When I meal plan I don’t think about fitting dishes to fit a certain “diet” like Paleo or low carb. I think more in terms of how can I pack the most nutrients into their diet each day. We all want our kids to eat tons of vegetables, but sometimes it is a struggle to get enough in them.
A diet rich in vegetables adds gut building fiber and fights inflammation. I serve visible and invisible vegetables at every meal and snack. It does not have to be fancy or anything exotic.
Sometimes the visible vegetables could be raw peppers or steamed cauliflower. Or, maybe raw greens like arugula or swiss chard chopped with tomato or avocado.
The invisible vegetables are even more powerful because I can get a lot in them. I use my absolute favorite kitchen essential, my Vitamix everyday. You can pack a smoothie full of raw greens, celery, cauliflower, carrots and fresh herbs then add a banana and some berries…presto, you have a glass full of veggies. This recipe is full of hidden veggies in a gut healing, nutrient dense dish.
INGREDIENTS: Note, this dish is SUPER forgiving and can easily adjust to fit your families tastebuds. I usually go on what is growing in the garden and available at the farmer’s market. Use the recipe as a a framework and then create your own dish.
3 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced
2 purple bell peppers, seeded and sliced
2 banana peppers, seeded and sliced
3 huge cloves of elephant garlic, minced
1 whole yellow onion, sliced
2 small butternut squash
2 quarts of homemade bone broth
4 sprigs of rosemary
1 small bunch of sage (~1/4 cup chopped)
1 large bunch of basil (~1/2 cup chopped)
3 cups frozen organic spinach
3 Tbsp coconut oil
8 Gluten free lasagna noodles (I used these, from Thrive Market)
2 pounds organic ground turkey
1 pound of white button mushrooms
Preheat the oven to 375F. Slice your butternut squash in half and lightly drizzle the top with olive oil. Add one sprig of rosemary under each half and place flesh side down on a baking sheet. Roast the squash for 45 min or until it is soft to the touch.
While the squash is roasting, use a large frying pan to saute your peppers, garlic and onion in coconut oil over medium heat. When the veggies are tender, add your sage and basil along with salt and pepper. Remove the veggies from the pan and set aside. Use the same pan to brown your turkey. When the turkey is completely browned remove from the heat and set aside.
When the squash is done, let it cool and then scoop out the flesh and season with salt and pepper. (This is a great job for littles to help with)
Next add half of the squash and half of the sautéed veggies alone with half of the bone broth to your vitamix. Puree all together. Repeat this process with the remaining sauce.
Now it’s time to assemble. Use a large lasagna pan and start with a layer of sauce on the bottom, add a thin layer of spinach.
Next add your ground turkey and then mushrooms.
Then add four lasagna noodles.
Repeat this process one more time. You can then bake the lasagna, covered on 375F for one hour or cover tightly and freeze or refrigerate it and bake it the next day. This dish serves our family of six for three nights.
The picture does not do this dish justice. The sauce is loaded with fiber rich vegetables along with collagen building bone broth. Homemade bone broth is rich in glycine which is one of the main components of collagen. It is also rich in glutamine which is important for gut barrier health, skin health in general and repair of damaged tissues in the body. The rice noodles add little to nothing nutritionally. They act more as a binder in this dish. The spinach and mushrooms give some visible vegetables to keep the mental stimulus there that we eat our veggies every meal.
I topped the dish with some raw sharp cheddar. (Totally optional) I served this dish with steamed broccoli with salt and olive oil, roast sweet potatoes and a small side of sauerkraut. You don’t have to do this. My kids do better with some extra variety on their plate. If I just brought out the lasagna it would not be as big a hit.
I hope you enjoy!!