Thursday, June 13, 2024

Recipe: Squash, Sage and Baby Spinach Lasagne with Triple Tomato Lentils

Motherfood: a transformative journey

The path of Motherhood will change you in unimaginable ways, says Vanessa A Clarkson, author of Motherfood, published by Bateman Books (RRP $59.95), as she unearths the special role that nourishing foods can play in your journey.

For the past 15 years the registered nutritionist, health expert and mother has specialised in infant, child and maternal nourishment.

Squash, Sage and Baby Spinach Lasagne with Triple Tomato Lentils

This recipe makes a wholesome, hearty lasagne — the kind with lots of layers of colourful goodness that will satisfy even the hungriest of tummies. It is the sort of dish I’d make on a weekend when we have friends coming over for dinner with their children. The creamy squash goes together so well with the rich triple tomato lentils.

If you really want to go to town or need to feed a crowd, you could add in some extra layers of thinly sliced zucchini (courgette) or sliced, cooked eggplant (aubergine). Serve with some simple salad leaves dressed lightly with balsamic vinegar or maple-mustard dressing.

Serves 6-8 | Time 1 hour 30 minutes

  • 1 large (about 1.5-1.8 kg) butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cubed extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • 1 brown onion, diced 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin 500 ml (2 cups) passata
  • 400 g (2 cups or 2 x 400 g cans, rinsed and drained) cooked brown lentils 250 g (1 cup) tomato paste
  • 40 g (1 cup) sun-dried tomatoes, chopped Worcestershire sauce, tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 quantity cultured cashew cream (see page 257) or 230 g (1 cup) ricotta cheese
  • a handful of fresh sage leaves, stems removed and finely chopped, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 whole nutmeg dried lasagne sheets
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Spread out the squash on a roasting tray, drizzle well with olive oil and a good pinch of salt. Toss well to coat. Roast in the oven until cooked through, soft and just starting to brown, about 50 minutes. Toss halfway through.

Meanwhile prepare the tomato lentils. Warm a generous splash of olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic, stirring regularly, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add the cinnamon and cumin and cook for a few minutes until fragrant, then add the passata, lentils, tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes and a good splash of Worcestershire sauce (or tamari or soy sauce). Simmer gently, uncovered, to reduce the sauce and combine the flavours, until the squash is ready.

Remove the squash from the oven (keep the oven on) and mash well with the back of a fork or potato masher. Mash through the cashew cream (or ricotta), sage and a good amount of freshly grated nutmeg.

Prepare the lasagne by layering half the tomato lentils into a large ovenproof dish about 30 cm x 24 cm. Cover with a layer of lasagne sheets, then half the squash, and a handful of spinach leaves. Cover with another layer of lasagne sheets, the remaining tomato lentils, a handful of spinach, a final layer of lasagne sheets, and then the remaining squash. Garnish with extra sage leaves and drizzle with a little olive oil.

Return to the oven and cook until the pasta cuts easily with a knife, about 30 minutes.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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