So I listen to a lot of NPR. I live in Los Angeles, I’m a mother of two, I lean left politically, helped organize a CSA for my kid’s pre-school, and I’m in my car a lot. Therefore, this admission of public radio fandom should not surprise you one bit. What is surprising (to me, anyway) was my visceral reaction to a commercial (I know! On public radio!) that was playing all through the holiday season.
There is this company in Los Angeles that makes an incredible variety of lasagna cupcakes that are so mouth-watering that it is torturous to a celiac to even think about them. Much less hear them being pitched as the greatest holiday gift anyone could ever receive. And I’m pretty sure, by the way, they are the greatest holiday gift anyone could ever receive. Unless you’ve got the sprue.
All I could think about through the holidays were, can I please eat a lasagna cupcake, Lord? Just one? Or five? Already knowing the answer to this prayer, I took it upon myself to make some g-free lasagna cupcakes of my own. It’s much harder than it sounds, my friends.
You see, the one brand of gluten-free lasagna sold in Whole Foods is one of those “no-boil” lasagna noodle types. Which means you can’t make it into the bowl-shape. It also means that if you’re making lasagna cupcakes, which do not need as much cooking time as regular lasagna, your “no-boil” lasagna noodles are bullshit. And you’ll have to improvise with just breaking lasagna noodles like this —
Not only can you not make a bowl, they’ll crunch when you eat them. Even if the package scolds you for even thinking about cooking those noodles, you’ve got to boil those gluten-free noodles. No matter how many times you’ve wound up with gluten-free noodle mush. Boil those mothers. Cook up those noodles, shape them into a cupcake holder, and in return, you will enjoy the most divine creation ever, or at least since you’ve been banned from eating the semolina. Seriously. Love. Lasagna. Cupcakes. Next time, I’m experimenting with veggie, short rib, and roasted squash lasagna cupcakes. That’s how much I love this idea.
In the meantime, here’s how you can make your own handheld gluten-free lasagna cupcakes.
Gluten-Free Spinach Lasagna Cupcakes
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 1 1/2 hours total
1 box gluten-free lasagna noodles
1 pound organic ground beef
16 ounces tomato sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more to top
3 cups spinach, chopped
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil water in large pasta pot. Cook gluten-free noodles according to package directions. If you have the “no-boil” kind, cook for 7 minutes, or until flexible. Remove from water, and lay out noodles on aluminum foil. When cool enough, cut lasagna noodles into thirds.
2. While noodles are boiling, brown your ground beef. Drain, then add tomato sauce and oregano and allow to simmer for 8 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Mix ricotta, shredded mozzarella, and Parmesan in a bowl. Add egg and chopped spinach and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Spray cupcake pan with olive oil. Arrange lasagna noodles in a criss-cross, or bowl to cover the opening. Layer other ingredients starting with the meat sauce, then the spinach and cheese mixture. Repeat. Add last noodle to the top and cover with Parmesan cheese.
5. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove, allow to cool for 10 minutes then enjoy!
Makes: 15 cupcakes