Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Better Than Lasagna Soup - Featuring Buffalo (Gluten-Free & Low-Carb option)

Better than Lasagna Soup



Who doesn't like lasagna? But who likes to take the time to make the lasagna? Not I (usually). Lasagna soup is a good idea. It's fast and yummy if you season it right. It is a leaner dish than calorie-laden lasagna and you can easily make it gluten-free and low carb.

There are a few key ingredients that make the difference in this delicious soup. Balsamic vinegar adds some brightness and depth. The Brown sugar substitute curbs the acidity of the tomatoes, balancing out the flavors. A touch of hot pepper flakes adds a little warmth, and the whole fennel seeds give a nice exotic sweetness.

A trick is to salt the soup after it has cooked. The ingredients absorb a lot of the salt if it's added at the beginning of cooking time, leading to increased salt usage. Add the sweetener at the end too.

This hearty soup makes a nice family friendly meal and the leftovers taste great. You can serve this lasagna soup with a nice salad for a low-carb meal.


BETTER THAN LASAGNA SOUP Recipe:

1 pound ground buffalo meat (and/or organic ground beef chuck, or Italian sausage, or ground turkey)
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, smashed in a mortar & pestle (or more garlic, to taste)
1 large yellow sweet bell pepper, diced
2 t. Italian herb seasoning
1 t. dried basil
1 t. fennel seeds (omit if using Italian sausage)
1/8 to 1/4 t. hot red pepper flakes, optional
50 grinds freshly ground black pepper
1 large bay leaf
2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 (14.5-ounce) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 (32-ounce) box organic chicken stock or broth
1 c. purified water
2 c. (6 ounces) broken lasagna noodles (gluten-free), about 8 noodles
2 t. balsamic vinegar
1 T. Brown Just Like Sugar (brown sugar replacement), up to 2 T., to taste (or Golden Lakanto)
1 T. BioSalt or sea salt (recipe on this blog), to taste
6 ounces organic raw spinach leaves, roughly chopped

Garnish: mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese, and possibly a drizzle of high quality olive oil.


Method:

In a large soup pot, brown the meat of choice with the onions, garlic, and yellow bell pepper, over medium-high heat, until the meat is browned and crumbly.

Drain the fat if needed. Buffalo is so lean that you won't need to. I use lean organic beef, so I don't drain that either.Turkey is extra lean too. The only meat that may need to be drained is high-fat sausage. B-T-W, turkey Italian sausage is good too!

Add the spices and saute with the meat for a minute (to bloom the flavors of the spices).

Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth, and the 1 cup water. I use the water to first rinse out all the cans, which easily removes all the stuck-in-the-can tomato sauce.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn down the heat and let simmer, covered for 15 minutes.

Add the pasta of choice, and cook until the pasta is tender, but not mushy.

Add  2 t. balsamic vinegar.

Season with salt and sugar substitute, to taste.

Right before serving, add the chopped spinach. Stir in to wilt the spinach and serve.

Garnish with cheeses if desired.



Tips: 

You may substitute the broken lasagna noodles for campanelle, bow tie pasta, or medium shells.

To make paleo or low-carb: Omit pasta and serve over barely steamed zucchini "noodles" (thinly sliced zucchini).


 

Note: 

Just Like Sugar is a sugar-free substitute for brown sugar. It is all-natural, gluten-free, 0 carbs, 0 calories, no aftertaste, diabetic and celiac safe.

It's ingredient list:

Chicory root dietary fiber
Calcium
Vitamin C
Natural flavors from the peel of an orange
Natural molasses type flavor

Looks pretty good right?


Photos of the lasagna soup in progress:


Saute the onion, garlic and bell pepper with the buffalo meat.

Broken lasagna noodles in bite-sized pieces.

The chicken broth and fire roasted tomatoes have been added to the soup pot.

The soup has simmered 15 minutes.

The pasta has finished simmering in the soup and the seasonings have been adjusted.

The raw chopped spinach has been stirred into the finished soup.

A garnished bowl of Better Than Lasagna Soup!



Dig in!

Leila