I’m the first person to admit that a lasagne free from white pasta, cheese, or mince sounds, well, empty. But then, I made this…
You see, Happies, the hubster and I don’t eat much white stuff (OK, maybe on this one occasion), and we don’t eat dairy with fruit and vegetables (studies have shown that non-starchy veggies block the absorption of calcium in dairy, plus, milk is considered a ‘complete food’ and requires 100% attention from your digestive system. Talk about high maintenance). So, as you can imagine, lasagne isn’t on high rotation in our house.
I discovered that you really can have it all. Especially when Jude Blereau is sitting on your cookbook shelf. This recipe was inspired by her healthy lasagne, but given a few simple twists just because I can.
Yep, I used wholemeal lasagne sheets. But of course, if you don’t do gluten, you can replace these sheets with gluten-free ones instead. The cheese has been replaced with a trio of whizzed up borlotti, cannellini, and butter beans with olive oil, and the meat has been replaced with myriad veggies. Get ready for a taste sensation.
Here’s what you need…
- Wholemeal (or gluten free) pasta sheets. Fresh or packaged, whatever is convenient but fresh is always best!
- 1 large can of peeled tomatoes, or a bag of fresh cooking tomatoes, chopped and peeled
- 1 large eggplant thinly sliced
- 3 large carrots grated
- 2 zucchinis thinly sliced
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic thinly chopped
- 1/2 cup each of soaked and cooked borlotti, butter, and cannellini beans
- large glug of olive oil
- 1/2 bottle of red wine
- 2 bay leaves
- dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
And here’s what you need to do…
- Put your tomato sauce on by throwing the onion and garlic into a large pot to brown. Once sweated out, add your tomatoes, wine, bay leaves, salt, pepper and oregano. Let simmer on low heat for as long as you can. (I put mine on in the morning and let it simmer for a few hours. If there’s not enough water, add some stock or water as you go to keep it nice and juicy but still thick.)
- Now, prep your veggies by slicing your eggplant and zucchini and grating your carrots. Once sliced, brown them off in a non-stick pan to remove excess moisture and give them some extra flavour.
- Next, whiz up your beans in a blender, food processor, or hand-held whizzer with olive oil and a pinch of salt. You want them to be creamy and smooth. Try it, you’ll die!
- Finally, start assembling your lasagne by layering the pasta, with the tomato sauce, followed by the veggies, then the beans. Repeat until you hit the top of the tray.
- Put in a pre-warmed over at 180 degrees for around 45 minutes and then, SAVOUR EVERY MORSAL! I serve mine with a green salad.
Bonus Tip! Eating seasonally is one of the key things we try to do in our house as it’s more cost effective and better for everyone involved. If you can’t find an eggplant (or zucchini) that’s reasonable, replace these veggies with in-season options for your time of year. Some brilliant ideas include capsicum, sweet potato, and spinach and tofu – which will be my next feat. Play around, have fun, and please, share your experiences here.