Oh pasta bakes... how you were my favorite in my pre-paleo/gluten free days.
If you know me, this is the one area I struggle in staying paleo/gf - pasta. Something about it just calls my name, so I decided that I should make a gluten free pasta bake as an occasional treat! Key word here though - "occasional treat". This is NOT a staple for our house and it is very high in carbs, so Matt and I like to eat this as a treat and we always make sure that we worked out that day too (gotta earn those carbs)!
By the way, my husbands makes audible sounds when he eats this haha! Combined with grass-fed beef and a lot of spinach, it's basically perfect.
I hope that you guys enjoy it as much as I do! I have also made this using spiralized sweet potato noodles before, so I will be posting that soon to the blog as a variation for someone that is full paleo.
GF Ground Beef and Spinach Pasta Bake
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Servings: 8
1 - 1lb. bag of gluten free noodles (I use gluten free brown rice penne noodles)
2 lbs. grass fed beef
6 large handfuls of organic spinach (about 10oz.)
8 oz. mushrooms (sliced), optional
4 garlic cloves (minced)
1 medium red onion
1 tsp basil
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 jar of tomato sauce (see my recommendation for CLEAN tomato sauce under Kitchen Necessities)
1 c grated cheese of your choice (I like mozzarella or colby jack), optional
1/2 c parmesan cheese, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of lightly salted boil water to a boil. Once boiling, add your gluten free noodles and cook until al dente (not crunchy, but not completely soft). Grease two 9x13 baking pans.
2. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil to a large skillet on medium high heat. Add your 4 large handfuls of spinach and saute until wilted. Add 1 tsp. salt and sprinkle a little black pepper on it, then set aside in a bowl. In the same pan, add another 2 tbsp. of olive oil. As the oil is heating up, chop your onion and mince your garlic cloves.
3. Add the garlic and chopped onion and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. If you are adding in the mushrooms, do that now and cook until crisp. Add the beef and remaining spices. Cook until meat is browned. Add either your own tomato sauce or 1 jar of tomato sauce (See my recommendations), stir to combine, and then let it simmer for at least 15 minutes.
4. Drain and rinse noodles and then put back into pot. Pour the meat sauce over the noodles and stir just enough to combine. Pour the noodle/meat mixture into your two baking pans, then sprinkle 1/2 c cheese on top of each one followed by 1/4c parmesan cheese on each casserole (adds an amazing crunch).
5. Cover with tinfoil and bake for about 20 minutes.