Maria Emmerich’s Protein “Noodle” Lasagna recipe

If you haven’t already stumbled on the fabulous recipes (and photography) of Maria Emmerich, well, then . . . you should!

Maria “gets” it: She understands the wheat-free concepts, yet doesn’t make the common blunder made by so many others: incorporating gluten-free junk. So she also develops methods to recreate familiar dishes using 1) no wheat, 2) little to no sugar, and 3) otherwise healthy ingredients.

Here’s a recipe from her recent book, The Art of Healthy Eating – Savory:

Protein “Noodle” Lasagna

1 pound Italian sausage
¾ lb grass fed ground beef
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar no sugar marinara sauce
16 oz. ricotta cheese
1 egg
½ tsp Celtic sea salt
Thinly sliced nitrite free deli Chicken Breast (“Protein Noodle”)
¾ lb mozzarella cheese, sliced
¾ c. Parmesan cheese
Optional: 1/4 cup pesto

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in marinara sauce.

In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, and 1/2 tsp salt.

To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Arrange chicken breast slices over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. (Add optional pesto layer before final cheese layer)

Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

NUTRITIONAL COMPARISON (per cup):
Traditional Wheat Noodles = 246 calories, 0g fat, 1g protein, 43g carbs, 5g fiber (38g effective carbs)
“Healthified” Noodles = 84 calories, 1g fat, 20g protein, 2g carb, 0g fiber (2g effective carbs)

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. HS4

    I am so going to try this! Though I do have a family member who does not eat pork so I will substitute ground turkey mixed with Italian sausage seasonings (such as found in Mel Joulwan’s cookbook”Well Fed”; I’ve tried this before and it’s delicious, with taste & texture very similar to Italian sausage). I’ve only made a few of Maria’s recipes so far but they’ve all worked out very well. She’s a genius at coming up with new, workable, healthy (and tasty) ideas. Many thanks for publishing this recipe!

  2. Kim

    I have all of her books also; my family likes all her recipes and we all feel so much better following her way of eating. So thankful for all the info she shares in her books.

  3. Anna

    I’m a bit perplexed by the Nutritional Comparison. Is that just comparing noodles to chicken as I can hardly believe that a cup of this lasagna is only 84 calories? What is the total calorie count for a serving of the lasagna?

        • Boundless

          > And why is there a calorie count on every freaking
          > recipe in Wheat Belly Cookbook?!

          The original WB recipes had no macronutrient data. The posture apparently was: these all meet WB guidelines, and you are highly unlike to over-eat, so you don’t really need to know. People asked for it anyway. They got it in the WBCB.

          If you’re explicitly counting net carbs, you want a number. If you’re mixing WB recipes with foods & recipes from other sources, you want a number.

          And total calories do matter, for those few who have a tendency to overeat (or under-eat, for that matter), and for the curious.

          The fat and protein data is also interesting to have, and I’m thinking the protein data might matter at some point.

          • Anna

            Thank you, Boundless, thoughtful as always.

            I guess I missed Catherine’s memo re: we are all exactly the same & there are no exceptions;)

        • Anna

          Jan, I agree with your plan. I keep a very high plant to animal protein ratio. If I swing the other way I become lethargic & gain weight. The reason I ask about caloric count is that there are claims that one eats less calories when adopting the WB diet. How do you know that if you don’t know the caloric count. And if it’s not impoatant then why make the claim that one eats less? But more importantly, I cook a lot for friends & family, & some do count calories, it works for them.

          • Ann, if calories are germaine to others and/or you want to test the “less calorie per day theory”, then certainly that information is important to you. I personally haven’t counted calories in years…..relying more on how I look and feel. Now I’m more or less in the mode of examining the integrity of the foods I choose.

          • Anna

            I only count calories when I think I’m not getting enough. Since most of my diet is veggie, calories are a concern. I’m still trying to figure out a good veggie, fruit, nut, animal ratio. Maybe I’m not getting enough rest at times? Maybe it’s stress related? I don’t pretend to have it all figured out.

            I know it’s hard to believe for some folks, but there is a signicant portion of the population that is starving themselves by a) falling for the less calories is better, thus taking in only about 1,200-1,500 OR b) not eating enough calories because of chaotic lives at times (me), OR c) malabsorption/ gut health issues. Plus more reasons, I’m sure.

          • Yes, I’m really working on a good plant to animal protein ratio…..apparently mine was going in the wrong direction! Are you adding enough healthy fats to your diet? I’ve been adding a few tablespoons of coconut oil a time or two per day and that helped a lot.

            Stress and lack of sleep both impede wellness…..a friend takes a B-complex two hours before going to bed and insists it helps her sleep deeper and longer. Don’t know, never tried it. Have you ever taken a few minutes to sit down, close your eyes and just breathe? Does wonders!

