubbling around the edges –45-60 minutes. Let rest for 15min or so before slicing.
  17. Serve sprinkled with the reserved fresh basil.

[1] Sweet Potatoes. The Worlds Healthiest Foods, n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2015. <http://whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=64>.

[2] Robinson, Jo. Eating on the Wild Side. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2013, p 130. Print


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