Happy new year readers! I hope your year has started off great.
I know I have been absent for the past few months and I promise I have a good reason. Well two of them, actually. And they are humdingers! But I promise this recipe is definitely worth the wait. Oh, you want to hear the news first? OK then you impatient lot.
Well, first of all one of my dearest hobbies has turned into a little business and that has kept me a little busy recently. You see, as well as food blogging, I make scented soy candles and they have actually proved fairly popular. If you want to check them out you can do so here.
On to the second humdinger.. Well, I am excited to announce that our family is growing and in June we are welcoming our second child into the world! I wasn’t up to cooking much in the beginning but starting to feel much better now so I am ready to take over the kitchen again.
So, hope they satisfied your curiosity and now on to the recipe. A fantastic veggie-filled variation of a creamy, cheesy lasagne. It takes a bit of effort to make but come on, it’s LASAGNE. It’s worth it! Plus there’s a huge amount of veg hidden in there, so you don’t have to feel bad about eating it. This is seriously so good, I urge you to make it for someone who doesn’t usually enjoy vegetables and watch them ask for seconds!
Super veg lasagne
1 medium aubergine, sliced lengthways into thin strips resembling lasagne sheets
400g frozen spinach, slightly thawed
6 garlic cloves, finely sliced
200g lasagne sheets
200g carrots, grated
2 onions, chopped
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tbs tomato puree
60g red lentils
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper
100-150g cheddar cheese (use more or less to own preference)
For bechamel sauce:
50g plain flour
1 litre semi-skimmed milk
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt to taste
First, preheat the oven to 175 degrees.
Then prepare the vegetable sauce. Add a little bit of oil in a large pan and when hot, add the grated carrots and onions. Let sweat for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, then half fill the can with water and add to sauce. Add the tomato puree, the lentils, salt, pepper and herbs. At this point you can add a pinch of chilli powder too if you like a bit of spice. Let simmer until the lentils are done, about 10ish minutes.
Meanwhile, fry the garlic in a pan with a bit of oil for about 1 min. Add the spinach and increase heat to high, fry until the spinach is completely defrosted and some of the water has evaporated (it doesn’t have to be completely dry). Season with salt and pepper.
Set the vegetable sauce and spinach aside and prepare the bechamel. Add the butter to a saucepan on medium heat and wait until melted. Add the flour and fry for just about a minute, you don’t want it to brown at all but you want to cook away the raw flour taste.
Take off heat and slowly add the milk while constantly whisking. Place back on the heat and keep stirring until thickened. If there’s any lumps just use your whisk and vigorously whisk the sauce until smooth. Take off heat and season with salt and nutmeg.
Assemble the lasagne. To make it easy, here is a step by step layer guide:
First a layer of vegetable sauce in the bottom of your lasagne dish.
Follow with pasta sheets.
Then a layer of spinach
Then a thick layer of bechamel
Then the aubergines (use as lasagne sheets)
Then a layer of vegetable sauce
Then a layer of spinach
Then a layer of bechamel
Then a layer of pasta sheets
Top with a thick layer of bechamel and sprinkle the cheese on top.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
As hard as it may be, it’s essential to let the lasagne cool in the dish after taking out of the oven. I recommend at least 15 minutes if you have the patience.
Why this rocks:
SPINACH is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, B2, K and C and iron, calcium, folate, potassium and manganese.
LENTILS are an excellent source of fibre, copper, phosphorus and manganese. Also a good source of iron, protein, vitamin B1, zinc and potassium. They help you feel fuller for longer and are a great food for weight loss!
TOMATO is an excellent source of vitamins C, K, A and E. It is also rich in potassium, manganese, fibre, copper, folate, niacin and phosphorus. They are shown to reduce the risk of several types of cancer, lower blood pressure and be very beneficial for heart health.
CARROT is an excellent source of vitamin A and beta-carotene. They also contain fibre, vitamins K and E, magnesium and zinc.
AUBERGINE is a source of fibre, vitamins B1 and B6 and potassium. It is also high in minerals copper, magnesium and manganese.