My brand spanking new Cajun lasagna ignites the biggest, baddest flavor bomb medley to ever go off in your mouth, y'all!! The browned Cajun trinity, mushrooms, garlic and sausage brown down first in the pan. Then, tomato sauce and chicken are added to the flavor stage, and simmered down into red gravy deliciousness. Seasoned shrimp are added at the last minute, filling each bite of gravy with that bit of extra something, something special. Next, the triple meat sauce is layered between softened oven-ready gluten free lasagna noodles and three white cheeses. And finally, baked into browned, cheesy, bubbly gluten free comfort food deliciousness that yields plenty of leftovers for later. Yep and yay...
Oh, How I Love Deep Dish Cast Iron Skillet Comfort Foods, Y'all...
I've had my deep dish cast iron skillet for a long, long time, y'all. I bought it at a discount store on a whim one day more than 10 years ago. It's not a name brand. It has several blemishes. And it's certainly showing its age from the inside out. But, I love, love, love it anyway. It's probably my favorite. The one that I would grab if I could grab only one and never look back.
One of the reasons that I love my deep dish skillet is that I can make a big pot of comfort food in it. The kind that both Mark and I will eat for lunch and dinner for daaayyysss until it's gone. The kind that we look forward to like once a month. And honestly, the kind that I make when I want to cook only once for a few days. To get out of the kitchen and into the other rooms and areas of my life.
And It Was Finally Time to Let One out of My Food Heart...
So, when it was time recently to pick a deep dish cast iron skillet dish, I decided that I would finally do what I've had to do in my heart for years. Yep. And that's marry jambalaya with lasagna.
Yes, the idea for this actually came to me a long time ago. And, I've held it secret in my heart until just the right time. So, when the recent cool snap hit us out of our warm and happy south Louisiana April, I figured that it was high time to get it out of my heart and onto my blog pages. Oh, and into my mouth and stomach in the middle of all this, of course.
And, I'm super happy that I finally did it, y'all. This gluten free Cajun lasagna-jambalaya fusion is exactly everything that I wanted it to be. It has authentic jambalaya gravy. It has chicken, sausage and shrimp. And, it has super soft noodles and three ooey gooey cheeses. There's nothing to not like about this dish. It covers all the major flavor bases that I crave. And, it'll serve at least six people. So, you're really likely to have leftovers to drool over and get food paid again for your easy yet a bit lengthy culinary efforts.
How to Make Cajun Lasagna
Start the Cajun lasagna by soaking the oven-ready gluten free noodles in hot water. Cover them loosely, then set aside:
Now, gather the rest of the ingredients. Chop your veggies, and get everything else ready, too.
Now, season the chicken and shrimp with about ⅔ of the seasonings:
Add the Cajun trinity veggies to the skillet:
When the trinity veggies are almost browned, add the sausage and mushrooms to the skillet:
Then, add the minced garlic:
Next, add the tomato sauce and seasoned chicken to the skillet:
And cook down for 30 minutes:
Then, add the shrimp to the pan:
And cook down for another five minutes before removing the skillet from heat:
Now, pour a bit of sauce on the bottom of your deep dish cast iron skillet:
Then, lift up four softened lasagna noodles out of the water carefully, and arrange them on the bottom of the skillet:
Next, pour ⅓ of the sauce over the noodles:
And then top with ⅓ of the cheese:
Then, repeat two more layers of the noodles, three-meat sauce and cheese mixture. And bake until browned and bubbly.
And that's it, y'all!!
The first thing that you notice about this Cajun lasagna is that it tastes just like authentic south Louisiana jambalaya. But then, the cheeses and GF lasagna noodles melt in your mouth. And you think to yourself that you're really, truly eating lasagna, too.
Both of the flavors are indeed there, y'all. And it's honestly an amazing combination that will be a deep-dish comfort food staple in our house from now on. And, I suspect that if you make this Cajun lasagna just once, you'll be just as hooked on this amazing dish as we are. Yep.
The caramelized veggie and triple meat gravy really are amazing. And the cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, and pepper Jack melt together beautifully and are the perfect backup taste and texture for the shrimp, chicken, and sausage-studded sauce. And the GF lasagna noodles, y'all. They're the absolute best. Soaking the oven-ready variety in hot water gives them the perfect, wheat-like texture. And keeps them from 'eating' the Cajun lasagna sauce while cooking, and over-hardening the whole casserole throughout the baking process. (I HATE that!!!)
So, the end result yields complementing layers of meaty sauce, melty cheese, and melt-in-your-mouth noodles. Oh y'all, it's soooo good. Next time I just might make two deep dish skillets and vacuum-freeze the other one for later. Indeed!
Share this Cajun lasagna with those who are your top picks out of your personal crowd of favorite people. And see y'all on the yum side...
- 12 oven ready gluten free lasagna noodles
- 2 to 5 tablespoons butter, sliced and set aside *see notes
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- ⅓ pound gluten free beef sausage, sliced then cut in half
- ½ pound mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried paprika
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
- salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons Crystal hot sauce
- ½ pound chicken breast, cut into very small pieces
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 5 cups gluten free tomato sauce
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened and cubed
- 3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2 cups Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
- Place the oven-ready gluten free lasagna noodles in a large rectangular dish. Cover with hot water and set aside. Cover the dish loosely with the lid or a large piece of aluminum foil.
- Place the chopped chicken breasts and the shrimp into two separate bowls. Season the raw shrimp and chopped chicken breasts with roughly ⅔ of the onion powder, garlic powder, dried parsley flakes, dried paprika, hot sauce, and salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Set both bowls aside.
- Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of the butter in a deep cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add the Cajun trinity of onion, bell pepper and celery to the skillet.
- Brown the veggies for about 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown around the edges and the bell pepper and celery get soft.
- Add the sliced mushrooms and sausage, then let brown for about 5 minutes. (Add more butter if necessary to prevent burning.)
- Add the minced garlic, stir until incorporated, then cook for 1 additional minute. (Add more butter if necessary to prevent burning).
- Reduce heat to medium low. Stir the tomato sauce into the skillet. Add the remaining garlic powder, onion powder, parsley flakes, dried paprika and hot sauce to the skillet.
- Cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring often.
- Stir the shrimp into the skillet, then cook for 5 additional minutes.
- Remove the skillet from heat, then taste. Add salt, black pepper or cayenne pepper to taste, if desired.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Use a spoon to pour cover the bottom of a deep dish cast iron skillet with a small amount of the sauce.
- Cover the sauce with four of the softened gluten free lasagna noodles, cutting them as necessary to fit into the skillet.
- Pour ⅓ of sauce over the gluten free lasagna noodles, then cover with ⅓ of the cream cheese, mozzarella cheese and pepper Jack cheese.
- Make two additional Creole jambalaya lasagna layers.
- Cover and bake for 40 minutes.
- Uncover and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the lasagna is bubbly and the cheese is melted.
- Let stand 5 minutes before serving.