Last week I made my very own béchamel sauce recipe and I promised you all I’d share 2 recipes for you to be able to use that sauce. So here it goes, the first one is a meat-free lasagna! No beef, not even some tomato sauce, we are completely stepping away from classic lasagna! To replace all those ingredients I have gone for a colourful medley of four kinds of beans, some lovely Autumn chestnut mushrooms, some healthy spinach and loads of cheese!
Now lasagna is meant to be comfort food, so I would never go for a super healthy lasagna (hence the insane amount of cheese) but this recipe does have some healthy ingredients, like spinach for example. Eating spinach obviously won’t give you muscles like Popeye, but what are the health benefits of it then? “It is well known for its nutritional qualities and has always been regarded as a plant with remarkable abilities to restore energy, increase vitality and improve the quality of the blood. There are sound reasons why spinach would produce such results, primarily the fact that it is rich in iron. Iron plays a central role in the function of red blood cells which help in transporting oxygen around the body, in energy production and DNA synthesis. Spinach is also an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C and folic acid as well as being a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron and vitamin B2. Vitamin K is important for maintaining bone health and it is difficult to find vegetables richer in vitamin K than spinach.” – BBC Good Food
Moving on to the colourful bean medley! We have kidney beans, borlotti beans, soya beans (also known as edamame beans) and broad beans (aka fava beans). Now although a lot of people may not be into beans, they do have loads of health benefits! Let’s have a look at some of the benefits of these 4 ones.
Broad/fava beans are often used to make falafel and a great source of protein and carbohydrates, as well as vitamins A, B1 and B2 and are a rich source of dietary fiber. At 1062 mg or 23% of daily recommended levels, fava are one of the highest plant sources of potassium.
Soya beans are used as the base for soy milk & tofu, soy sauce, tempeh and so on. They are an exceptional source of essential nutrients, like fibre, iron, magnese, protein and B vitamins as vitamin K, magnesium, zinc and potassium.
Borlotti beans provide more protein than any other plant-derived food. They’re a good source of starch, provide B-complex vitamins like B1/thiamine, B2/riboflavin, B3/niacin, B5/pantothenic acid, B6/pyridoxine, B12/cobalamins, biotin, and folate. They provide essential minerals like iron, potassium, zinc.
Last up we have kidney beans. Whfoods.com: “Kidney beans are an excellent source of molybdenum. They are a very good source of folate, dietary fiber and copper. Kidney beans are a good source of manganese, phosphorus, protein, vitamin B1, iron, potassium and magnesium. Kidney beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as are most other beans. In addition to lowering cholesterol, kidney beans’ high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. In addition to providing slow burning complex carbohydrates, kidney beans can increase your energy by helping to replenish your iron stores.”
Serves: 2-3 people
- 6 lasagna sheets
- 450g of béchamel sauce made with Kerrygold butter
- 250g chestnut mushrooms
- 50g borlotti beans
- 50g kidney beans
- 50g soya beans
- 50g broad beans
- 200g baby spinach
- 100g grated white cheddar
- 1 mozzarella
- grated Emmental cheese (or grate it yourself)
- 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
First chop up the mushroom and remove the stems from the spinach and cut the leaves up in half. And that’s all the preparation you need before we can move on to the actual cooking! Start by making the béchamel sauce, it’s easy and takes no time at all! Add the cheddar to it at the very end.
Then heat up some butter in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms for a couple of minutes. Then add the beans and continue to simmer at medium-high heat. Cook for about 7 minutes and set aside. Heat up just a bit of olive oil in a frying pan and add the spinach until shrunk and wilted, should be around 2 minutes. Now we have all our ingredients ready to start making our lasagna!
Now it’s time to start layering! Make sure you have a casserole that’s high enough and leave a gap at the top so the sauce doesn’t spill over while cooking. Start with a layer of mushrooms & beans, then place your lasagna noodles on top. Pour out some of the béchamel sauce (make sure you have enough around the sides as well and finish with spinach leaves. Add another layer of lasagna noodles and add mushrooms & beans again. Now add one more layer of lasagna, béchamel sauce and spinach. Then slice up the mozzarella and place on top of the spinach. Add the grated cheese on top and pop in the oven at 200°C for 35 minutes, until the cheese has melted and has turned golden brown!