Roasted Eggplant Lasagna (low carb, gluten free, vegetarian)

Is there anything more delightful than an eggplant? THAT WAS A TRICK QUESTION. Because the answer is yesroasted eggplant, which is in fact marginally more delightful than just regular eggplant.

For those who require examples of the aforementioned delight: baba ganoush, ratatouille, stir fry, moussaka – the (delightful) possibilities are simply endless for this glossy, purple fruit! It also boasts an impressive array of many vitamins and minerals, such as excellent amounts of fiber, folate, potassium and manganese, as well as vitamins C, K, and B6, phosphorus, copper, thiamin, niacin, and magnesium. It even contains phytonutrients with high antioxidant compounds.

But let’s not kid ourselves. What’s the first thing you think of when you think of eggplant dishes? That’s right. This fine aubergine is usually just relegated to second fiddle in an eggplant parmesan – breaded, fried, and reduced to mush under a mountain of sauce and cheese.

Now, I won’t even lie. I am entirely ok with the mountain of sauce and cheese. So let’s work on everything else.

AS PROMISED: mountains of sauce and cheese.

Baked, grilled, roasted – nothing brings out the ~*~rich complexity~*~ in an eggplant’s flavor than some lovin’ in the oven (…or grill). Plus, with its dense, robust texture, it makes an excellent substitute for meat in vegetarian or vegan cuisine.

So let’s keep it classic. We want sauce, we want cheese, and we want eggplant playing a better role than ‘breadcrumb vehicle’. Here’s an idea: ROASTED EGGPLANT LASAGNA (this is where you get excited because I said just the title of the movie post). Now it’s low carb, gluten free, and still accessible to our vegetarian friends!!

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Roasted Eggplant Lasagna (low carb, gluten free, vegetarian)

Yields: Around 8 servings

Ingredients:

3-4 medium to large eggplants
Olive oil spray AND/OR about 3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, seasonings of choice (I used Penzeys Italian Herb Mix, which includes oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme and rosemary)
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes (I used a ‘no salt added’ variety)
1 16 oz. jar no sugar added tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 to 2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella (I used part-skim mozzarella)
Chopped parsley, for topping

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400º, and line a large baking sheet (or sheets) with aluminum foil. Spray or drizzle with olive oil.

Slice eggplant and lay on baking sheet(s) in a single layer. Lightly salt and season, and spray, brush, or drizzle with olive oil again.

Place in oven and roast for 30 – 45 minutes, flipping each slice over about halfway through. (NOTE: if some slices are thinner than others, they may brown and crisp up – these make AWESOME eggplant chips and are excellent for snacking on. NO MISTAKES HERE.)

While eggplant roasts, pour the diced tomatoes into a colander placed in the sink, and allow to drain.

Spread about 1/4 cup tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of a large casserole dish. Layer with roasted eggplant, and then top with the drained diced tomatoes. Sprinkle about 2 tbsp parmesan and 1/2 cup of mozzarella, and then continue layering with eggplant, tomato sauce, and cheeses until eggplant runs out. Make sure you finish with a glorious layer of mozzarella and parmesan!

Bake about 30-40 minutes, or until cheese melts and begins to brown. Top with fresh chopped parsley, and serve hot.

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Nutritional Info (as calculated with olive oil spray):

roasted eggplant nutrition

 

“Nutella” Cupcakes (Low carb, no sugar added, gluten free, dairy free)

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Here is why America is the greatest country on Earth: Nutella.

I know. You’re thinking, “Nutella is an Italian product.” Ok, yes, smartypants, but this isn’t about origin. It’s about availability. And while European markets may be rife with Nutella delights, so are American ones. But it gets better: we also have peanut butter, speculoos spread, and even products SWIRLED WITH MORE THAN ONE. Europe, step YOUR GAME UP. (disclaimer: I still love Europe.)

We have all of these spreads available in spades. You know when even Jif is trying to get in on the chocolatey hazelnut action, it’s hit the mainstream.

And yet, in a sea of variety and choice, I was still left completely deprived in the Nutella department. True tragedy: the very first ingredient in Nutella is sugar. Great. Sure, there are loads of excellent recipes available to make your own, but sometimes you want to be able to just buy something instead of exhausting all that effort. HAZELNUTS DON’T BLANCH THEMSELVES, YOU KNOW.

