Growing up lasagna was one of my all time favourite meals. Who doesn’t love a hearty serve of layers of pasta and mince-saucy goodness all topped off with oozing melted cheese? However, being gluten-free meant I couldn’t eat stock standard lasagna, so here is my favourite alternative which I created and creatively named Popeye’s Lasagna (it will make sense in a moment). Here’s an overview:
- Mince beef
- Lentils, beans or any of your favourite legumes
- Fresh tomatoes
- Jar of pasta sauce
- Fresh herbs
- Ricotta cheese
- Plenty of spinach
- Mozzarella cheese
- More herbs!
Sorry for the lack of measurements, but I inherited my mothers cooking style affectionately known as a-la-chuck! (slang for throw it all in a pot and see what happens…)
1. To make the filling fry off the beef, onions and garlic in a pan with a small amount of oil (any healthy oil of your choice, I like olive). Use only half or a third of the amount of beef that you would usually use.
2. Once the meat is cooked and the onions are brown add diced carrot and tomatoes (nice and small) and the pasta sauce (home-made if you like) or tomato paste. Then, to compensate for the lack of meat add as many beans, lentils or legumes as you like!!!
3. Add any herbs or spices that you desire and cook til well infused and delicious.
4. In a lasagna dish spread a thin layer of the filling over the base, then add a layer of spinach leaves, then a layer of ricotta cheese, then another layer of filling and so on and so forth. Continue layering filling, spinach leaves and ricotta until it has all been used up.
5. To finish add a good layer of mozzarella cheese on top and sprinkle more herbs. Bake in a moderate oven until the cheese has melted, spinach wilted and it is hot all the way through. Remove, slice up and enjoy with plenty of salad or other veggies!
My notes: the spinach in this recipe is used to replace the pasta layers, hence the name Popeye’s Lasagna. For vegetarians, use all beans, lentils and legumes or any other vegetarian alternative. Legumes are a great way to get lots of fibre, protein, vitamins and essential minerals into your diet without consuming meat. Instead of carrots you can add as many different vegetables as you like, it’s really personal preference. Also, gluten-free lasagna sheets can most certainly be used and this creates a more traditional lasagna. When I use pasta sheets I still like to add lots of spinach in as well!
I hope you get a chance to try this nutritious and lovely Popeye’s Lasagne, and sorry again for lack of measurements!