This lighter version of a lasagne uses layers of butternut squash, courgette and spinach in place of pasta. Add a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese on top for a hearty and tasty mid-week dinner packed with vegetables and high in protein.
Serves 4 (with left over mince mixture which you can use for other meals).
Vegetable layered lasagne
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 red pepper, peeled and diced
2 courgettes, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 large butternut squash
2 generous handfuls of spinach
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons of dried oregano
2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
800 grams of lean beef mince
100 grams of grated mozzarella
In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and saute the onion and garlic until the onion is transparent and soft. Add the diced carrot and red pepper and saute for another 5 minutes until all the vegetables are nice and soft. Increase the heat, add the mince and cook until browned. Pour in the tinned tomatoes and add the tomato puree, the bay leaves, oregano and chopped basil. Stir well and simmer for approximately 1 hour. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
While the mince mixture is cooking, pre heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Chop off the narrower part of the butternut squash (the bit that doesn’t contain the seeds). Peel and cut it into thin slices, as if lasagne sheets. Ideally you want about 10-12 slices. (You can keep the rest of the butternut squash to use for other recipes such as butternut squash and lentil soup). Bake in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and put to one side. Then place the sliced courgette on a baking tray, drizzle with olive and bake for 15 minutes until soft and slightly golden.
Once the mince is cooked, you can get to work layering your lasagne, just quickly remove the bay leaves from the sauce. In a 20 cm x 20 cm baking dish, add one layer of the mince mixture, one layer of butternut squash, then a layer of courgette, then add a second layer of the mince mixture, topped with the spinach and then the rest of the butternut squash. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake in the oven at the same temperature for 30 minutes or until the top is golden and crispy. Any leftovers can be kept covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Tip: place any leftover mince mixture in the fridge or freezer as this can be used for other meals – it makes a lovely Bolognese type sauce served with courgette or butternut squash “spaghetti”.