Cabbage Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce is a guilt-free way to enjoy lasagna, even on a low carb diet.
Who doesn’t love lasagna? The layers of rich meat ragu and thick cheese are piled up to create a dish of bubbling sauce supported by layers of thick of pasta. Yum!
That said, it isn’t the healthiest! All that pasta and cheese can make you feel bloated, tired, and heavy.
What we need is a healthy, low-carb, Keto-friendly lasagna recipe which substitutes some of those fat-dense ingredients for fresh, crisp textures and plenty of vegetables.
Healthy Keto-Friendly Lasagna
My recipe for cabbage lasagna with mozzarella and olive oil Béchamel is exactly what you’re looking for.
What makes this recipe so delicious, yet healthy and low-carb?
The lighter, olive oil-based Béchamel sauce – check out the recipe here – removes butter and doesn’t contain any cheese. (I also have tips for making keto white sauce.)
The keto diet passionately advocates the consumption of real, good-quality, fresh cheese, so we instead simply scatter fresh mozzarella on each layer, as well as some real Parmigiano Reggiano which is strongly flavored, meaning you use less.
Tip: Real Parmigiano Reggiano is worth the extra cost. If you are still using the plastic shaker bottle of “parmesan” cheese from your supermarket, stop! Trust me on this one. The real stuff is so much better!
The keto diet also champions olive oil, particularly extra virgin, so my Béchamel recipe is the perfect fit.
Plus, I use cabbage leaves instead of thick layers of lasagna pasta noodles.
Cabbage Instead of Lasagna Pasta Noodles
Those carb-filled pasta layers in lasagna can be incredibly filling, and sometimes you just crave something a little bit lighter.
Enter the cabbage!
Just like my favorite ingredient, olive oil, cabbage is packed with antioxidants, but is often a much-maligned vegetable because of its soggy reputation when it is overcooked. However, it is incredibly versatile.
Did you know cabbage is an excellent substitute for pasta noodles? If you’re on the keto diet, you’re probably replacing all your carbohydrates such as rice, pasta and cereal with low-carb substitutes, particularly nuts, seeds and low-carb veggies.
While we all know zucchini makes quick, easy and healthy noodles, including lasagna, this recipe will boost the variety in your vegetable intake.
Preparing the Cabbage
- Start by separating the cabbage leaves, keeping them whole without any tears, and leaving the tough stem intact.
- Simply steam or boil them in a little salted water for five minutes, then leave them to rest on some paper towels to absorb the water.
- Once cool enough to handle, use a sharp knife to remove the base of the stem where it is really thick.
And, presto! You have your ready-to-use lasagna “noodles”!
Soft, with a crunchy bite, this cabbage will easily support the layers of meat, vegetables, and olive oil Béchamel, presenting you with the healthy, low carb lasagna of your dreams!
For a more visual guide on preparing this rich, creamy lasagna, check out my video:
Vegetarian Cabbage Lasagna Variations
This recipe uses a mixture of ground beef and pork, however, if you are vegetarian, feel free to change the filling. Here are some ideas:
- Roasted Mediterranean vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, tomato and red onion, scattered with oregano
- Butternut squash and caramelized onions, and you can change the cheese for blue or goat’s cheese if you prefer
- Make a delicious, spicy mushroom filling, like in Ottolenghi’s recipe
- Kale, leek and pesto lasagna with some creamy ricotta
Cabbage Lasagna with Olive Oil Béchamel Sauce
- 2 whole Cabbage Heads
- 4 cup Mozzarella Shredded
- 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano Shredded
- 1 clove Garlic Minced
- 2 Onion Diced
- 2 Red Pepper Diced
- 1 lb Ground Beef
- ½ lb Ground Pork
- 5 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 cup Béchamel Sauce
Prepare the Cabbage
- Separate the cabbage leaves and discard the outer ones.
- Rinse the leaves in cold water, being careful not to tear them.
- Steam or boil leaves with a little salt until they soften (approximately 5 minutes).
- Remove cabbage from the heat and allow the leaves to cool
- Use a paring knife to remove the tough part of the stem at the base of the thickest leaves.
Prepare the Filling
- Heat olive oil in a skillet, add garlic, onions and peppers. Let it cook until vegetables begin to soften.
- Add the meat. Cook until the meat is well browned. Season with salt and pepper.
Prepare the Béchamel Sauce
- Prepare the béchamel sauce.
- Preheat oven to 400F (200C)
Assemble the Lasagna
- Oil an 8"x11" (22cm x 30cm) lasagna pan or line with parchment paper.
- Cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of the cabbage leaves.
- Spread a thin layer of béchamel over the cabbage leaves (approximately 1 tablespoon).
- Top with 1/2 of the ground meat mixture, mozzarella, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- Cover with the cabbage leaves and press down lightly.
- Continue with an additional layer in the same manner as the first.
- Cover the top with cabbage leaves, brushed with béchamel sauce.
- Cover the pan with aluminum foil.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour.
- Remove the foil 10 minutes before the cabbage lasagna is done and let it become golden.
- Cool for 20 minutes before cutting.
- Shred your own high quality, fresh mozzarella cheese. Avoid pre-shredded or processed cheese.
- Use real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
- If you can’t steam the cabbage leaves, cook them in boiling and salted water for 5 minutes and then drain them. Carefully put the leaves on paper towels to absorb excess water.