For a very nutritious and healthy meal the whole family loves, try my new version of meat-free lasagne made with red lentils and spinach.
Red lentils are packed with benefits and are especially helpful for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, due to the high amount of protein and iron. Hard-working mums and dads will also benefit from added energy because of this good source of protein. More info on red lentils here.
This recipe also features spinach. Together with red lentils this may mean you reach your ideal dietary intake of fibre with this one recipe. Fibre is particularly helpful for pregnancy when constipation may be a problem.
Spinach is also a superfood and contains anti-inflammatory properties (which may help prevent or manage mastitis in nursing mothers). And it is packed with vitamin A to ensure a strong immunity to infection and bacteria… absolutely essential for parents and children who attend playgroups, daycare or school. Spinach really is incredible – read more about it here.
So you can see why this meal is so appropriate for the whole family 🙂
I tend to improvise in the kitchen and have fun with what I’m making on-the-fly, so you will rarely find exact measurements in my recipes. Hopefully you can follow this and create the delicious meal that we loved.
You will need:
– 2 cups of dried red lentils
– 1 brown onion
– 2 cloves of garlic
– Italian herb seasoning such as dried basil, parsley & bay leaves
– sea salt and raw sugar
– 2 tbsp plain wholemeal flour
– 2 tbsp butter
– 1 cup milk
– approx 1 cup (or less) frozen spinach, defrosted beforehand
– 1/2 cup salsa (taco variety)
– 1 pack of lasagne sheets (egg variety cooks faster)
First, create your red lentil sauce (this can be prepared and refrigerated up to one day in advance):
1. Rinse 2 cups red lentils and set aside in a container to soak.
2. A few hours later, dice 1 brown onion and add it, plus 2 crushed cloves of garlic, to a hot frying pan with extra virgin olive oil.
3. When onion and garlic are smelling divine, drain your lentils and add to the pan. Add a large tin of crushed tomatoes and extra water. Bring to a simmer.
4. Add dried parsley, basil, bay leaves, 2 pinches of crushed sea-salt and 1 pinch of raw sugar. Mix well and simmer for 30 minutes.
Second, create your béchamel sauce:
1. In a small saucepan melt 2tbsp butter.
2. Add 2 tbsp wholemeal plain flour and mix well with a wooden spoon.
3. Add 1 cup milk, use a small whisk to clear lumps for 3-5 minutes while you bring the milk to the simmer.
4. Let the sauce simmer for a few more minutes and turn off the heat to allow it to thicken.
Thirdly, build your lasagne:
1. Start with a splash of red lentil sauce at the bottom of your casserole dish then add your first layer of lasagne sheets.
2. Next, a thicker layer of red lentil sauce, followed by béchamel, grated cheese and another layer of lasagne sheets.
3. Carry on as above. In one of your layers, spread the spinach over the red lentil sauce.
4. Top layer: spread your lasagne sheets, béchamel sauce, a good covering of grated tasty cheese and parmesan cheese, and your salsa on the very top.
5. If you think your lasagne looks a bit dry, pour a cup (or less) of water over the top gently. A moist lasagne will be softer to eat.
Finally, bake in a pre-heated oven at 180-200 degrees for 20-30 mins. Watch for your lasagne to turn golden and crispy on top.
Have generous servings of this one! It is just so healthy. And, with a side dish of fresh garden salad, it’s a great summer, spring, autumn and winter meal. Please let me know how you go by leaving a comment below.
Day by day we aim to repair our bodies and have trust, faith and optimism for the future. You can join me as I walk to wellness in the private facebook group Joanna Haley Homestead (Journey to Wellness)
Joanna Haley, Author