Updated: Jan 31
This is a take on a classic white lasagne – with a nutritional upgrade! Here, I am using pasta sheets made from gram or chickpea flour which not only make this recipe gluten-free, but also make for a much nicer protein: carbohydrate profile…and of course, it’s dairy-free too!
For the ‘ragu’:
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped.
2 celery sticks, finely diced.
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced.
2 large garlic cloves, crushed.
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 butternut squash, chopped.
2 large handfuls chestnut mushrooms, chopped.
1 cup puy lentils, pre-cooked.
For the ‘béchamel’:
1/2 cup gram (chickpea flour)
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cups non-dairy milk
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 large handful basil
For the topping:
1 cup of homemade or organic hummus
1 clove of garlic, crushed (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large handful basil, finely chopped.
200g of chickpea lasagne sheets
Salt & pepper to taste
Add the oil, onions, celery, carrots, garlic and herbs to a pan and sauté at a medium heat until soft and golden. If you aren’t roasting the butternut and mushrooms, add now and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the lentils and mix. Turn off heat and set aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 200c.
Add olive oil to a fresh pan on a medium heat. Once warm, add gram flour and whisk until smooth. Slowly start to add your milk, whisking until mixture becomes slightly thickened and creamy. Add nutritional yeast, basil and salt and pepper to taste.
To prepare the topping, simply blend hummus with extra garlic and basil and set aside.
Now for the assembly: firstly, oil your oven dish. Start with a layer of your ragu, top with a layer of béchamel and then a layer of pasta sheets. Continue until you reach the top of your dish. If you prefer a crunchier topping, finish with pasta, if you prefer it to be more soft and creamy, then finish with béchamel.
Evenly spread your hummus topping across the last pasta or béchamel layer, making sure to cover all the corners.
Bake in the oven for 30-40mins or until golden brown and bubbling.
Serve with a nice fresh green salad in the summer or some steamed winter greens on those colder days.
For extra flavour, I like to roast my butternut squash and mushrooms first. Simply drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and cook for 30 minutes at 180c or until slightly crisp and golden on the outside.
This freezes really well and makes for a great lunchbox or picnic option.
Functional fact: Chickpeas are not only a rich source of antioxidants, fibre, magnesium, zinc, vitamins B, E and A, but they are also helpful in supporting hormonal balance due to the presence of phytoestrogens. If oestrogen dominance is an issue for you, eating phytoestrogen rich foods are a great way of minimising your levels. Phytoestrogens attach to oestrogen receptors in the body and mimic the effect of oestrogen but at a much lower concentration.