Monday, 27 January 2014

Lentil Lasagne - Meatless Monday

This lasagne recipe comes entirely out my own head and it's the first lasagne dish I  ever made from scratch.  I have perfected the recipe to fill this baking dish:

 What?  That's not how you measure things in the kitchen?
(22cm square)
This recipe is vegetarian but not vegan.  If you can veganise it I would love to hear from you!  It's not low fat, and I'm not sure what counts as low salt but it probably isn't that, either.  Lots of fibre and nutrients*, though.  Probably.
*Not a real nutritionist, I just did year 12 home ec.
I set aside two hours to make this, but most of that I'm just sitting around waiting.  It's certainly not a one-pot meal, but it is very simple.

You will need:
 One big tomato cut into bits or 10-12 small tomatoes.  I got these nice-looking grape tomatoes because:

 Lasagne sheets.  Two of these is slightly smaller than my dish, so I use these.
 This much tomato paste (one tub)
 Whole green (brown) lentils
 Red split lentils
 This pretend parmesan stuff
 Any kind of sweet chilli sauce
 Grated cheese.  OR you can grate cheese yourself if you're some kind of fitness nut, I suppose.
 Any vegetable stock powder, but has to be a powder
 Diced tomatoes in a tin.  I use one with herbs in so I don't have to remember to add herbs.
Parsley for garnish if you're feeling fancy.  This is from my garden.  Posh!
You'll also need plain flour, cooking oil, butter, milk and ground cinnamon.

Method:
 Bring three cups of water to the boil in a saucepan and add half a cup of green lentils.  Turn the heat down to medium.  Go sit down and rest for 10 minutes.  You've earned it.
 Add half a cup of red lentils to the pot.  All the lentils will need another 20 minutes together.
While the lentils are getting nice and soft, get a medium frying pan out and start the rest of the filling.
 Cut the little tomatoes in half, lengthwise if they have a length, and place them skin-side down in the lightly oiled pan.  Drizzle them with a little more oil and sprinkle them with vegetable stock powder.
 When everything smells like hot tomato (or after 5 minutes) add the tin of crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste.  Stir well to combine.  Leave the pan on low heat.
 When the lentils are ready, add them to the tomato mixture, along with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce.
 Stir it until it looks like this.
 Prepare your baking pan to receive the first delicious layer.
 (Unfortunately I have no pictures of the cheese sauce-making process as I was alone and needed both hands, so I'll try to tell you carefully.  If you need something clarified, please leave a comment.)
Add 2 tablespoons of butter to a small saucepan.  When the butter has completely melted, remove from heat and add 1/4 cup of plain flour.  Stir until you have buttery flour.  Add 1/2 cup of milk and return to heat, stirring constantly.  When you feel it starting to thicken, remove from heat and add about a tablespoon of ground parmesan and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  Stir to combine.
 It should look kind of like this.
 Each layer of your lasagne will look like this.  Or nicer if you have a lot of spare time.  Using a soup ladle for the lentil filling, pour 1 & 1/2 -2 ladlesful into the pan, then sprinkle with grated cheese and a few blobbity-blobs of cheese sauce.
 Try to make each layer of pasta face the opposite way to the last, which will make the dish slightly more stable according to my Nana.
 When you reach the top of the dish, add a final pasta layer.  Cover the top pasta layer with the remaining cheese sauce, a sprinkle of grated cheese, a little sprinkle of cinnamon and some fresh parsley if you're fancy.
Bake for about 20 minutes to make it look like this.  Or again, nicer if you have lots of free time.

Happy Lasagne-ing!
Cassandra Louise.


Little Wolff
Jam Hands

14 comments:

  1. That's exactly how I measure stuff in my kitchen. I notice you've sealed that lentil bag with a peg. Are you related to my ex? That man has pegs on absolutely everything! I had to buy extra pegs to hang the washing.
    Your nana is right about the pasta sheets facing opposing directions each layer. I do that too. I haven't made a lasagna in years. I usually use a jar of spaghetti sauce with a sachet of tomato paste added, no lentils, but I layer in some grated zucchini, well squeezed so it's not soggy, and sliced mushrooms and garlic. I use real parmesan too, not that imitation stuff which smells like old socks. I grate it myself and probably snack on half of it while I'm doing that. I've found that cooking the pasta sheets a little works better for me. I have everything else ready to go, then cook a couple of sheets, drain them on a clean towel, layer them with whatever else is going in while another couple of sheets gets cooked. It's way fiddly and takes longer, but the dry sheets don't soften enough in the baking to suit me.

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    1. Haha! My mum is a peg-sealer too. :-) The grated zucchini sounds great! For years I thought I didn't like zucchini, but then I grew my own and I realised I just don't like supermarket ones...
      Yeah, the pretend parmesan is a bit pungent but I've found it difficult to get non-animal rennet real stuff, so I settle. :-)

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  2. Looks fantastic Cassandra! Thanks for linking up with Meatless Monday so nice to have you sharing your recipe in my little space!

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    1. I've been promising to share this recipe for so long! I waited until a Monday especially to join in the link fun. :-)

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  3. I like the idea of using lentils... in place of the meat... I must try this as I am always looking for something with high protein :)

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    1. Very happy to be a source of ideas! :-D I was inspired by lentil burger patties.

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  4. That looks great! I'm a peg sealer too - something I inherited from my mum! Lentils make such a great meat-substitute in hearty meals!

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    1. They really do! I've had meat-eaters tell me I make lentils something they'd eat with this dish. ;-)

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  5. Mmm that looks lovely! Might try. Last time I tried gluten free lasagne I didn't think to check if I needed to precook the sheets I had. I did. Crunchy made a lovely texture contrast!

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    1. Whoops! Live & learn, as they say. Every brand is different, so lots of chances for surprises. ;-)

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  6. I would be inclined to try this, for something different. I don't mind lentils, and would be so much cheaper than meat. It looks good too. :)

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    1. It pleases the meat-eater at my house. It's my favourite meal. :-)

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  7. That looks delish! Good tip on the lasagne sheets too, I didn't know that and probably explains why my lasagne falls apart when I dish it up!

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    1. Thanks! Yeah, if they all face the same way it's like you're making two small ones. :-)

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