Friday, March 11, 2011

Dairy Free Friday

First things first, Happy Friday! Do you remember my blogging training partner, Amber? Well she got engaged last night!!! I totally clapped my hands and grinned ear to ear when she bbm'd me to share her exciting news! Hop over to her blog, check out her bling, and wish her congrats !! I am so excited for her and Eric!

So it's been just over a week since I removed dairy from my diet. I am going to try this for 4-6 weeks to see if it helps my skin at all. I realize that I am sort of 'grasping at straws' at this point, but I want to try one last thing before resorting to trying Accutane. I had my follow up appointment with my Dermatologist last week. While my skin has improved over the past 3 months, it's still not great but he suggested we give it another month. We did discuss my concerns with Accutane and I do feel better after having that conversation. If things aren't better next month, I'll have to give Accutane a try. We'll see how the next month goes.

Removing dairy has actually not been too bad. I am sure that I will miss cheese eventually but so far, the adjustment has not been bad at all! It's been fun to research recipes and come up with tasty dairy free & gluten free options. Luckily there are a lot of great vegan blogs out there to help!

The first recipe I'd like to share comes from the blog, Peas and Thank You (clever blog name, right?). After hearing Amber rave about it, I made her Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna. It did not disappoint!

- 2 zucchini, cut into 12 thin, 1/4" thick slices
- salt
- 1 c. quinoa, rinsed
- 2 c. vegetable broth
- 1/2 c. tomato sauce
- 1/4 c. minced onion
- 1 t. dried oregano
- 1/4 c. fresh basil, chopped
- 1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 T. organic or non-dairy cream cheese (optional - I did not include this)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 jar organic marinara sauce
- 1/2 c. organic or non-dairy cheese, i.e. Daiya (option - I used Daiya)

First, cut the zucchini into strips - these will serve as the "noodles". Place "noodles" in a colander and sprinkle with salt, layering paper towels between the noodles. I do not really understand why this happens, but when you sprinkle them with salt, I think it takes the moisture out of the zucchini because it will start to look like you had wet the zucchini with water? Who knows. Set aside and let the salt work it's magic.

Next, combine the quinoa, vegetable broth, tomato sauce, onion, and oregano.

Bring this to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes (or until all of the liquid has been absorbed). Then add in the chopped herbs (and the cream cheese if you are using that ingredient) and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Honestly, you could stop at this point if you wanted to and just eat a bowl of this quinoa mixture. It is SO good. But I resisted the urge to curl up with a bowl of this and proceeded with the recipes...

Spread some marinara in the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish. Pat the noodles dry with a towel to remove the salt and moisture. Layer 4 noodles on top of the marinara (I had an extra noodle so this layer had 5).

Spread 1/2 of the quinoa mixture over the noodles.

Top this with marinara and repeat with another layer of zucchini, the other 1/2 of the quinoa mix, and more marinara. Add one more layer of zucchini, then the rest of the marinara, and top with cheese (if you are using it).
And voila!

Bake @ 400F for 30 minutes.

Yum. It was really good. I used a spicy arrabiata marinara sauce so mine had a little kick to it. I think I would also add in some crushed red pepper next time because that is how I roll.

My first vegan recipe was a total success! You could obviously modify this & use real cheese if you wanted to. I don't even think that top layer of cheese is necessary, but I was surprised to find that vegan cheese actually tasted pretty good! I'll definitely make this again!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!


J said...

I would go crazy without a little dairy in my diet! Good for you and hope this helps your skin!

Jess said...

I'm with J - I'd fail miserably at a dairy free diet. But, I'm proud of you for doing what you have to do! And, I must admit, that does look pretty delicious!!

Have a great weekend!

Gracie said...

How will you be handling coffee/tea? Black or non-dairy?
Your "lasagna" looks yummy. I like the spicy marinaras best.

Unknown said...

That looks delicious! Yum!!

Nora said...

You're a trooper, but you already know that! There is just no way I could survive without cheese, mostly cause I'm a cheese freak. Seriously. I can't wait to see how it turns out for you long run and i'm glad it's been a good/easy adjustment so far. =)

Happy Friday!!!

Leigh said...

So exciting for Amber! The recipe sounds pretty good.. I might just have to try it out!

Hope you have a great weekend Lisa!

Marlys said...

Looks so good! Did you use your mandolin to slice the zuchinni?
Just looking at it made me hungry!

Amber said...

Awwww you are so sweet. LOVE YOU!

Also? "Honestly, you could stop at this point if you wanted to and just eat a bowl of this quinoa mixture. It is SO good." <--THIS

I think I forgot to tell you how GOOD the quinoa mixture is. You seriously could curl up and eat it right then.

Get some tofutti cream cheese the next time you are at whole foods. It is fantastic and you can't even tell the difference from regular cream cheese (plus it lasts longer!)

crystal said...

Yum, I am so excited to try this!!

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

Interesting. I can't get on the quinoa bandwagon. I think it is a texture thing.

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

I really want to make this at some point but for some reason it seems like a lot of effort to me haha. I hope another month helps :)

Becky said...

Yay! So excited for Amber! And I agree with her - I'm all about the quinoa!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I have been wanting to try vegan cheese ... glad to hear you think it tastes pretty good.

I am trying to incorporate more vegan foods into my diet, and less dairy.

Erin said...

I am SO adding this to the menu! I love Italian and I super duper love quinoa! Going dairy free is so hard. I think the longest I've made it was a month - but I felt so much better! Cheese is my kryptonite...

Jeanie said...

Lisa, this looks awfully good -- especially on a cold and gloomy day. I admire your persistence in being dairy free. I hope it is successful. (Like you, I'd be missing the cheese!)

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

That looks yummy! I was a vegetarian for about 15 years, but I couldn't go vegan (I tried) because I love cheese! Good luck with your experiment.

Erin said...

Hope you had a great weekend!!!!! I wanted to tell you THANK YOU for my PARIS post card :) I Love it!!! Life has been so crazy that I realized I never even said thanks for sending it!!!!!

Oh said...

Actually, the pictures look darn good and have me copying this recipe. I am not a "fun" cook, that is, I cook during the week because 1) people in this house are hungry and I like them to have a good meal 2) I like the way food smells when it cooks and 3) I had excellent cooking role models in both my mom and dad while growing up.

However, as a full time career person who loves family time as well as reading and writing time and walking time and pets time, I do not cook as recreation, really. I do not have the cooking&cookbook gene. Actually, I have it; it's more a matter of having relaxed unscheduled time in which to do it.
That being said,I'm gonna give this recipe a whirl on the weekend. Yum.
And it looks like there's plenty so there will be leftovers, yes?

Lisa-Marie said...

I am very proud of you for cutting dairy out of your diet! I would struggle, I think you are extremely brave! x

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

Ooh, fun! I've been wanting to make this recipe but I have used mama peas' method of incorporating zucchini instead of noodles on occasion in my lasagna making. It's amazing the changes you can make and it still tastes similar to the original.

Sarah said...

Hi Lisa,
Amber told me about your "going dairy free" in the name of your skin. I am doing the same thing for the same reason. I was just wondering how it is going/how the results are? I am really feeling discouraged by all the things I have tried in attempt to get better skin and feeling hopeful about going dairy free. I would love to chat further with ya my email is