Guilt-Free Lentil, Spinach And Ricotta Lasagne


Karomaza |

Recipe courtesy of

Any Italian cook will tell you that nothing beats a good lasagne. All that crispy pasta, rich ragú and heaps of melted cheese sure sounds delicious but lets face it, it’s never been part a healthy eating plan… until now.

Enter the power pulse – lentils. They’re packed full of fibre and add a high-protein element to many meals… which is great if you’re trying to cut meat out of your diet.

Here are the fast facts you need to know… one cup of cooked lentils offers about 16 grams of fibre and of all the legumes lentils contain the third highest levels of protein, with 26% of lentils’ calories attributed to protein. Adding to this, a ¾ cup of cooked lentils provides more potassium than a large banana. Lentils also provide more folate than any other plant food. This B vitamin helps the body build new cells, an essential task that is incredibly important for pregnant women and has been shown to help prevent some types of cancer. The mix of fibre, folic acid and potassium in lentils makes them a heart-healthy choice.

Because of their size, lentils cook much quicker than dried beans and do not have to be soaked before cooking, just remember to rinse them first. They are extremely versatile and inexpensive, which makes them an easy, affordable and healthy ingredient to add to many meals.

We’re sold!

Here is a delicious lasagne recipe that has been endorsed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Lentil, spinach and ricotta lasagne

Ingredients

Filling

  • 2 cups cooked Pouyoukas or Lion green lentils
  • 200 g ricotta cheese, crumbled
  • 500 g baby spinach, wilted
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • Zest of 2 limes
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) dried red chilli flakes
  • Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups (750 ml) homemade tomato sauce
  • 500 g dried wholewheat lasagne sheets
  • 500 g smooth fat free cottage cheese or ready-made cheese sauce
  • 50 g grated parmesan cheese

Homemade tomato sauce

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 800 g canned chopped tomatoes or 680 ml tomato purée
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) sugar
  • 1 small handful fresh basil, chopped
  • Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Method
For the filling, in a large bowl combine the cooked lentils, ricotta cheese, spinach, lime juice, lime zest and dried chilli flakes. Mix well and set aside.
For the tomato sauce, heat frying pan, add 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil.
Fry onions and garlic until soft. Add tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper.
Once the sauce starts to bubble, turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat, add basil and season further to taste if necessary.
Place a layer of tomato sauce at the bottom of a large baking dish.
Add a layer of lasagne sheets, followed by a layer of lentil filling and a few dollops of cottage cheese or cheese sauce.
Repeat the layers until all the ingredients are used, ending with a layer of lentils.
Top the lentils with the remaining cottage cheese and scatter with grated parmesan cheese.
Bake in a preheated 180°C oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the lasagne is cooked through and bubbling.

Looking for more on lentil recipes? Try this delicious yellow lentil ‘burger’ recipe, or these spiced lentils with cucumber yoghurt. Yum!

Watch ON: Dinner Ideas Main Dishes Nutrition Pasta Recipes Vegetarian