So, essentially: water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink. 

This is why I openly wept with joy when Go Lo Foods sent me a few samples of their Sugar Free Dark Hazelnut Spread With Cocoa. Sweetened with erythritol (my sweetener of choice!), it literally says “100% less sugar than Nutella” on the packaging. Yes. 

IMG_6051Read it and weep (with joy).

Straight off the spoon, this spread provides a mellow, dark chocolatey hazelnut flavor without the cloying sweetness of so many other spreads. With a bag of hazelnut flour, some sugar free dark hazelnut spread, and a dream, I knew what I had to do. I had to stop eating the samples long enough to make nutella cupcakes. 

I opted for a simple vanilla buttercream to let the hazelnutty chocolate goodness be the real star of the show. One bite of these brought me to my knees. I am actually still on my knees. It has been very uncomfortable to type this.

So come join me on the floor and whip up a batch of these today! Thanks, Go Lo Foods!

“Nutella” Cupcakes (Low carb, no added sugar, gluten free, dairy free)

Cupcake recipe adapted from Keto Adapted 

Yields: About 12 regular cupcakes, or 24 mini cupcakes

Ingredients: 

Cupcakes:
2 cups hazelnut or almond flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 egg whites, or about 1/3 cup egg whites
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
½ cup granulated sweetener
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp liquid stevia, optional

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
½ cup butter or dairy-free spread, softened
2 – 2 ½ cups powdered sweetener
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp almond milk or heavy whipping cream
¼ cup Go Lo Foods Sugar Free Dark Hazelnut Spread With Cocoa

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F and line cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, combine the hazelnut or almond flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, combine almond milk, egg whites, sweetener, stevia, and vanilla extract.

Stir the wet ingredients into the hazelnut or almond flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Spoon the batter into the liners, about 2/3rds full.

For regular-sized cupcakes, bake 18-25 minutes (around 12-18 minutes for mini, but keep an eye on them), until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

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To make buttercream frosting, beat softened butter or dairy-free spread and powdered sweetener until well combined and smooth.

Add vanilla extract and unsweetened almond milk or cream and beat until fully incorporated, adding more if needed for spreading consistency.

Spoon or pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

For topping, spoon or pipe dark chocolate hazelnut spread on top of vanilla buttercream in swirls or melt slightly and drizzle over frosting. Enjoy!!

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Nutritional Info (Calculated for 12 regular-sized cupcakes, with hazelnut flour and dairy-free spread):

nutella cupcake nutrition 

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, however I did receive a sample for my review. All opinions expressed are purely my own and not influenced in any way.

Classic Hamantaschen (low carb, gluten free, no added sugar, dairy free)

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With all the accidental Lenten festivities going on last week, it only seemed right to include some other theological treats in the fun. And with Purim right around the corner, what better than a makeover of the classic hamantaschen cookie?

Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from Haman, a huge jerk that planned to murder all of them because he didn’t like one guy in particular. Hamantaschen are a traditional filled pastry folded into a triangle, generally thought to be referencing Haman’s three-pointed hat. Eating the hat of your enemies: APPROVED.

Now I have seen recipes for hamantaschen that put this one to shame – red velvet, brownie-filled, funfetti-cheesecake hamantaschen – but what’s the hurry? Build up to those, I say. Let’s start with the classics.

Well, classically, hamantaschen are filled with a variety of sweet fillings, like poppy seed (the oldest and most traditional variety), apricot, raspberry, raisins, fruit preserves, cherry, fig, chocolate, or even caramel or cheese.

Being a cheap lady of distinguished taste and discretion, I opted for apricot and raspberry as my fillings of choice, also because I already had a jar of each. (But THAT was because those two are the best fillings for anything, so really it all comes full circle.)

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I acknowledge that for someone who hates making cookies as much as I do, I am doing an EXCELLENT job at finding recipes to make them at every opportunity. That being said, these are pretty painless in terms of effort, even though they look so fancy. I promise! I’ve included pictures on how to fold them and everything!

With some simple substitutions for flour and sweetener, it was almost TOO easy to create an authentic hamantaschen minus all the wheaty-ness, sugary-ness, and gluten…ness. Plus, this is a cultural learning experience! This way, we all win.

