Vegetarian Courgette Lasagne
A healthy, lower calorie lasagne is something I've been attempting to create for many years and failed many many times. The trouble was that I was trying to make it too similar to classic Italian lasagne by using meat substitutes and tortilla wraps instead of pasta. Yes, you read that right, I used wraps instead of pasta, and no, it was NOT good. So I went back to basics and focused only on the layering theme of lasagne and completely blocked the original ingredients from my mind. I created a mushroom and tomato Ragu style sauce, a herbaceous cream cheese sauce and bought a mandolin specifically for the use of thinly slicing strips of courgette instead of a pasta layer. And of course, no Lasagne style dish would be complete without a topping of cheddar cheese. As always, this dish is designed for 1 (or maybe 2 if you serve with sides) so if you're feeding more people, don’t forget to increase the ingredients.
Firstly, as always, prepare your veg. I like to try and prepare my veg in the early afternoon because i know very well that if i leave it until the evening, when I'm tired and hungry, there's a good chance I’ll not cook at all, but if my veg it pre-prepared then half the work is already done. I used a mandolin to shave slices of courgette but for this recipe a knife or a wide vegetable peeler will do just fine. Roughly chop around 15 chestnut mushrooms along with ⅓ red onion. Sauté in a pan until cooked. Add in approximately 15 halved cherry tomatoes and cook for roughly 20 minutes until tomatoes have formed a thick sauce around the mushrooms and onions. At this point I added in a teaspoon of dried basil and a sprinkle of salt.
Whilst my mushroom and tomato sauce was cooking I prepared the cream cheese, this makes up the béchamel section of a traditional lasagne. I took 100g of cheese, mixed in 1tsp of oregano. As this cheese was quite thick I thinned it out slightly with a splash of milk but this step is down to preference.
I paired this dish with a small side salad but if you wanted to share your lasagne with a friend i would recommend treating yourself to a nice big slice of rustic garlic bread!
300Kcals per lasagne
♥ 1 small courgette
♥ 100g low fat cream cheese
♥ Splash of milk (optional)
♥ 200g chestnut mushrooms
♥ 250g tomatoes
♥ 1tsp basil
♥ 1tsp oregano
Slice courgette into thin strips to use in place of lasagne, roughly chop mushrooms, onion and cut cherry tomatoes into halves.
Sauté the mushrooms and onions until reduced and add tomatoes. Cook for around 20 minutes until tomatoes have formed a thick sauce around the mushrooms and onions.
Add basil and a sprinkle of salt and remove from heat. Your ‘meat’ style sauce is now ready.
Mix oregano into cream cheese and optionally thin out with milk if needed to make your ‘béchamel’ style sauce.
Start layering your courgette lasagne, in the traditional way e.g. ‘meat’, ‘pasta’, ‘béchamel’, ‘pasta’ repeat until your dish is full.
Top with grated cheddar cheese and bake for 30 minutes or until cheddar is golden.
Now your lasagne ingredients are ready for layering. I started off with a thin layer of mushroom and tomato sauce, then courgette, followed by a generous layer of cream cheese. I then used another layer of courgette before repeating the whole order over again until I reached the top of the dish. I then topped with a slight sprinkling of cheddar cheese before popping in a preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese on top is golden