Lasagna Three Ways
I have mentioned before that we are a household with multiple allergies, not to mention some different eating styles. With severe allergies to nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, coconut, chickpeas, and mango, as well as two people who are vegetarian, it can be challenging. If one of the vegetarians chooses a vegan lifestyle, I might have to take my bat and ball and go home.
We also have other people we love to cook for in our lives who have intolerances and allergies. We have coeliacs, people who don’t eat sugar, diabetics, and people with allergies or intolerances to onion, garlic, gelatine, dairy, and vinegar, to name a few. It is not a concern for me to cook for different food requirements, as I was taught to cook by my mother, who is an expert in cooking for people with allergies and intolerances.
Recently we had an impromptu get together with some friends, one of whom was a vegetarian, and one of whom has some intolerances to wheat, garlic, and onions. The meal plan said pumpkin and white bean lasagna. The change of plans made it into pumpkin and white bean lasagna, three ways:
- Version 1 – Gluten free, pumpkin and white bean lasagna (with bacon, no onions, no garlic)
- Version 2 – Vegetarian pumpkin and white bean lasagna, not gluten free
- Version 3 – Pumpkin and white bean lasagna, with bacon, not gluten free
Pumpkin is in season right now, and I am cooking with it at least once a week. I buy whatever is on sale for less than a dollar a kilo, and at the moment I am seeing it for less than 80 cents per kilo. Considering the wonderful things we can make with it (pasta, soup, curries, baked oatmeal, scones, muffins) it is a great and healthy vegetable to have on hand while it is in season and a good price.
1 kg jap pumpkin, diced – $1
2 onions, diced – 50 cents (for Versions 2 and 3)
2 cloves garlic, minced – 4 cents (for Versions 2 and 3)
3 lugs olive oil – one for each pot – 36 cents
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed – $2
2 rashers gluten free middle bacon, finely chopped – $1*
1 packet wholemeal instant lasagna – $2.50
1/4 packet gluten free instant lasagna – $1
1 can chopped tomatoes – $1.40
3 cups vegetable stock – 70 cents
1 tub light ricotta – $3
1/2 tub sour light cream – 70 cents
200 grams Greek yoghurt – $1.20
1/4 packet grated cheese – $1.40
3 sprigs fresh thyme – free
2 sprigs fresh oregano – free
In three pots, heat a tablespoon olive oil.
Version 1: Gently fry the bacon until golden, and add the pumpkin. Strip the leaves from the fresh thyme and add it to the pot. Stir and continue to cook for a few minutes.
Version 2: Gently fry the onions and garlic until fragrant. Add the pumpkin and leaves from the fresh thyme and continue to cook for a few minutes.
Version 3: Gently fry the onions and garlic until fragrant. Add the bacon and leaves from the fresh thyme, and cook until the bacon is golden. Add the pumpkin and cook for about five minutes.
To all three pots, add the cannellini beans, and stir. Add a cup of stock to each pot, followed by a third of a can of tomatoes to each pot. Stir and let simmer until the pumpkin is tender and the liquid has reduced. If you need to add some more liquid while it is cooking, add some water. The sauce should be thick but not too liquid. The pumpkin pieces should not be mushy. Season with salt and pepper.
In a bowl, combine the oregano leaves, ricotta, yoghurt, and sour cream.
To assemble the lasagna, making sure to use the correct lasagna for the right sauce, in three baking dishes (mine were all different sizes), layer the lasagna as follows:
- Pumpkin sauce
- Ricotta and cream sauce
- Sprinkling of cheese
- Repeat in the order above, finishing with a layer of ricotta sauce and cheese.
Bake in a hot oven (190 degrees) for about thirty minutes.
The ricotta sauce is not like a traditional bechamel lasagna sauce. It will be less ‘drippy’ and the top of the lasagna may looked cracked in appearance. I prefer a ricotta sauce because a) it takes no time at all to make, and b) it is less heavy than the traditional white sauce.
We served with a tomato and basil focaccia.
Total cost: $16.80
Per lasagna: $5.60
We ended up with another whole mini-lasagna in the freezer for a vego meal one night, as well as many of the wholewheat with bacon in serving sizes in the freezer, for work lunches. So per serving, this would have been $1.20.
*Most commercial bacon nowadays is gluten-free, but still check the ingredients to ensure it is GF.