This gluten free beef lasagne recipe is a family favourite in our house. It's made with a rich beef sauce, layered with gluten free pasta sheets and an easy gluten free white sauce.
Homemade lasagne is an ideal family meal which can be prepared ahead. It's delicious and comforting, and this gluten free lasagne, suitable for coeliacs, is every bit as tasty as a traditional recipe.
Making a gluten free lasagne
There are a number of elements in a traditional lasagne that are likely to contain gluten.
- Pasta. In the UK, gluten free dried pasta is widely available in the Free From section in the supermarkets. The pasta I buy is made from a mixture of rice and corn flours. I find using gluten free dried pasta no different to using other dried pasta, it cooks through quickly, and in this gluten free lasagne, you'll notice very little difference. Nutritionally, gluten free pasta is very similar to other white pasta. It's low in fat, high in carbs, and not a great source of nutrition. So in this recipe, we going to sneak in a few on other ingredients for extra nutrients!
- The white sauce. The traditional béchamel sauce which is usually used in a lasagne is made with wheat flour. This gluten free sauce in this recipe is made with cornflour and is very quick and easy to make. If you prefer, you can also use this dairy free gluten free bechamel recipe.
- The bolognese or ragu. Often, a bolognese meat sauce is thickened with a spoonful of flour. In addition, there may be seasonings such as Worcestershire sauce that can also contain gluten. This gluten free lasagne sauce is thickened with a small amount of cornflour and includes herbs for extra flavour.
Tip: A bolognese sauce is such a useful base for many recipes and freezes well. Why not double up the meat sauce and use it for recipes such as this hidden veg cottage pie recipe?
Making a healthier lasagne
A traditional beef lasagne is low in vegetables and fibre. I’m a great fan of trying to swap out some meat for extra portions of veg, it’s good for you as well as your shopping bill. So I've added extra veggies to this homemade gluten free lasagne sauce. A can of haricot beans or black beans will increase both fibre and other essential nutrients. This also means that 500g of minced beef will make a lasagne which serves 6.
- Onion, carrots and garlic form a flavourful base for the sauce. Grate the carrot so that you won't risk hard lumps of carrot that haven't cooked through properly. Cutting the onion quite small will also make the texture of the dish nicer
- Canned tomatoes and tomato puree will make the sauce rich and tomato-y. You can also add a splash of red wine when you add the tomatoes if you prefer
- Thyme goes well in a bolognese sauce, but you could use other herbs such as bay leaves if you prefer. Or a teaspoon of dried mixed herbs would also work well
- Minced beef. I tend to buy a 12% fat minced beef for the meat sauce. I find 20% can make the sauce too oily, but 5% can lack flavour and be a bit dry, so 10-12% seems about right.
- A can of haricot beans adds extra nutrition, and makes the meat go further. You could use another type of bean if you prefer, but they will need to be precooked
- A couple of teaspoons of cornflour will thicken the juices of the sauce
- Gluten free dried lasagne sheets. The exact number of pasta sheets (or noodles) that you need will depend a little on the dimensions of your baking dish. You'll need enough to make 2 layers of pasta which cover the whole of the dish. It's easy to break the sheets to fit your dish as needed
- Cheese. I think the best lasagne has a bubbling topping of cheese! A mature cheddar is good as it adds plenty of flavour. You could also use either mozzarella if you want a molten cheesy topping, or parmesan
For the sauce, you'll also need milk, cornflour and seasoning. You can use whichever type of milk you prefer - skimmed or full fat, dairy or dairy free. I like to season the sauce with a pinch of grated nutmeg, but if you don't like the flavour, then leave it out.
How to make gluten free beef lasagne
Get the bolognese sauce underway first, and then you'll be able to make the white sauce whilst the bolognese is simmering away.
Start with a hot pan, add the oil and fry the onion over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the minced beef and garlic, and continue to fry to another 5 minutes. The meat will change colour and the onion will start to brown slightly. This will help to enhance the flavour.
The add the carrots, canned and pureed tomatoes, seasoning and herbs. Cover the pan, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir 2 teaspoons of cornflour into 2 tablespoons of cold water, and add to the pan for the last couple of minutes. Stir in the drained haricot beans, and mix well.
Meanwhile, make the white sauce. Add the cornflour, seasoning and three quarters of the milk to a cold pan and stir. Place over a low heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. The sauce will thicken quickly. Allow it to bubble for about 1 minute, then stir in the remainder of the milk.
Layer half of the bolognese sauce into a baking dish and cover with a layer of dried gluten free lasagne sheets. Add just under half of the white sauce and smooth over the pasta. Repeat with the remaining bolognese, pasta and white sauce. It's important that the top layer of pasta is well covered by the sauce so that it cooks properly. Top with the grated cheese.