Come, let us nosh.

Classic Hamantaschen (low carb, gluten free, no added sugar, dairy free)

Recipe adapted from All Day I Dream About Food

Yields: About 15 cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup sweetener
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg white, or about 2-3 tbsp egg white
2 1/2 tbsp butter or dairy-free spread, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp stevia extract
1/4 cup sugar-free or reduced sugar raspberry preserves
1/4 cup sugar-free or reduced sugar apricot preserves

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 325°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine almond flour, sweetener, and salt in a medium bowl. Add egg white, vanilla and stevia extracts, and melted butter or dairy-free spread, and stir until dough comes together.

Always make a tiny version of the thing you are making when the opportunity presents itself.

Roll out dough onto a large piece of parchment paper. Using another large piece of parchment on top, roll out to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out rounds using (no smaller than) a 3 inch round cookie cutter.

Using a spatula or knife, very gently loosen rounds from parchment and transfer to prepared baking sheet.

Re-roll dough and cut out more rounds as necessary, until dough runs out. Spoon about 3/4 tsp of either raspberry or apricot preserves into the center of each circle.

Fold the dough in from three sides and firmly pinch the corners. The dough will be delicate, so don’t worry if you find yourself patching up little tears and cracks along the way.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until edges are just golden brown. Remove and let cool completely before attempting to transfer to any other plate/dish. Nosh away!

Nutritional Info (Calculated with dairy-free spread and sugar-free preserves):

hamantaschen nutrition

Healthier Fish Fry (low carb, gluten free)

fishfry8WE HAVE ALREADY CONFIRMED that I am a complete slave to suggestion.

That being said, I have obviously passed way too many signs advertising all the delicious ‘FISH FRY DAY’ events around town.

I mean, earlier this week was macaroni and cheese, for god’s sake. If eating traditional Lenten fare was a requirement for observing it, I would be the greatest Catholic on earth. (As opposed to “not Catholic at all”, which is my regular status.) I BLAME THE FISH FRY SIGNS.

Then again, if there’s anyone who can deny the siren call of a crispy, crunchy, flaky fried filet o’ fish, please never introduce me. Because there is obviously something very wrong going on there.

BUT, as you might imagine, the usual panko-breading or beer-battering would not integrate especially well into a low-carb, grain-free, or gluten-free diet. So what now? No fish fries? WOULD I DO THAT TO YOU? You want a fish fry, you got a fish fry. No one gets denied anything ’round these parts. In fact, BONUS: let’s even make it pretty good for you

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Sizzling sounds left to your imagination.

It goes without saying that eating fish is a highly recommended source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and numerous vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E. There’s a reason cod liver oil is a thing, and it’s not just to punish feisty young whipper-snappers.

But while we’re talking about ultra-nutritious additions to your diet, let’s talk about flaxseed. While the seeds from most plants provide a wealth of health benefits, flaxseed is uniquely fantastic:

Well. And here we just wanted some fried fish. Side of antioxidant compounds included.

I opted to use golden flaxseed meal over brown purely because it was prettier. Brown and golden flaxseeds boast almost identical nutritional benefits, so feel free to use whatever’s most accessible to you.

After that it was a simple matter of adding in some savory grated parmesan cheese and a dash of colorful choice spices. Now we’ve got ourselves a ‘healthified’ fish fry! Hallelujah.

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Healthier Fish Fry (low carb, gluten free)

Yields: Around 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 pound skinless cod, cut into preferred size strips
2 large egg whites or about 1/4 cup egg whites 
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ancho chili powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
Oil for frying (olive oil, avocado oil, etc)

Directions:

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In a shallow, wide bowl combine flaxseed meal, grated parmesan, and spices. Place egg whites in a separate bowl.

Heat oil (around 1/8 inch) in heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat.

Dip prepared cod strips into egg whites, and then dredge in flaxseed mixture, turning to coat pieces completely.

Fry fish in oil for about 4 to 6 minutes, turning once, until fish flakes easily and has browned slightly on both sides. Remove fish from hot pan and serve immediately.