          • Anna

            Do I admit that I can eat coconut oil by the spoonful? Hahaha! Plus, avocados every day. Also, grass fed butter. I am in bed by 9 every night but it’s not always restful d/t stress.

            At this point I think just need to move, I’m exercise deficient.

            Yes, I need to get back into my yoga routine…very relaxing

            I am vitamin D deficient, just found out, so supplementing.

            If I remember right, Dr. Davis recommends 5:1, veggie to animal to maintain pH & bone health. Veggies seem to be a neglected component.

          • As a yoga teacher, I highly recommend the practice. You might check out “The Five Tibetan Rites”…..5 yoga based movements done in a sequence…..takes only 10 minutes……good stuff. Lots of info online.

            I hope we get this plant/meat protein ratio thing worked out…..wish we had a special thread as I’m sure others are having the same issue.

    • EEH

      It looks like the nutritional data is a comparison between traditional lasagna noodles and the deli chicken that is substituted for them only. It’s not for a serving of the completed dish.

  4. Mike

    This looks like a great recipe, with easily-found ingredients. A few questions: What size jar of marinara sauce? How much chicken breast – how many ounces? Is there a national brand of nitrite-free deli chicken breast?

    • We buy Applewoodl uncured bacon…..I know they make deli meats as well, but we haven’t tried any so far. Boar’s Head deli meats are gluten-free but they do contain nitrates/nitrites.

  5. Eleanor

    There’s a great app for that — paleotrack.com. You can enter in a recipe and it will give you the nutritional breakdown for it and the total calories. (It’s free.)

    • Boundless

      > This site / blog needs a forum!

      … and a wiki, and search that finds everything. Dr. D. has said that something is in the works.

    • HS4

      Yes, a forum to discuss specific issues of interest would be great. I’d love to see a topic area covering recipes, how to work with the non-wheat flours, hints, tips, etc….Cooking & baking with the ingredients in WB can sometimes be quite a challenge and it would be very useful to have a forum to go to.

    • Rita

      I’m happy to start one up. In fact, I can start working on that today.

      What are the different sections we should have?

      What should we call it?

      • Rita

        Okay… I just purchased the domain WheatFreeForum.com .

        This should be a community effort to keep the integrity of the forum. And, it should still promote Dr. Davis’ book and blog.

        But this will make it easier for conversations to happen between the users, as a blog is not very conducive to that.

        I just set up an email, so if anyone has ideas or suggestions or if there are potential moderators, let me know. rita ( at ) wheatfreeforum (dot) com

          • Thanks Dr. Davis. I appreciate the support. I think I’ll have fun with it. I enjoy participating in forums and have previous experience running a busy forum, so this is right up my alley. (Plus, it will help keep me on track too) :)

        • Cammie

          Rita, I don’t know how Dr. Davis feels about this, since the recipes and titles are part of his book, but it would be so useful to have each recipe in the WB books be a separate topic in the forum, so that methods and results for each recipe could be discussed separately. That way, when someone has a question about a specific recipe, that recipe title can be easily found. Also those who have made the recipe successfully can post their results. This happens on the blog occasionally, but it is often random and mixed in with many other dissimilar topics.

          Thanks for creating the forum, I’ll be sure to check it out!
          Cammie

          • Hi Cammie,
            I bet we can approach it in a way that would be something like this:
            “In Dr. Davis’ cookbook, on page 50, I modified the recipe by adding …. ”

            In that case, we keep the promotion going for his book, yet discuss the recipes in more detail on the forum.

            I did put a recipe section there.

        • JillOz

          Way to go, Rita!!

          Do you mind if I ask how long it took you to set up all that?

          Thanks for your efforts!

          • Rita

            Thanks.

            It took about 3 hours to set it up. ( But I have experience in creating websites, so that helped ).

        • Janet

          I am signed up and ready to participate. THANKS!!! Rita. I have wanted a place like that for us Wheat Belliers to congregate

  6. This recipe is awesome. I have read and am practicing both Maria’s and Dr. Davis’ books and I can promise you this information will change the way you think about food and they way you consume it! Want long-lasting health and wellness, anti-aging, fit body, etc…..this is it!

    • MsThistlebottom

      Debbie,

      Which book specifically–Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism? I was eyeing that one recently.

  7. This recipe is awesome, rich, fulfilling. And, it is based on the philosophies of both Dr. Davis and Maria….and I’ve read both their books and am practicing their diet. This will change the way you think about what you eat and how you eat and bring long-lasting health, wellness, anti-aging, tight body….etc!

    • HS4

      Debbie – can you give us any specifics from your own experience follwoing Maria’s and Dr Davis’ philosophies?

    • Dr. Davis

      Thanks for the feedback, Debbie!

      Maybe we should get Maria to hang around here more often!

  8. Tracy

    OMG! This was so good! I used my own meat sauce recipe, but the deli meat chicken as noodles was the best idea ever! I didn’t think I’d ever have lasagna again without cheating, something awful, on my low carb diet. We threw some sautéed portobellos in mine & it was awesome.

