Healthy Beef and Lentil Lasagna

Homemade Lasagna is just so tasty. Beef and Lentil Lasagna even more so. The combination of beef mince and lentils provides a nutritious, cheap and healthy substitute for the usual beef mince filling. Lentils are high in protein but low in fat and are also one of the best vegetable sources of iron.

Pasta would have to be in my top five favourite meals. It is filling, super tasty and damn, can you experiment with it or what! I grew up on Lasagne, Alison Holst’s popular Lazy Lasagna to be exact (one of the easiest recipes ever – definitely try it if you haven’t already!).

This recipe actually contains half the fat and calories of regular lasagne but still tastes amazing. I often make this dish because it freezes so well and if you are short of time, you can also make in advance and let the flavours develop a bit more.

Although you can use dried pasta, from experience fresh pasta sheets work much better!

Beef and Lentil Lasagne
 
  • 500 grams minced beef
  • 550 gram tomato-based pasta sauce
  • 400 gram can of crushed tomatoes, with herbs
  • 220 gram can of brown lentils
  • 1 1/2 cups of trim milk
  • 1 tbsp of cornflour
  • 1 tbsp of mustard
  • 4 individual fresh lasagne sheets
  • 1/2 a cup of grated parmesan cheese
 
Preheat oven to 180°C or 160°C fan-forced. Lightly spray a 24cm x 20cm (2L/8-cup capacity) ovenproof dish with oil.
 
Lightly spray a large non-stick frying pan with oil and heat over high heat. Add mince and cook, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon, for 3–5 minutes or until browned. Add the pasta sauce and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until thickened. Stir in lentils.
 
Meanwhile, blend ¼ cup (60ml) of the milk with cornflour in a bowl. Bring remaining milk to the boil in a small saucepan. Stir in cornflour mixture. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until sauce boils and thickens. Add mustard. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
 
Place 1 lasagne sheet in the base of the prepared dish and trim to fit. Top with one-third of the beef mixture. Repeat layering with remaining lasagne sheets and beef mixture, finishing with a lasagne sheet. Spread the white sauce over the lasagne and sprinkle with parmesan.
 
Bake for 30–35 minutes or until pasta is tender and top is golden. This healthy beef and lentil lasagna is great on a cold winter night, served piping hot from the oven alongside a crisp green salad and crusty bread. I highly recommend!
 

Best Pizza

I really enjoy going home to see my family. My Mum is a great cook and most things I’ve learnt in the kitchen have been from her. Yep, there is nothing quite like coming home to Mum’s cooking! Even if it is for just one weekend every now and then.

This experience is made even more enjoyable when it is italian. There are some recipes I have hidden away in several books that I’d like to try to make myself one day. Calzone, bruschetta, homemade ciabatta… these are just a few and will all (hopefully) feature in future posts. Italy, particularly Florence, is one place I cannot wait to visit!

Pizza is usually quite quick and relatively cheap to make. I must admit, I have struggled to find a really nice pizza dough recipe but Mum makes a really good one so I thought I would copy it down and share it. Mmmm, delicious pizza!

Pizza

For the pizza dough

  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of oil
  • A combination of milk and water

For the topping (anything that suits your fancy really, these are some of my favourites)

  • Tomato paste
  • Pesto
  • Onion
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Olives
  • Capers
  • Mushrooms
  • Italian sausage

As simple as this! Combine the oil and the other dry ingredients. Mix to a dough with milk and water. This pizza dough only needs a very light knead. Roll the dough out and place into a pizza plate. I like round pizzas so have a circular pizza tray but you can use pretty much any baking tray.

Top with anything you so desire, a combination of tomato paste and pesto (you can even make your own) is a good start. Onion, mushrooms, olives…I’ll leave it up to you. Traditional pizzas only use 2 or 3 toppings per base but I like a few more than this. Cover with cheese, I find putting mozzarella on after the tomato paste/pesto combination and before the mushrooms, cabanossi (similar to salami), olives etc is a good idea. The cheese then won’t go hard on top when put in the oven and the pizza has a really nice stringy feel to it. You can then top with a small amount of regular cheese.

Put the pizza into a pre-heated oven (200°degrees) for about 20 minutes. Like most pizzas, this one is even tastier the next day for lunch. Enjoy!