Lasagne is such a family favourite, that when our family became part-vegetarian the search was on for the ultimate non-meat recipe.
After much trial and error I found a fabulous version in Lucy’s Food – one of my favourite cookbooks of 2011. Lucy devises menus for Ski World and filled this book with the recipes. The food served up in ski chalets is generally comfort food incarnate but also smart enough to serve at relaxed dinner parties.
I’ve adjusted her recipe to double the sauce and filling and halved the pasta and the results are exquisite.
It’s the perfect make-ahead dish for feeding a large group of people, whether it’s a lunch or dinner party it’ll go down a treat. If you’re feeding a mixed group of veggies and meat-eaters, then this is a great way to please both without having to cook two different meals.
The roasted sweet potato gives it a great texture and fills you up without the greasiness of minced beef.
Sweet potato and spinach lasagne – adapted from Lucy Cufflin recipe
For the sweet potato filling
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 2cm cubes
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp black onion seeds
For the quick tomato sauce
3 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato puree
6 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tsp sugar
3 tsp dried sage
For the sauce
500g washed spinach leaves
100g plain flour
large pinch nutmeg
For the lasagne
6-8 sheets lasagne – fresh if possible
150g of grated cheddar – or more if needed
- For the sweet potato filling: Pre-heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Take two roasting tins and pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into each one. Add the cubes of sweet potato, scatter with the black onion seeds and then toss to coat the potatoes. Roast in the oven uncovered for 20 minutes, or until the potato is soft and golden.
- For the tomato sauce: Put all the ingredients in a large pan, stir to combine and then bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer for 10-15 mins. Remove from the heat and reserve about a quarter of the tomato sauce for the freezer or to serve up with plain pasta shapes for children who won’t eat the lasagne.
- While everything is cooking pierce the spinach bags and cook one after the other in the microwave on full power for 3 minutes. Remove and roughly chop.
- For the sauce: Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the flour, stirring to form a smooth paste and cook on a low heat while stirring for about a minute.
- Add the milk and nutmeg then stir quickly until the lumps have disappeared, then whisk over a medium heat until the sauce thickens. Then stir in half of the chopped spinach
- To assemble the lasagne: Combine the tomato sauce with your roasted sweet potato.
- Take a large lasagne dish and put half of your sweet potato and tomato mix into the bottom – smoothing to form an even layer.
- Place 3-4 lasagne sheets on top, then put the remaining sweet potato mix over the top in another even layer.
- Scatter the other half of the chopped spinach over the top of this. Then place another 3-4 lasagne sheets over the top and then pour your white sauce over the top.
- Cover the dish with foil, then cook in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove and then scatter with grated cheese and bake without the foil for a further 15 mins.
- Serve with mixed salad and crusty bread.
I’m determined to make more of an effort in 2012 and be more sociable!
Do check it out if you’re in the market for some cracking pasta recipes – you can never have too many.
And secondly for Ren’s at Fabulicious Food Family Friendly Fridays.
Also, as most of my food is family friendly I’ve always got an entry on hand – hurrah!