Sunday, 29 August 2010

lasagne with kidney beans

Again we have a recipe inspired by my daughter Maria. To say that she loves lasagne would be an understatement. At restaurants we don't have to ask her what she's having; she's having lasagne as long as it's on the menu. I have to admit that I'm not particularly fond of lasagne with minced beef, so I decided it was time to make my own recipe, a vegetarian version with beans and a mild chilli sauce. The white sauce is based on a sauce from my foodie friend (Cafe)Sigrun. This dish has become one of our favourites (excellent for Meat Free Monday if you're involved) and is for dinner whenever Maria is allowed to choose.




  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 yellow or red pepper, diced
  • 1 vegetable stock cube, yeast free
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (2 x 400 g)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon sweet chilli
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon raw cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (Modena) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 can kidney beans or black beans (400 g)
  • pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • optional: sweetcorn, as much as preferred
  • optional: a handful of fresh spinach, coarsely chopped


  • 450 g cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs, free-range/organic
  • 280 g grated cheese (mozzarella or mild cheddar or whatever you like)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg


  • 120 g grated cheese (mozzarella or mild cheddar or whatever you like)
  • optional: freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • approx. 250 g dried lasagne sheets (preferably organic)



  1. Rinse and drain the beans and keep them in a colander until ready to use
  2. In a large frying pan over medium heat, fry the onion in the olive oil until soft. Add the pepper and garlic and fry for a few more minutes
  3. Add the vegetable stock cube and mix together
  4. Add the tomatoes, turn up the heat and bring to the boil
  5. Add all the spices, sugar and vinegar
  6. Finally add the beans (and sweetcorn + spinach if using) and season with salt and pepper. Allow to simmer while you prepare the white sauce


  1. In a large bowl, combine the cottage cheese and eggs
  2. Add the 280 g cheese and nutmeg

  1. Preheat the oven according to the lasagne sheet package directions (adjust oven rack to lowest position)
  2. Remove the frying pan from the cooker. Use a ladle to pour a thin layer of red sauce into a lasagne dish (there is no need to completely cover the bottom) and cover with lasagne sheets
  3. Add a thin layer of white sauce, followed by a layer of the red sauce and cover with lasagne sheets. Repeat the layers as often as you like (some people prefer many layers) and finish with the rest of the white and red sauce
  4. Cover with the 120 g cheese and sprinkle the Parmesan on top
  5. Cook in the preheated oven according to the lasagne sheet package directions (the lasagne sheets I have used so far call for 220°C/425°F/gas 7 for 25)

Serve with, for example, simple salad, homemade whole grain bread or garlic bread. When making garlic bread, sometimes I make yeast free pizza dough and place the pizza base in the oven about 8 minutes before the lasagne is done. When I remove the base from the oven, I pencil it with a mixture of olive oil, garlic, oregano and sea salt, and use a pizza cutter to slice it.

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