gluten gone wild

Today I was reading the the UC Davis food blog and came across this post about improving wheat.   The benefits to this new wheat is better iron, zinc and protein.  Cool right?

Well, maybe.  Look closer.  Where does the protein come from? Gluten? Yep.
Now, is this a good thing?  With the prevalence of gluten sensitivity on the rise, should we be consuming highly glutenized wheat?  I get it that it’s resistant to insects, but maybe the vunerability to insects is part of the balance for natural wheat.

Is this another example of ‘too much of a good thing’ with science?  Just because we can increase the gluten of wheat doesn’t mean we should.

To me, this is just another reason to eat spelt, a  cousin of wheat that is not genetically modified like wheat is because it’s not as ‘important’ of a crop.  Wheat makes up a huge proportion of most people’s diets, so it make sense why farmers want to improve yield.  But Spelt doesn’t have those pressures, yet.

Is there ‘heirloom’ wheat?  Hmm.. I don’t know – maybe that is what spelt and Kamut and bulgar are – heirloom wheats that continue to become more and more distinct from everyday wheat as genetic modification expands.

Wheat free vegetarian lasagna recipe

Hello all,

I am making a lasagna for a class I teach (titled “off white”, naturally….) and feel the recipe is just too good not to share.

BUT, before I do…a word about the cost of veggies.

You’ve probably noticed an increase in the cost of veggies this year so far.  For instance, I paid nearly $7 for 3 large zucchini for the lasagna.  I feel that the committment to eating “off white” and creating that base of fruits and veggies is going to be more at risk as the cost of “healthy” food rises while junk food stays cheap.  Just today I saw Kellog’s cereals, like Trix, on sale for $1.88/box.  That is quite cheap.  Even in my hayday of eating those items it was difficult to get them for under $2.  It may be that the overlords of processed foods will take advantage of the economic times and tempt us to make choices for economical reasons.

I get it that paying $7/lb for bell peppers (which I heard of today) is not sustainable.  And this blog is all about sustainable, so what can we do to keep our options open?  Here are some ideas.  The recipe is next, I promise 🙂

  • Plant a garden.  Invest in a few  good organic plants (which are inexpensive when they are  small).  Two or three good plants may yield ample amounts to get you through the season
  • Share your garden bounty with friends and trade for what you do/don’t have
  • Buy what is on sale (especially local stuff) and freeze excess.  Frozen veggies and fruits are almost as good as fresh
  • Don’t let those veggies go to waste.  raise your hand if you sometimes throw away produce that goes bad?  At $5-7/lb that won’t happen, right?
  • Shop local farmer’s markets, roadside stands, etc
  • Buy organic frozen veggies when you can and it makes sense for what you are cooking
  • Buy bulk at Costco – share with a friend if its too much

Okay, here’s what you’ve been waiting for:

Sneaky Spelt Lasagna (wheat free, vegetarian)

7 Vitaspelt Spelt lasagna noodle
1 bag frozen organic chopped spinach
1 15-oz container ricotta cheese
8 oz real mozzarella
8 oz mozzarella almond or rice cheese
3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 large jar organic marinara sauce, flavored as you like it
1/2 cup cream of tomato organic soup (optional for added flavor)
3 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
2 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
3 large zucchini, thinly sliced using a Mandolin or with a knife

Boil noodles to al dente.  Place 3 noodles + 1/2 in the bottom of a lasagna dish.  Mix the marinara with the chopped onion, mushrooms and soup.  Set aside.  Defrost spinach and then add with basil, thyme and ricotta.  Blend until fully mixed.  Shred the cheeses.

Add approx 1/3 of marinara mix to 1st layer of spelt noodles.  Next add similar amount of ricotta mix.  Now add a similar amount of shredded cheese. Add a layer of Zucchini, fully covering the dish (this acts like a pasta layer).  Repeat with the marinara, ricotta and cheese.  Add the last of the noodles.  Add marinara and ricotta layer and THEN ADD 1 MORE ZUCCHINI LAYER.

Finally, coat the top with leftover cheese.

Cook at 375 for 30-40 minutes, with at least 10 of those with the dish uncovered.  It makes A LOT of lasagna 🙂

Other options:

1. use cottage cheese in place of ricotta, or silken tofu, flavored with Italian spices

2. Add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts into cheese mix for added texture and fat

3. Use only almond or rice cheese for a low/non-dairy option

4. Add about 3/4 lb ground turkey to marinara mix for a carnivorous delight