  9. Jodi

    This was very good. I used turkey instead of chicken and it was just fine. I couldn’t taste the turkey anyway!! I am amazed and grateful.. Thank you for posting this. I ordered a cookbook and a metabolism book by Marie and can’t wait to try more recipes. I just joined the blog done by Rita. Yay!!! I am loving the wheat free life!

  10. Kathy Bone

    If you all could recommend just one of her cookbooks, what would it be? Another to explain the way of life? Just found this site and think it might help me. Thanks!

  11. LorLor

    Just made this for dinner and even though I was absolutely STUFFED after one serving, seconds sounded tempting, it’s so good! (I resisted.) I left out the ground beef and used mushrooms instead. Didn’t miss the noodles at all!

  12. I haven’t tried her lasagna recipe yet, but baked Maria’s bread recipe this morning……it was so beautiful that I took pictures! And it tasted just a good as it looked! Thank you Maria!

    • Boundless

      > I thought soy is to be avoided?

      What is this question in response to?
      The recipe in the base article contains no soy.

      Soy needs to be entirely avoided by those sensitive to it. The rest of us can eat limited amounts, preferably fermented. Watch out for wheat in soy sauce – it’s an all-too common contaminant.

  13. Jessica

    Do we have any information on Quest pastabilities? Ingredients are purified water Glucomannan and calcium hydroxide. I was looking at the shiritaki noodles at my grocery store and they had potato starch and I thought that was something we were looking to get rid of also.

    Also curious about the quest bars.

    Thanks
    Jess

      • They have the same ingredients as the Miracle brand shirataki pasta….which do not need refrigeration unless you have an unused portion. They have an expiration date…..my latest order expires in Sept…..and you may not freeze.

    • > Also curious about the quest bars.

      They’ve been discussed a few times, for example:
      http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2012/12/weight-gain-acne-ashthma-collapse-could-it-be-wheat/comment-page-1/#comment-122386

      Although it didn’t happen to anyone I’ve given a bar to, it’s apparently not uncommon to have a gassy reaction to the oligosaccharides. QuestBars may be the most benign snack bars on the market at the moment, apart from two explicitly ketogenic bars (one of which isn’t sold to the general public, and the other of which won’t reveal its ingredients).

      Finding the QBs is a challenge. I rarely see them in the stores that supposedly carry them. If you order from Amazon, make sure the seller is amazon itself, because many enrolled sellers are incompetent at packaging and shipping.

      Quest seems to sort of get it about low carb. They haven’t yet really awoken to LCHF or keto.

  14. Jessica

    Thanks for the responses. I’m new to this and I’m very use to convenient foods. I’m a little leary of the noodles I’ve heard they smell awful. Not sure if can bring myself to try them but I do miss pasta.

    Jess

    • Boundless

      > I’m a little leary of the noodles I’ve heard they smell awful.

      Whether konjac- or tofu-based, shiritaki noodles do indeed have an off-putting smell right out of the package. But if you follow the rinsing directions, the odor disappears. Be sure to check any expiration date, and note if the product required refrigeration, and was kept cool until used.

      In my opinion, konjac-based noodles are pure comfort-food window-show. They have almost zero nutritional value (or harm). They are just there to carry the water, so to speak, for the rest of the ingredients.

      Supposedly, a Japanese reporter once tried to live exclusively on konjac, and died of malnutrition.

  15. Bernadette

    What a great idea! I made my own meatballs and gravy this week and whipped up a lasagne using nitrate free roasted chicken. Spectacular!! Who would have thought that chicken could be such a great substitute for pasta?!

  16. Jeanne Bridger

    ANYONE HAVE ADAPTATION FOR SPAETZLE? Traditionally, it’s eggs, flour, salt, milk and parsley

    • Char

      I just made pizza dough with spelt flour. It was good. Haven’t read the book yet but if that flour is allowed it’s a good flour substitute. Also I have been told that quinoa pasta is wonderful. I will be going to web mans to get some today

      • Spelt is wheat no matter how it’s spelt: gluten-bearing, high-glycemic, possibly otherwise less toxic than modern mutant strains.

        > … been told that quinoa pasta is wonderful.

        High glycemic. It was used in one recipe in the original WB book, but it now considered a deprecated ingredient.

  17. Jennifer

    The noodles are not made from soy, they are made from yam flour. They can usually be found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store with tofu. Follow the package instructions and rinse the noodles and dry thoroughly! They do have a funky smell but you forgive them when you get pasta in your mouth!

  18. Carol

    Just made this last night and all, even the wheat pasta lovers, loved it! I think next time I’ll try making it, using maybe deli thin ham for the “pasta” . Or as my daughter suggested, a combo of deli thin chicken one layer and ham the other “pasta” layer..