Gluten free beef lasagne is quite a forgiving dish. Depending on your timings, you can either bake it in a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes at 180 degrees, or for up to an hour at a lower temperature of 160 degrees. I often cook it using the oven timer. The prepared dish goes into a cold oven, and comes out bubbling and cooked an hour later. It's great for busy school nights and mid week dinners.
Gluten free beef lasagne will stay hot for at least 10 minutes, and is actually a little easier to serve if you leave it on the side for a few minutes before serving.
This homemade gluten free lasagne recipe can easily be doubled or tripled if you want to feed a crowd.
It's a healthy, satisfying meal by itself, but I like to add a green salad on the side. Peas and leeks are also a nice accompaniment.
I often make a small gluten free beef lasagne for 2 in a 2lb glass loaf dish. The lasagne sheets fit in perfectly, and it’s the ideal size for 2. But of course go for whatever size suits, it’s easy to adapt the quantities. For baking dishes, I use the following:
2 people: 9.75 x 4 inch loaf tin or glass dish
4 people: 10.5 x 7 inch dish
6 people: 10.5 x 10.5 inch dish
Yes this recipe is perfect for meal prep. Assemble the dish, and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Either leave the dish to come up to room temperature, or cook for an extra 10 minutes. You can also make just the bolognese sauce ahead of time if you prefer.
Yes, gluten free lasagne freezes really well. You can either freeze it cooked, or uncooked. Either way, allow it to cool and wrap it well. Defrost at room temperature. You can also freeze the bolognese sauce, so it's worth making extra.
Yes, gluten free beef lasagne reheats well. Cover the top with foil and place in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes.
Check the lasagne pack. All of the lasagne sheets that I buy state that no precooking is required. I've never had a problem with them cooking through properly in the times specified in this recipe. It is important to ensure that you fully cover the gluten free pasta sheets with the sauce as they need moisture to cook.
Other gluten free lasagne recipes
You can also use this recipe to make a gluten free vegetarian lasagne by using the filling from this sweet potato and kale lasagne recipe, or you could use this mushroom and lentil bolognese. If you'd prefer, you could also use a turkey bolognese sauce (omit the Worcestershire sauce, or use one that is marked gluten free.)
This gluten free roast dinner post has got lots more tips and recipes for gluten free cooking.
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a rating and/or comment at the bottom of the page. Your feedback and questions are much appreciated.
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Gluten Free Beef Lasagne
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 large onion peeled and finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic peeled and very finely chopped or crushed
- 500 g minced beef
- 400 g chopped canned tomatoes
- 2 large carrots grated
- 2 tablespoon tomato puree
- few sprigs fresh thyme or use 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoon cornflour
- 400 g canned haricot beans, drained or any other precooked beans you prefer
- 8-10 gluten free lasagne sheets
- 75 g mature cheddar, grated
Easy white sauce
- 3 tablespoon cornflour
- 450 ml milk
- grated nutmeg or use ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
Gluten free bolognese sauce
- Heat a large frying pan and add the oil. Over a medium heat, fry the onion for 5 minutes. Add the minced beef, and the garlic, and stir occasionally for a further 5 minutes until the meat is brown. Add the tomatoes, puree, carrot, herbs, salt and pepper and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Stir the 2 teaspoons of cornflour into 2 tablespoons of cold water, and add to the mixture. Cook for a few minutes until thickened. Stir in the drained beans and mix well.
Gluten free white sauce
- Make the white sauce whilst the bolognese is simmering. Add the cornflour, seasoning and nutmeg to a cold saucepan. Add most of the milk and stir to thoroughly mix, then slowly bring to the boil whilst stirring. Once the sauce is thick and smooth, add the remainder of the milk.
Assembly and cooking
- To assemble the lasagne, add half of the bolognese sauce to an ovenproof dish and smooth level. Add half of the lasagne pasta sheets, followed by just under half of the white sauce. Repeat with the remaining bolognese, lasagne sheets and the white sauce. Sprinkle with the grated cheese, and cook at 180 (160 fan) for 30 mins. If it’s more convenient, you could cook it for longer – up to an hour at a lower temperature. The cooked lasagne should be golden and bubbling.
- Serve gluten free lasagne hot with a big portion of fresh salad or vegetables
- Milk for this recipe can be full fat, skimmed or dairy free.
- Minced beef with a fat content of 10-12% is ideal. But if you want to cut down further on fat, then 5% fat minced beef will also make a delicious lasagne.
- If you prefer, top the lasagne with mozzarella or parmesan rather than grated cheddar.
- This recipe can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. It also freezes well. You can also store and freeze the bolognese sauce separately.
Please note nutritional information is per serving and is provided for guidance only.