I pinched this basic recipe from Tom Kerridge’s Lose Weight for Good series but as with most of my recipes, I have changed them to make them more to my palate and usually a bit lighter on the calories. It’s bursting with vegetables so a good way of trying to get some of your 5 a day and even the kids should like it. I think it is probably ideal for people with an intolerance to gluten or on a low-carb diet. Of course, you could use pasta if you wish. There is a whole range of gluten-free, wholemeal or standard lasagna sheets on the market so it’s very versatile if you prefer.
Looks quite a lot of effort but is not that bad and definitely worth the effort. You know what they say “No Pain No Gain”!
500 g of lean minced beef
2 Large onions finely chopped
1 heaped tablespoon of garlic purée or crushed garlic (approximately four cloves)
2 medium carrots finely chopped
2 celery sticks finely chopped
1 tablespoon of caraway seeds (optional)
3 tablespoons of tomato purée
3 to 4 tablespoons of tomato passata (optional)
pint of beef stock (fresh or stock cube)
400 g tin of plum tomatoes
splash of balsamic vinegar (optional)
Small glass of red wine (leave that out to reduce the calories)
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
A couple of jarred peppers (optional)
1 red pepper deseeded and chopped
A couple of sprigs of rosemary, leaves finely chopped
A couple of handfuls of chestnut mushrooms (or any mushrooms you have to hand)
2 large courgettes thinly sliced at an angle
2 beef tomatoes (or large vine tomatoes) sliced
250 g approximately of low-fat/that free quark, cottage cheese or ricotta
Half a ball of mozzarella, grated (optional)
Small piece of Parmesan (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Handful of fresh basil
Preheat the oven to 200°/ C 180° C fan/gas mark 6
Spread the mince onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake on the top shelf for 40 minutes making sure it is broken down thoroughly. Once it is cooked to an even, dark brown colour, remove it from the oven and set aside. Do not switch off the oven.
Heat a nonstick pan and add a tablespoon of olive oil (wipe it out with kitchen roll or use spray oil to cut down the fat even more although bear in mind, this probably will serve about 8 portions)
Fry the onions for about 10 minutes or until soft. If they start to stick to the pan add a splash of water or wine.
Add the garlic and cook for a minute, then stir in the carrots and celery and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the wine and vinegar and cook until slightly reduced to burn off the alcohol. Add the caraway seeds and red pepper. Add the tomato purée and cook out for a minute.
Add the mince, stock , tinned tomatoes, herbs and mushrooms. Bring to the boil then lower the heat to simmer and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until the sauce is thickened to a rich consistency.
Pour the sauce into an ovenproof lasagne dish. Layer the courgettes and tomatoes on top.
Pour over the quark and grate the mozzarella and Parmesan over the top.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with a crisp and crunchy salad.