High Protein Veggie Lasagne
I think this might actually be my very favourite meal, like ever. I know it’s such a tough call between lasagne and pizza, but I think this one juuuust takes the crown! But as always, I try to make my comfort food as nutritionally packed as possible by putting a healthy twist on a traditional family classic. It doesn’t have the typical fat-laden creamy Béchamel sauce but it is loaded with a rainbow of hidden vegetables and has complex carbohydrates and protein in the form of Green Lentil & Brown Rice Lasagne Sheets, which by the way, are a total revelation because they require no soaking or cooking beforehand.
One portion provides 447 calories, 32g of protein, a quarter of my daily fibre and Vitamin A requirements, as well as a third of my recommended calcium.
For the sauce, I make what I like to call, an Everything-But-The-Kitchen-Sink-Tomato-Sauce. It has a bunch of hidden veggies in it and I make big batches almost every week, and have a freezer full of it because I typically end up using it almost every day in one thing or another. Obviously, for this lasagne (duh), shepherds pie, chicken bolognaise and even simply as a delicious pasta sauce. It contains onions, tomatoes, courgettes and carrots, so is a great way of adding extra veggies to your kid's diet. Tomatoes contain an antioxidant called Lycopene, which is what gives them their red colour, but it becomes more readily available to the body when it is cooked. Studies have shown that this might play a role in preventing or even slowing down the growth of some cancers, particularly prostate cancer. But of course, if you are short on time (or let’s face it, energy), then any low-sugar shop bought tomato pasta sauce will do the trick instead.
Nutrition Fact: Aubergines are rich in antioxidants, specifically nasunin, which gives their skin it’s purple colour.
For the sauce — Makes 4 Cups
· 2 tsp Oil
· 5 Cloves Garlic
· 1 Carrot
· 1 Cup Spinach Leaves
· 2 tbsp Dried Herbs of your choice (I normally go for a Basil, Rosemary, Thyme & Sage combo)
· 800g Tinned Tomatoes (= 2 tins)
· 2 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
· 2 tbsp Tomato Puree
· 1 Onion
· 1 Courgette
· 2 tbsp Coconut Sugar
· Salt & Pepper to taste
· Optional – Chilli Flakes and Smoked Paprika if not for the kids.
For the Lasagne
· 1 cup Raw Spinach
· 100g Lasagne Sheets (I used Explore Cuisine Green Lentil ones)
· 125g Mozzarella
· 300 g Courgettes
· 300 g Aubergine
· 2 cups Veggie Tomato Sauce
· Optional: 100g Smoked Scamorza (or just add more Mozzarella if you can’t find this)
· 1 tsp Rapeseed Oil
For the sauce
· Finely dice the onions, and grate the carrots and courgettes.
· Finely chop the spinach.
· Mince the garlic.
· Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onions until slightly browning.
· Add the minced garlic, courgettes and carrots, stir for 2 minutes and then add the tinned tomatoes, spinach, tomato puree and herbs.
· Stir until fully combined and then add the vinegar and sugar and leave to simmer on a low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
· Salt & pepper to taste.
· Allow to cool, and store in the fridge for several days or freeze in individual portions.
For the Lasagne
· Preheat fan oven to 180 degrees.
· Slice the cheese into little cubes.
· Slice the aubergine and courgettes lengthways and brush with oil on both sides. Griddle them until slightly browned on both sides and set aside.
· Put 3 lasagne sheets on the bottom of a deep dish and layer ⅓of the spinach on top.
· Then add ⅓ of the aubergine, ⅓ of the courgettes and smother in ⅓ tomato sauce.
· Sprinkle with ⅓ of the cubed cheese and fresh ground pepper.
· Repeat these layering steps twice more until you have 3 layers worth.
· Cook in the oven for 45 minutes and enjoy!
Calories – 447
Protein – 32g
Carbohydrates – 39g
Fat – 19g
Fibre – 6g
Vitamin A – 24%
Vitamin C – 6%
Calcium – 27%
Iron - 4%