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Jamie Oliver’s Super Squash Lasagne

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I am cooking lots more healthy recipes these days, trying to cut down on the “bad” things in my diet. I am also interested in vegan recipes, as I sometimes cook for a vegan work colleague. Similarly I often make gluten-free recipes as increasingly friends are suffering gluten intolerance. The passionate baker in me finds that a little daunting at times!

This recipe for a meat-free, low-fat lasagne, is dedicated to Quirky Sister No 1. She is recovering from major surgery and is learning to adjust to some dietary restrictions. She’s doing very well!

This is another recipe from Jamie Oliver’s book Everyday Super Food. I really appreciate Jamie’s approach to healthy and delicious eating. While all the recipes are carefully written to be nutritious, there’s still that lovely attention to how food tastes and looks. We eat with our eyes so food has to look good to make us want to tuck in! It’s a simple butternut pumpkin lasagne. In Australia we call butternut squash pumpkin. Squash or pumpkin, this vegetable goes well roasted in slices, in the lasagne. It’s also a source of vitamin A according to Jamie. He has baby spinach in the lasagne too, great for iron.

I am including Jamie’s recipe from his excellent book, with a few variations, as in the lasagne pictured: I used ordinary lasagne sheets, not wholewheat, as I prefer the former. I also used half the amount of baby spinach, as that’s all I had on the day I cooked. Half the quantity was plenty! I left off a sunflower seed topping.

I love the classic combination of pumpkin and sage, and  added a scattering of sage leaves to each layer. It worked really well, giving a nice depth of flavour to the pumpkin. I substituted sage leaves on the top of the lasagne, too, for the rosemary sprigs Jamie mentions.

Ingredients

olive oil

1  large butternut squash (1.5kg)

1 level tsp ground coriander

4 cloves garlic

1 fresh red chilli

2 tbs balsamic vinegar

2 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes

200g baby spinach

a handful of fresh sage leaves, plus a few more for the top

60g Parmesan cheese

250g dried wholewheat lasagne sheets

400g fat-free cottage cheese

100ml semi-skimmed milk

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and rub 2 large roasting trays with a little olive oil. Carefully  halve and deseed the squash, leaving the skin on, then slice into ½-inch half moon shapes.
Lay in a single layer across the trays. Sprinkle over the ground coriander, and a pinch of sea salt  and black pepper, then roast for 50 minutes, or until soft and lightly golden.
Meanwhile, peel the garlic and deseed the chili, then finely slice both and place in a large pan on a medium-high heat with about 1 tablespoon of oil. Cook for 3 minutes, or until golden, then add the balsamic and tinned tomatoes, breaking them up as you go, and 1 tin’s worth of water. Simmer on a medium heat for  15 to 20 minutes until slightly thickened, or until slightly thickened, then season to perfection. ( I found that the tomatoes needed a good 30 minutes to reduce down).
To layer up, spread a third of the tomato sauce across the base of a 25cm x 30cm baking dish. Cover with a layer of raw spinach leaves and a few sage leaves, a layer of roasted squash,  a fine grating of Parmesan and a layer of lasagne sheets. Repeat the layers twice more, finishing with  lasagne sheets.
Loosen the cottage cheese with the milk, mashing the curds a little, then lightly season and spoon over the top. Finley grate over the remaining Parmesan. Rob the remaining sage leaves with oil, then place on top of the lasagne.
Bake at the bottom of your oven for 45 minutes, or until golden and bubbling, then serve.
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