Allergen-Free Italian Night.

I have always loved Italian food! To this day I fantasize about biting into a thin crispy pizza crust or twirling my fork around a bold pasta dish. However, several years ago I found out I was sensitive to wheat and allergic to cow dairy (more on my allergies later) and thought I would never be able to enjoy those flavors again. Somehow I kept the faith. I guess I knew deep down that there was no way I could ever for-go my love affair with Italy or its cuisine.

And it was one rainy Saturday night while living in New York, my best friend, Simona and I developed the basis for this recipe. I have since changed a few things about it but it will always remain a staple in my recipe book. It's an ALLERGEN-FREE and healthy alternative to any Italian meal you love. Plus it is fresh, simple and seriously satisfies a need for a comforting meal. Just ask my fiancé who is actually Italian... he loves this one too!

Quinoa Lasagna

1 cup of quinoa (dry)

1 zucchini

1 cup of spinach

4 ripe tomatoes

1 bunch of fresh basil

Raw goat cheese

Sea salt to taste

Cayenne pepper to taste

It's so easy to make... first cook the quinoa per the instructions on the package; this typically takes about 15 minutes. While it is cooking slice the zucchini long ways into thin slices, if you have a mandoline, even better. Next put tomatoes in the blender with basil, sea salt to taste and a splash of water and pulse until you reach your desired consistency for a sauce... I like mine a little chunky. Then grate the cheese and set aside. To prepare you will use a basic casserole dish and prep just like a typical lasagna. Well... sorta. Start with a layer of quinoa, pat it down a little. Add layer of sauce. Next a layer of goat cheese. Then layer the zucchini. Then a layer of spinach, followed by another layer of quinoa. Repeat sauce and cheese. Top with some zucchini and some fresh tomatoes, cayenne and basil as you like. Then cheese again. Bake on 425 for 35 minutes or until the top starts to brown a little. And taa-da!


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