Vegetables Galore

This woman is on a mission…!  What I’ve been finding is that I’m enjoying prepared plant-heavy meals much more than a few veggies in a dish.  And there are so many good ways of inhaling those veggies for a plant-heavy diet!

I used to make this dish almost weekly a few years ago…I don’t know why I haven’t made it for so long because it is so good.  I love the red vegetable-based sauce – it can be used in so many different ways, and is great for using up odds-and-ends in the fridge i.e. bits that will be thrown out to rubbish if not used.

Vegetable Lasagne(serves 4)

3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 each of large green, red and yellow pepper, deseeded and chopped

1 large courgette, finely chopped

700g jar of Passata

150ml red wine

1 teaspoon Italian Herb mix(dried)

Freshly ground salt & black pepper

6 lasagne sheets(dried)

650g Cottage Cheese

50g Parmesan, grated

75g Strong Cheddar, grated

Tomato slices to decorate

Oven: 180*C(fan)

7″ square dish(approx)

Gently heat the olive oil in a large pan, and saute the onion until it is translucent and soft(with the pan covered).  Add the minced garlic and stir, heat for 30 seconds.  Add the chopped peppers and courgette.  Stir well, and heat for 3 minutes(with the pan covered).  Pour in the jar of Passata and red wine; add the Italian mixed herbs and season with grindings of salt & pepper.  Stir well and bring to the boil.  Once the mixture is boiling, remove the pan cover and turn the heat down to maintain a rapid simmer for 45 – 60 minutes.  This is to make sure the vegetables are soft, and also allows the liquid to reduce so the result will be a thick sauce.  Once the sauce is of the desired consistency, remove from the heat.

Empty the Cottage Cheese into a medium bowl, stir in the grated Parmesan and some fresh black pepper to taste.

To assemble the lasagne, spread half of the vegetable sauce in the bottom of the dish.  Dot some Cottage Cheese mix(approx 1/4 of the mix) over the sauce but do not mix in.  Use 3 sheets of lasagne to create a layer on top of the vegetable sauce and Cottage Cheese layers – break the pieces to fit if necessary.

Spread the remaining vegetable sauce over the lasagne layer.  Create a lasagne layer with the remaining 3 sheets.  Spread the remaining Cottage Cheese mix over the lasagne layer, and cover to the edges to create a seal.  Sprinkle with the grated Cheddar and decorate with tomato slices.

If you are making this in advance, cover the dish with cling-film and refrigerate until required – I would suggest for 48hrs maximum.

When you are ready to cook the lasagne for serving, remove the cling-film and place the dish on a baking tray(to avoid horrible messes on the oven floor!) and pop into the hot oven for 25 minutes.  Check the middle is piping hot.

Serve and enjoy!

This dish is so full of colour, nutrients and flavour – even He Who Is Allergic to Vegetables & Health declared this lasagne to be superb.  It has no meat!  He said it was good and he would eat it in a restaurant!  Wahoo – there is hope!

The wonderful rainbow of colours with the pop of garlic on the side:

This ‘ole thing was lurking in the back of the fridge so I put it to good use(aka a courgette!)

Plenty of flavourings added to the pan for super-taste:

And vegetable sauce bubbling away in the pot(apologies – not the best pic in the world):

Start to assemble like so – but please don’t crunch on lasagne at this stage unless you want broken teeth?

And once cooked in the oven, serve and inhale enjoy!

Ok, it over-cooked…but my word, the cheese is so tasty alongside the vegetable sauce.

This dish is versatile.  Use any veg you wish to make the vegetable sauce.  I suspect a lot of people would use aubergines – I just can’t like them.  Grated carrot, broccoli, mushrooms, a can of sweetcorn would be good as would some peas.  Dice the veg so it is small to make a sauce; and reduce the sauce so it is not liquid and runny – unless you prefer runny, thin sauces.  But I don’t.  It’s likely that if the sauce is too thin, there will be an excess of liquid floating in the dish at the end of the baking period, which I’m not terribly keen on.

I took a risk with this lasagne.  I used low-fat Cottage Cheese, and was a bit worried that liquid would seep from it during baking and leave a watery result – it didn’t!  It was absolutely perfect.

I must confess I have become lazy in my old age, and avoid making white sauce(as in roux sauce) whenever possible.  Using the Cottage Cheese is my ‘cheat’.  Mixed with the Parmesan it gives wonderful flavour, and a lovely chew to the dish.  It’s good for calcium and this one was lower fat.  And it’s quick and easy.

A large green salad was good with this; and to make the meal go further, a side of garlic bread would be a good, traditional addition.

Are you brave enough to eat vegetables in a bowl this way?!!

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