Nutritional Info:

fish fry nutrition

 

The Cheesiest Macaroni & Cheese, and Saucy Sodium Citrate Science?! (Low carb, gluten free, vegetarian adaptable)

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STORY TIME: Several years ago, I had surgery to remove all four of my wisdom teeth. I was advised to eat softer, easy-to-chew foods while recovering. Miserable, swollen, and doped up on painkillers, I ate macaroni and cheese exclusively for every meal that week.

It was the greatest week of my life.

YOU GET IT. Mac and cheese is one of those foods that just completes me. I am definitely in the majority when I say this. It is among the finest of melty cheese delivery systems ever conceived.

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Honestly I still can’t see blue and yellow together without my brain autofilling KRAFT® MACARONI AND CHEESE. It could be dish soap. It could be the Swedish flag. It doesn’t even matter. I have been CONDITIONED.

This is probably why it took me a super long time to question the fact that everyone’s favorite cheese sauce was from a packet of day-glow orange powder. I am not going to tell you what I have since learned about this powder. I’ll just say the good news is that at least the second to last ingredient actually references cheese. After Yellow 5 and Yellow 6.

Well. All right. But cheese is the # 1 ingredient of my SOUL. It stands to reason that it should also be the #1 ingredient in my cheese sauce.

IMG_5979SEND HELP.

So I did what I do best and asked the internet. And the internet provided. 

Let me tell you about the magical ingredient called sodium citrate. Sodium citrate is the sodium salt of citric acid (which occurs naturally in citrus fruits). In a cheese sauce, sodium citrate allows the proteins to become more soluble which creates a smooth emulsion without curdling.

So science science, blah blah. What’s my point? My point is that with nothing but water and just a pinch of sodium citrate, you can use literally any cheese you want and make the perfect, smooth melty cheese sauce of your dreams. We’re talking gruyere, gouda, cheddar, muenster, you name it. A nacho cheese sauce made of BRIE. The sheer possibilities are overwhelming. I am overwhelmed.

This was definitely more ideal than cheese as my #1 ingredient. This was pretty much cheese as my only ingredient. This is a pure, unadulterated cheese sauce without added thickeners, flours, or preservatives of any kind. Like homemade Velveeta, but incomparably better! Plus, mad scientist food chemistry!! SIGN ME RIGHT UP.

Sodium citrate can be easily purchased online and will last you for ages. HOWEVER: I understand that this isn’t exactly up everyone’s alley, so I’ve also provided a simple, more classic (still low-carb!) cheese sauce recipe for your macaroni and cheese needs.

To keep this low-carb and grain free, I’m using the same noodle I used in my ramen recipe – a ziti-shaped shirataki noodle. Again, you’re more than welcome to substitute in zucchini noodles (aka zoodles), kelp noodles, spaghetti squash, cabbage, or just some plain old gluten-free noodles (keeping in mind the carb count would change).

So come join me for some saucy sodium citrate science! Lab coats and safety goggles optional, but encouraged.

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The Cheesiest Mac & Cheese, and Saucy Sodium Citrate Science (Low carb, gluten free, vegetarian adaptable)

Recipe adapted from Modernist Cuisine

Yields: Around 6 servings

Ingredients:
3-4 packages of ziti or elbow shaped shirataki noodles/tofu shirataki 
11-14 grams sodium citrate (I used a scale)
Water, around 1/2 cup or just enough to dissolve the sodium citrate
3-4 cups cheese of your choice (I used a light mild cheddar)
12 oz. chicken, cooked
1 cup zucchini (or broccoli, spinach, etc), diced
1-2 tbsp grated parmesan, optional
Olive oil spray

Instructions:

If using shirataki noodles, empty bags into a colander and drain all the liquid. Rinse well under water.

Drain noodles and transfer to a hot pan without any oil, grease, or liquid. Heat on medium-high for 5-10 minutes, or until noodles release steam and shrink slightly (but not too much!).

Add diced zucchini to pan and sautee until slightly browned. Set aside.

Place water in a large saucepan, add the sodium citrate, and stir until dissolved. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Gradually add cheese to the simmering liquid, using a wire whisk to combine after each addition, until all of the cheese is melted and smooth.

IMG_6046The process of deliciousness.

TIP: If the sauce begins to separate, add a pinch more sodium citrate and a splash of water. Bring back to a boil, and continue whisking until sauce is smooth again. 

