A true classic, but with reduced calories and salt, plus a smaller portion size. Removing half the meat protein and adding cooked lentils is a great trick and really works well. A good tip here is to use a smaller but deeper baking dish, so you will end up with a deeper end result. This lasagne can be made in advance and frozen, then defrosted and cooked at a later time. If you take that route, make the meat sauce slightly wetter to allow for absorption by the raw pasta sheets.
300g (6) dried lasagne sheets
20g parmesan, grated (optional)
FOR THE MEAT SAUCE
2 tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
250g 12% fat minced beef
400g can green lentils (drained weight 265g)
400g can chopped tomatoes
1/2 x 10g reduced-salt beef or chicken stock cube
1 tbsp dried oregano
4 tbsp roughly chopped fresh basil
freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE WHITE SAUCE
300ml skimmed milk
20g soft butter
1. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the onions. Sauté for 15 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the mince and cook for 6-8 minutes until lightly coloured, breaking up with a spatula. Add the lentils, tomatoes, stock cube, 200ml of water and the herbs and season with salt, if using, and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes, taking care to watch it as it may catch slightly.
2. Meanwhile, make the white sauce. Heat the milk in a small pan. Mix the butter and flour together well, then whisk this mixture into the simmering milk: it will thicken almost immediately. Add salt and pepper, then remove from the heat and keep warm.
3. Heat the oven to 190C/gas 5. Spoon a little of the meat sauce into a 25cm square baking dish. Place three lasagne sheets over the top. Add a layer of half the white sauce, then add another layer of the remaining meat sauce. Add a second layer of pasta and finally top with the remaining white sauce. (If you are freezing the dish in advance, freeze at this point.) Sprinkle over the cheese, if using, and bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before eating with a large green salad.
TIP Swapping half the meat for lentils not only reduces this classic’s saturated fat content but also adds heart-healthy potassium and folic acid. Lentils are also filling thanks to their high fibre content, so the smaller portion size goes a long way.
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