Tasty home-made lasagne using your leftover vegetables

Hello hello!

Sorry, no picture of this tasty home-made lasagne I speak of: the smell of it made us too eager to dig in! I guess you’ll have to take my word for it 😉 let me tell you; this creamy, cheesy, salty yet subtly flavoured combination is to die for…

For students, cooking can sometimes be a challenge. Whether it is because you have to eat dry bread until your next student allowance is deposited into your bank account, or because you simply have no idea what to cook or how to cook it… I’m sure we’ve all been there at least once. This is why my first recipe will be a budget; and fool-proof but extremely tasty home-made lasagne!

If you’re a bit creative, the sky is the limit in terms of pasta dishes. Nearly anything will taste good with melted cheese on top, right?! (don’t take that too literally, please) You can make a simple tomato sauce and add any vegetable you like to it. I will show you my version of a beautiful lasagne later, but you can use your own imagination as well! Simply start with onion, garlic and tomatoes and go from there. Some vegetables I like to use in my pasta sauce, are: eggplant, zucchini, carrot, bell pepper, avocado, mushrooms, celery sticks, green beans, cauliflower, spinach, peas, broccoli… Open your fridge to see any leftovers you might have, and see what works for you.

Don’t worry about making too much vegetable sauce: it is perfect to store in your freezer. You can heat it up later to mix with some pasta, rice or potatoes, to use as topping for your pizza or even to make a delicious lunch by using it to stuff 2 sheets of puff pastry. Yum…

For my version I made a classic bechamel sauce using butter, flour, milk, nutmeg and some salt. If you don’t want to take the effort to make it yourself you can usually buy a mixture or simply leave it out. See how to make a bechamel sauce here.

The following ingredients are an estimation of what I used last time, which is enough for 4 regular sized meals. You can add a green salad if you like.
– approximately 9 pasta sheets
– +/- 120g grated cheese (to taste)
– 2 small red onions (diced)
– 4 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
– 1 eggplant (diced)
– 3 medium sized carrots (cut into slices of approx. 1 cm)
– 4 spring onions (cut into slices of approx. 1 cm)
– 1 bell pepper (diced)
– 8 tomatoes (diced)
– 500g minced meat (I used a combination of pork and beef)

To season:
– balsamic vinegar
– Italian freeze-dried herbs (basil, oregano, parsley)
– minced meat seasoning (optional)
– salt and pepper
– some freshly cut herbs (optional)
For the bechamel sauce:
– 5 tablespoons butter
– 4 tablespoons flour
– 4 cups milk
– nutmeg and salt

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  • Start with some olive oil in a thick casserole or sauce pan on medium heat, to cook the onions until nice and soft.
  • Add the garlic to the pan, but be careful that it doesn’t burn! Pour some balsamic vinegar with the mixture. I used about 3 spoonfuls.
  • Toss in the rest of the vegetables. Reduce to lower heat and let this mixture simmer, while stirring occasionally. I would recommend simmering for 20 minutes or longer.
  • Meanwhile, you’re going to season the minced meat with either a (minced) meat seasoning or some salt and pepper. Heat up a frying pan and bake the meat until nice and brown. I never use oil for this, as minced meat will release a lot of grease and water. Add this to the vegetables.
  • Prepare the bechamel sauce as described on this website. This will take you around 20 minutes, after which you remove the bechamel from the heat.
  • Now it’s time to season your vegetable sauce! Start by adding a pinch of salt, some ground pepper and about a spoonful of Italian herbs. If you like, you can add some chilli powder as well. Keep tasting and perfecting the sauce to your taste. The tomatoes should have made the sauce a little juicier.
  • The next step is the layering. You’ll need to cover a large oven tray in some olive oil, and then cover the length of it with about 1/3 of the vegetable mixture. Top this with lasagne sheets, and then with a layer of bechamel sauce. Repeat this until your oven tray is full. For the last layer you’ll want to cover the sheets with a thick layer of bechamel sauce, and then about 2 handfuls of cheese. (Or more, I won’t judge!) Make sure the pasta sheets are fully covered: they will remain dry and inedible if there’s no sauce to soften them up.
  • Place the tray into an oven preheated to 180 degrees, for about 40 minutes. Let it rest for a couple of minutes, and then dig in!

That’s it for today, I hope you enjoyed this blog post.
Let me know your favourite vegetables to use in your sauces (or the ones we definitely shouldn’t try!) and if you tried this recipe I’d like to hear what you think 🙂
See you next time!

By the way, as you can see on the right you can now follow me on bloglovin and Instagram!

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