I meant to post this last night but ran out of time due to friends coming round – so here’s a wee morning post for you all instead.
I make lasagne quite a lot, but this is the first time I’ve ever made this particular recipe. Normally I use roasted vegetables (carrots, peppers and courgette, with spinach stirred in as well) but Mr Chilli had suggested using these green-brown lentils for lasagne after I used them for vegetarian moussaka a few weeks ago. His argument was that it’d make the lasagne more meaty-seeming and I have to agree with him.
I used to buy dried Puy lentils from the supermarkets but they seem impossible to find now except in pre-cooked packets, so these are the dried lentils you can buy from supermarkets called “lentilles verts” – I think they’re much the same thing anyway, just not grown in the specific region of France that you get Puy lentils from. I only used one tin of chopped tomatoes, but it was a little dry, so I’d use two from now on. Likewise, I ran out of white sauce at the end so the quantities in the recipe are increased slightly.
I’d run out of bagged salad (!) so improvised a salad with roasted carrot, courgette and onion on a bed of spinach, dressed with a little oil and balsamic vinegar.
Lentil, mushroom and spinach lasagne (serves four)
- ½ pack lasagne sheets, soaked if needed
- 20-30g parmesan or similar (can use cheddar instead for a different flavour)
For the tomato layer:
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 small onions or 1 medium one, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 125g green-brown lentils
- ½ bag spinach, washed if necessary
- 250g mushrooms, sliced thinly
- 1 tbsp dried oregano (can also add thyme or basil, or substitute for fresh herbs if you have any)
- 1 glass red wine (optional; add some sugar to taste if you use this)
For the white layer:
- 20g butter
- 20g cornflour (I don’t usually weigh these but measure by eye as doesn’t need to be exact)
- 225-250ml milk (again, just do this by eye)
- 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
Pop the lentils on to boil (don’t salt the water) in a small saucepan, cooking according to packet directions (I think mine say 25 minutes or so). Meanwhile, heat a little vegetable oil in a large high-sided frying pan and gently fry the onions for a few minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until mostly wilted down. For the last 30 seconds, add the garlic and mix round.
Add the red wine and sugar, if using, and the chopped tomatoes and oregano. Allow to simmer away for 20 minutes or so to reduce down. Season and taste – you might need to add more sugar or salt here. Once the lentils are cooked, drain and add to the sauce, and then add the spinach and cook until wilted.
As the red layer simmers, make the white layer by melting the butter in a small pan, taking off the heat and mixing in the flour to a smooth paste, and adding the milk and whisking in. Put back on to a medium heat and cook, whisking well, for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened. Add the mustard and take off the heat. Preheat the oven to 200C.
Layer the sauces and lasagne sheets in a baking dish – you might need more or less sheets depending on the size and shape of the dish and how you layer it. I put half the red sauce in the bottom, follow by a layer of sheets, then a layer of shite sauce, then another layer of sheets, then the rest of the red sauce, then sheets, then the rest of the white sauce. Top with cheese and oven cook for around 35 minutes.