Sunday, 25 September 2011

:: A Lean Lasagne for People in Need ::

Beef & Vegetable Lasagne
:: Megann’s Kitchen ::

:: a healthy lasagne about to go in the oven for baking ::

“It’s your birthday Megann, what would you like for dinner” Mum would ask every year. “Lasagne please” I would always answer. The dessert would vary between traditional American Lemon Meringue & Caramel Meringue pies. I know mum would continuously be surprised as lasagne is a bit pedestrian to have as a special birthday dish for dinner, but for me, it was my go-to comfort food. “Lasagne it is” she would say, and for about 6 years running, that is what I had.
I now make it a lot in our household. I love it, my husband loves it & most importantly, my toddler son loves it. I have adapted mum’s recipe with my son’s nutritional intake in mind to include as many vegetables as possible that I can pack into it without it tasting vegetarian. I tend to look in the fridge, get out an array of vegetables that need using up which will complement the dish and go to town. Sure, lasagne may take a bit of time but if you make it in large quantities, which I do, you can freeze any leftovers for emergency or toddler meals.
This recipe is also perfect for friends in need. This particular lasagne I made one dreary & rainy day to take over to my friend Heidi’s house just after she had her baby. It would be the perfect new mother’s comfort food, full of nutrition & energy for someone recovering from hospital. Enjoy my cheesy hidden vegetable version!

Bolognaise Sauce
750 grams beef mince
2 Tbs olive oil
1 brown onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 large carrot, grated
1 large zucchini, grated
½ cup diced button mushrooms
½ cup red wine
1½ cups beef stock
1 800 gram tin diced tomatoes
1 jar of passata
salt & pepper to taste

Béchamel Sauce
4 Tbs butter
4 Tbs plain flour
4 cups milk
200 grams cheddar cheese & 50 grams parmesan cheese mix
salt & pepper to taste

Instant Lasagna Sheets
baby spinach, washed & roughly chopped
Tasty cheddar cheese

:: makes 1 x-large lasagne dish

:: adding the vegetables to the mince ::
:: a lovely, healthy bolognaise sauce ::

Bolognaise Sauce
Heat oil in a deep dish saucepan and add the diced onion. Sauté over a low heat, stirring until just transparent and smelling fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic & cook for another 2-3 minutes. Increase the heat & add the beef mince, browning it & breaking it up to a fine mince as you go. Add the carrot, zucchini & mushrooms & cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the red wine & reduce for 3 minutes. Add beef stock & continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes & also stir through the passata, season, cover, and simmer gently 30-45 minutes. Keep an eye on your moisture levels & check on it, stirring every 10 minutes or so.

:: spinach- full of iron & oh so tastey! ::

Béchamel Sauce
Melt butter into a saucepan over low heat & stir in the flour. It should be a wet, sloppy dough consistency. Stir for about 2-3 minutes or until you get the fragrance of cookies from the flour, this means your flour is cooked & ready. Don’t let it change colour too much. Remove from the stovetop, gradually whisk in some milk until it thickens, then add some more milk and whisk until it re-thickens. Return to low heat. Keep on gradually adding the milk while whisking until you have a smooth, thick creamy mixture. Gradually add the cheese & when the cheese melts, add more. As you get towards the end, I like to taste the “cheesiness” of my sauce to see if I need to add more. Season with salt & pepper.

:: layering the lasagne ::

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Pre-prepare a large lasagne dish by lightly greasing it with butter. Place approx ¾ cup of the meat sauce on the base of the dish. Alternate between layers of lasagne sheets, meat sauce, cheese sauce & baby spinach, finishing with a cheese & spinach layer. Your dish should take 4-5 layers. Sprinkle with cheese & bake for 45-50 minutes or until cooked through. Rest for at least 10-15 minutes before serving.

Kitchen Notes
:: You can prepare & assemble your lasagne up to a day in advance as the flavours that are released through the pasta are exceptional!
:: Resting your Lasagne allows excess moisture to seep into the pasta sheets so it holds form to avoid serving a sloppy mess.
:: Any leftover sauce, I freeze for toddler meals.

:: this basic sauce is not only for lasagna, but for other pasta as well ::

For Needy People
:: When I made my lasagne for Heidi, I prepared & assembled the dish in the morning then refrigerated it. When it was our time to visit the baby, I popped it in a travel bag & as soon as I arrived at the house I continued on with the cooking process in the oven. You could also bake it at home for freezing or reheating when needed. It’s a meal for the whole family to enjoy + leftovers!

Source: Freedom Baking Dish: follow this link

I would also love to see your Megann's Kitchen Creations/photos of recipes that you have made on Megann’s Kitchen Facebook!


  1. Great post!
    Loved your lasagna, it looks so healthy and so yummy!.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Love from the north of Spain

  2. You are so very welcome... and all the way from Spain!!! It was a hard one to write as I had to convert it from my head to paper, as I know it by heart, & it is quite extensive :) I hope you enjoy it just as much as we do in our house, it's a yummy one!


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