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Once the cheese sauce has reached the desired consistency, add in cooked chicken and the shirataki and zucchini mixture. Combine until evenly coated in cheese sauce.

Spray an 8″ x 11″ casserole dish with non-stick spray or olive oil. Transfer mac and cheese mixture into dish and sprinkle with grated parmesan. Place under broiler for 5-10 minutes (keep an eye on it!) until golden brown. Serve hot! (Cheese will thicken slightly as it cools.)

 

And as promised, a more traditional recipe for cheese sauce:

Recipe adapted from The Keto Kitchen

1 cup heavy cream or milk of choice (half & half, almond, coconut, etc)
2 oz neufchâtel or cream cheese, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 cups cheddar, shredded
12 oz. chicken, cooked
1 cup zucchini, diced (or broccoli, spinach, etc)
1-2 tbsp grated parmesan, for topping
1/8 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

Bring the cream or milk to a simmer in a small saucepan, and whisk in the cream cheese and mustard until smooth.

Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic and whisk just until the cheese melts, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat, pour over the shirataki, zucchini, and chicken and stir to combine.

Spray an 8″ x 11″ casserole dish with non-stick spray or olive oil. Transfer mac and cheese mixture into dish and sprinkle with grated parmesan. Place until broiler until browned, about 5-10 minutes. Serve hot!

Nutritional Info (As calculated with shirataki, zucchini, and sodium citrate sauce):

mac n cheese nutrition

Healthy Shamrock Shake! (low carb, sugar free, gluten free, vegan)

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I have always been under the impression that there is not a single drop of Irish blood in my entire body.

But living in a country containing such rich and diverse multicultural histories, I needed to know for sure. So I decided to do some research. Where to start? I considered investigating the brittle, dog-eared pages of our aged photo albums; breaking into the library by moonlight and stealing the newspaper microforms of days past-

But that seemed like a lot of work so I just decided to ask my parents. Anyway I was right and I am not even a little bit Irish.

But!! If you thought that was going to stop me from presenting you with a traditionally green-tinted recipe celebrating our dearest Saint Patrick, THINK AGAIN.

Saint Patrick’s Day is a public holiday all around the world, and as you might imagine, each country has its own meaningful traditions and customs to celebrate. Religious ceremonies, parades, and music festivals, just to name a few.

In America, we have McDonald’s Shamrock Shake. Limited time only!!

Yes, nothing fills me with a second-hand Irish glow of pride like driving past a McDonald’s at the end of February and seeing the familiar letters proclaiming: IT’S BACK. They don’t even need to say it. We know.

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So I took a look at the ingredients in a Shamrock Shake. I regretted it immediately. And then, as my train of thought usually goes: I CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS.

To be fair, the bar was set kinda low. There are approximately 700 ingredients in a Shamrock Shake. Cutting down on that isn’t hard when you can’t walk into a grocery store and pick up a fresh tub of Polysorbate 80.

But it wasn’t enough that my version be without all the junk. No, it had to also include HEALTHY STUFF. Oh yes. Time to feel extra self-righteous.

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First things first: it needed to be green. This was the perfect opportunity to include my favorite ~*~SECRET INGREDIENT~*~ which I have openly displayed in my header photo. You got it: avocado!!

shamrock1SO BEAUTIFUL I COULD WEEP.

Naturally green? Check.
Smooth, creamy texture without a dominating flavor? Check.
LOADED with several B vitamins and vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E and potassium? Check.
PACKED with fiber and healthy monounsaturated fats? CHECKI could go on. 

The rest was easy. Almond milk (for our vegan friends!), sweetener, and some natural flavor extracts, and it’s like it was meant to be. Six ingredients, guys. That’s including ICE CUBES. And just for kicks, I’ve included McDonald’s nutritional info for a small Shamrock Shake in comparison with a serving of mine below. Check it out, and gasp dramatically for hours!

So get in touch with your (BASICALLY) Irish side and celebrate St. Paddy’s Day all year round with this recipe!

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Healthy Shamrock Shake! (low carb, sugar free, gluten free, vegan)

Recipe adapted from Holistically Engineered

Yields: About 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup powdered sweetener (I used Confectioners Swerve)
1 tsp mint or peppermint extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup ice cubes

Optional, for topping:
Homemade whipped cream (heavy whipping cream, awwww yess) or whipped coconut cream for dairy free/vegan

Instructions:

Place all ingredients except toppings into a blender and blend on high power until smooth. Divide between four fancy glasses (or honestly, don’t even share). If using, top with whipped cream or coconut cream.

