"Well, it looks really good, but is it worth all that effort? YES. Yes it is. Take my word for it. In fact, after you make this lasagna for the fifth time (because your family keeps requesting it), it’s not going to feel like any effort at all. With eggplant slices for “noodles,” the meaty Italian red sauce and creamy coconut milk “béchamel” make this one of the dishes I’m the most proud of in the whole entire book. Enjoy!" -Casey Joy Garcia
Recipe excerpted from cookbook Fed & Fit: A 28 Day Food & Fitness Plan to Jump-Start Your Life with Over 175 Squeaky-Clean Paleo Recipes by Casey Joy Garcia
To make the red sauce: Melt the tablespoon of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, then add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Empty the onion, garlic, and butter into a bowl.
If using link sausage, remove the sausage from the links. Add the sausage to the pot, break it up with a spoon, and cook over high heat until the sausage starts to crisp, after about 10 minutes. Drain the fat by pouring the sausage into a colander and return the meat to the pot.
Return the onion garlic mixture to the pot with the sausage. Add the drained diced tomato, tomato puree, balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the Italian seasoning, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine, bring to a simmer, then cover and set aside over low heat until ready for assembly.
To make the béchamel sauce: Melt the tablespoon of butter in a sauté pan. Once melted, whisk in the coconut milk, coconut butter, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, and then set aside.
To assemble the lasagna: Place a layer of eggplant noodles in the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch, or similar sized, casserole dish. Cover the noodles with about ¼ cup of the béchamel sauce followed by several full ladles of the meat sauce. Repeat until all the noodles are used up. For the final layer, add the sliced tomatoes across the top and then drizzle any remaining béchamel sauce over top. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until bubbly. Let the lasagna sit for at least 15 minutes, so that the juices can settle back down. Serve warm, garnished with fresh basil.