Lasagne, traditionally a dish made of flat pasta sheets layered in-between a beef ragù, béchamel sauce, and parmesan cheese has been a popular meal choice for families for centuries. Apparently originating in Italy (although the Greeks claim it started there), it became popular all over the world. Although traditional lasagne is still popular, over the years, lasagne has taken on many different recipes. This recipe is for lentil (or beef) lasagne and is my twist on the classic version with strips of lasagne pasta sheets. I have included both options in the recipe below.
Serving size: Serves 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes – 2 hours (depending on protein)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 large carrots, finely chopped
- 2-3 sticks celery, finely chopped
- 1 white onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed or grated
- 400g dried red lentils (alt. 400g extra-lean beef or Quorn mince)
- 250ml stock (veg or beef)
- 250ml red wine (optional)
- 500g carton Italian Passata or tinned chopped tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp tomato puree
- Fresh or dried oregano, and thyme
- 2 Bay leaves
For the assembly
- 6 fresh lasagne sheets, sliced in three lengthways
- 125g pack light mozzarella, drained and torn
- 1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes (optional)
- Handful fresh basil leaves
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180° c (350° F) if you are eating this on the day.
Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the soffritto mix (finely chopped onion, celery, and onion) plus the garlic and cook for approximately 15 minutes, stirring regularly until soft.
Step 2: Add the beef and cook for 5-10 minutes until it is no longer pink. If you are using lentils, add the lentils and jump straight to step 3.
Step 3: Add the wine (if using) and stock and simmer for 5 minutes. Then add the passata or tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs, bay leaves. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
Step 4: Place lid on the pot and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes for lentils, or until soft (or 1-2 hours for beef).
Personally, I prefer making the ragu ahead of time as the flavour increases so much overnight in the fridge, or if frozen if made a week or so before).
Step 5: When you are ready to assemble your lasagna, tip the ragu into an ovenproof casserole dish or pot and stir in the sliced lasagna sheets. Scatter the torn mozzarella over the top and add some cherry tomatoes. Pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the mozzarella has melted and tomatoes have burst or blistered slightly.
If you have frozen or refrigerated the ragu ahead of time, heat this up in a pot until it is piping hot before putting it into an ovenproof dish.
Step 4: Sprinkle with fresh basil leaves and black pepper, and serve with a side of garden salad.
Tip: Use full-fat mozzarella and sprinkle with parmesan to make this a little more indulgent. You can also use a mix of lentils and beef in the ragu to increase your veg intake and extend the portions made.