As always, not being one for conventionality, today I decided to make a lasagne using sweet potato. I realised, if you thinly slice a sweet potato, its a similar shape to lasagne sheets!? (using your imagination slightly!). Either way, if you see it as similar or not, I thought it would be a great alternative to pasta. Even just for something different to try. So, I used a vegetable slicer – something I would seriously recommend getting, and began slicing some sweet potatoes. To pair with my potato lasagne sheets, I made a bolognese sauce using lentils, tomatoes, mushrooms and loads of other simple, great ingredients that I love. I hadn’t actually used lentils before to make a bolognese sauce, but I thought it would be a great way to add a meaty texture to bulk up my sauce, and also add a good source of lean protein. I fell in love with this sauce, and will definitely be making it again, but as a bolognese. I have a feeling I’m going to be slipping these lentils in plenty more recipes to come. I think I’ve become slightly obsessed. I never really knew how to use lentils as a component to a dish before, other than stewing them or making them into a dhal. I was never one to care too much for the creamy sauce that came with lasagne before, but I created one to add into this dish nonetheless. It just wouldn’t be a lasagne without one. I created a simple creamy sauce using cashews and hemp milk. The hemp milk added a fair amount of sweetness, so if you want a more savoury taste, I would suggest using a more savoury dairy free milk. Together, these three layers made me a delicious, modernised lasagne. Although the components of the dish are nothing like the original, they still created a delicious, comforting meal – perfect for the colder months. I hope you enjoy this lasagne as much as I did!
sweet potato & lentil lasagne
serves about 6
for the lasagne:
2 sweet potatoes (500g)
for the bolognese:
1/4 cup (45g) red lentils
1/4 cup (50 g) green lentils
1/4 cup (50g) yellow lentils
4 1/2 cups (1 litre) water
2 400g tins chopped tomatoes (3 cups worth)
1 onion peeled and finely chopped
drizzle of oil
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp oregano
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp paprika
1 courgette (zucchini) finely sliced circle-ways
3 mushrooms finely sliced
Pinch salt and black pepper
large handful spinach
for the creamy sauce:
1 cup (150ml) non-dairy milk
1/2 cup (90 g) cashews
2 tsp yeast flakes
1 tbsp lemon
1 tbsp millet flour
PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 240 C/464 F
1.Peel and chop the ends off of your sweet potatoes. Then finely slice lengthways using a vegetable slicer. Set aside.
2. Now, add the water into a pan on a medium-high heat, and pour in your 3 types of lentils. allow to bubble and cook for 35-40 minutes, until all of the water has reduced, and the lentils are fairly soft.
3. In the meantime, make the base of your bolognese. Drizzle a large wok or pan (one with enough room for all of the sauce and lentils later) with some oil. Add in your onion slices. Fry for 4-5 minutes on a medium heat, stirring often to avoid burning. When the onion has cleared and gone golden, add in the basil, oregano and crushed garlic cloves. Fry for a further 1 minute.
4. After this, add in your chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and paprika. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, on a medium heat for about 15 minutes.
5. In the meantime, place your potato strips onto a baking tray. There will be quite a lot of them, so you may need 2 baking trays. Don’t worry if some lay on top of each other. When they are all on the trays, add them into the oven and cook for 6 minutes, or until soft. When this is done, set them aside to cool. REDUCE YOUR OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 225C / 437 F.
6. After the sauce has been cooking for 15 minutes, add in your courgette (zucchini) and mushroom slices. Stir in and lower the heat slightly, leave to bubble slightly and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the lentils have cooked. When the water from the lentils has almost entirely been sucked up, pour them into your bolognese. Stir in, and bring the sauce back to a medium heat. Continue to cook for a final 10 minutes, so that the sauce can bulk up.
7. In the meantime, make your cream sauce. Combine all of the sauce ingredients into a blender, and blend until smooth. When this is done, set aside.
8. When 10 minutes has passed, add in the spinach, stir in and cook for a final 1-2 minutes. Then, remove from the heat.
9. Now, make the lasagne. Get a small-medium heatproof dish thats about 10″. Use 1/3 of the potato slices, and line the base of the dish – don’t leave any gaps. Then, pour half of your bolognese sauce on top. Smooth so that it is even. Get your creamy sauce, and drizzle 1/3 on top of the bolognese. Next, layer with another 1/3 of the potato strips, top with the remaining 1/2 of the bolognese, and drizzle with another 1/3 of the creamy sauce. After this, cover with the remaining potato slices, and drizzle with the remaining creamy sauce. If you like, you can also scatter with some cashew pieces. Try to tuck your potato slices into the edges of the dish, to look neater.
10. Add your lasagne into the oven and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the sauce has gone golden, and the lasagne has heated through. When the lasagne has cooked, remove from the oven, slice and serve. I had mine with some salad on the side. Delicious!