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Vegetarian Courgette Lasagne

For any of you who know me, you know I'm the first person to look at a menu when I'm out in a restaurant or a pub and scan it for something fatty and greasy and will always be the petite lass trying to tackle a mammoth sized burger with a side of more burgers. Therefore you may be a little surprised to see such a healthy recipe gracing the posts of NB - but there's a good reason; it's really effin' tasty.

Matt & I sometimes pick up the Waitrose Food magazine when we're doing the weekly food shop and January's issue was full of "new year, new me" suitable recipes for kick starting the healthy eating promises so we were intrigued. We love a good stodgy meal, but we also really enjoy a nice crisp salad and figured we wouldn't be disappointed with the mag's offerings. I scanned the pages when we got home and fell in love with a recipe for Courgette and Goat's Cheese Lasagne. A vegetarian meal I'd voluntarily picked out? It had to be good. It tasted amazing, is three THREE of your five a day and is perfect for singletons and couples as it can serve 2. So here's what you need to know:

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes
Per Serving: 390 calories

Ingredients you need:
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 400g of chopped tomatoes (tinned is perfect!)
- 1 tbsp of honey
- 1 tbsp of chopped oregano (or dried)
- 1 leek, finely sliced
- 200g of tinned butter beans, drained
- 100ml of fresh vegetable stock or water
- 50g of goat's cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 lemon, zest & 1 tsp of lemon juice
- 3 courgettes, cut lengthways into 0.3cm strips (you'll need 18 strips in total)

To prep & cook:
1.) Heat half a tbsp of oil in a saucepan and fry the garlic for around 30 seconds. Then tip in the tomatoes and tbsp of honey, letting everything simmer for 15 minutes until the consistency thickens. Season it to taste, stir in the oregano and set it aside.

2.) Whilst the tomato mixture is simmering, heat another 1/2 tbsp of oil in another saucepan and sauté the leek for 8 minutes or until soft. Next, tip in the beans and stock/water and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, season then take the pan off the heat. Tip the saucepan's contents into a food processor with the goat's cheese, add some seasoning, the lemon zest and juice and blitz it all together. It might also be worth popping your plates in the oven on a low heat to keep them warm for your meal!

3.) Now dig out your largest frying pan and stick it over a high heat. Toss the courgette strips in the remaining 1 tbsp of oil and season them. Once the pan is piping hot, fry the strips (you will probably have to do this in batches as they won't all fit in the pan,) for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until they soften and blacken slightly. Get your warm plates out of the oven and place 3 courgette strips on to each plate, spoon over 1/4 of the tomato sauce, top with 1/4 of the cheese/bean sauce, then repeat to build another layer - just like your regular lasagne!

And that's it! This meal was so tasty and would be great to serve hot (like we had it) or you could even have it cold if you don't keep the plates hot etc. I imagine due to the zesty lemon tang, it would be a lovely side dish for a BBQ or a summer picnic instead of your regular salad. If you do make this dish, I'd recommend having something to accompany it purely because you will be left with a lot of sauce from the tomato and cheese/bean layers. We had a sinfully calorific feta cheese & mixed seed tear and share bread to mop up the sauce, but you could easily have this dish with sweet potato, regular potato, grilled aubergine or a salad to keep it healthy. As a meat eater, I think this would go really well with some chargrilled chicken (again - perfect for a BBQ!) or take out the goat's cheese and the honey and you'll make this already gluten-free meal dairy free and vegan friendly, too!

Let me know if you make it and what you thought of it - its a new favourite for Matt & I!

- A.
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