Nutritional Info:

My version (if you CAN’T TELL) is on the left (calculated without optional toppings). McDonald’s nutritional info (…on the right) for a small, 12 oz. shake found here on their website.

 

 

Deconstructed Deep Dish Pizza Casserole (low carb, gluten free)

 

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Nothing brings out the absolute best in me like pizza. For the purposes of this post, “the absolute best” will be defined as “an uncontrollable, rabid animal who single-mindedly annihilates the largest amount of food in the shortest amount of time possible.”

Nothing else in the room exists until the pizza has been completely demolished. It borders on primal. Probably this goes back to when our Paleolithic ancestors roamed the earth, hunting day and night for the freshest wild mozzarella and pepperonis. It’s just evolution at work. It’s SCIENCE.

Dat melty, cheesy ooze. I need a moment. 

So while there’s an appropriate time and place for a quality (low carb or otherwise) pizza dough, my prehistoric tendencies demanded a more basic approach. Meat. Cheese. Toppings. More cheese. MORE MEAT. This would be pizza: DECONSTRUCTED.

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A lot of people seem to be under the impression that pizza could never be a low carb food. These people would be very wrong. What is pizza if not the sum of its toppings? I don’t need dough as a vehicle. I have my HANDS. And in the presence of others, begrudgingly, a fork.

That’s where this magnificent casserole comes into play. With a base of seasoned chicken sausage, LOADED with vegetables and crowned with beautifully bubbling and browned cheeses, you will be lacking for literally nothing when it comes to pizza night. Which you can now justify renaming “every night”.

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Deconstructed Deep Dish Pizza Casserole (low carb, gluten free)

Recipe adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen

*I hate to leave our vegetarian or vegan friends out of the fun! If they’re part of your diet, feel free to substitute veggie versions of the protein or vegan cheese alternatives for this recipe! They’ll work just fine. 

Yields: Around 6 servings

Ingredients:
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes (I used a ‘no salt added‘ variety)
5 links (19.5 oz.) uncooked chicken or turkey Italian sausage (I used Italian bulk chicken sausage)
1-2 tsp Italian herb seasoning (I used Penzeys – a mix of oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme and rosemary)
8-12 oz. fresh mushrooms, washed and cut into thick slices
1/4 cup green peppers
1/4 cup green onions/scallions
1 cup spinach
1 1/2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese (I used part-skim mozzarella)
1-2 tbsp grated parmesan
14 slices regular or turkey pepperoni, cut in half (I used this brand)
Fresh basil, for topping

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°. Spray an 8″ x 11″ casserole dish with non-stick spray or olive oil.

Pour the diced tomatoes into a colander placed in the sink. While tomatoes drain, spray olive oil/non-stick spray into a large frying pan, squeeze the sausage out of the casing, and brown over medium-high heat, breaking it apart as it cooks.

While sausage cooks, prepare other vegetables. Wash mushrooms, pat dry, and slice into thick slices. Dice green peppers and scallions.

When the sausage is done, make a layer of sausage in the bottom of the casserole dish and top with the drained tomatoes, spreading them out over the top of the sausage. Season with Italian herb spices.

Return to pan, and spray with olive oil or a non-stick spray. Add in green peppers and scallions and cook at medium high heat for around two minutes.

Add the mushrooms and cook until all the liquid is released and the mushrooms are starting to brown. Add spinach and cook until just wilted.

Layer the mushrooms, pepper, scallion, and spinach over the sausage-tomato mixture. Cut pepperoni in half. Sprinkle the shredded Mozzarella over the top of the casserole and lay the pepperoni pieces on top of the cheese, spacing them evenly so the whole top is covered with pepperoni. Sprinkle the grated parmesan on top.

pizza8Cheese for miles.

Bake about 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starting to brown. If desired, run under the broiler in the last 2-4 minutes (keep an eye on it!) to brown the cheese. Top with fresh basil, and serve hot.

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Nutritional Info (As calculated with the above ingredients):

deconstructed pizza nutrition