For beef and tomato sauce
- 1 lbs grass-fed beef mince
- 1 white onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 2/3 cup dry red wine
- 3 cups tomato passata (it’s basically a fresh tomato puree, comes in large jars or you can puree your own from scratch; diced canned tomatoes are fine, just process them into smoother consistency first)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
- 2/3 tsp sweet paprika
- 2/3 tsp black pepper
- 1 +2/3 tsp sea salt
- 1 large parsnip, peeled and sliced into thin disks
- 1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced into disks (a little thicker than the parsnips, about 1/2cm)
- 3 medium zucchini, sliced vertically into thin ribbons
- 4 button mushrooms, slices
- A handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
- 2-3 handfuls of baby spinach leaves or English spinach
- Ghee and olive oil for cooking
- Optional topping – 1 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese + 2-3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat oven to 350 degrees
- Peel and chop onion and garlic. Slice eggplant and sprinkle with salt to let some of the moisture out, set aside in a bowl.
- First we will make the sauce. Heat a frying pan with 1 teaspoon of ghee to high. Break beef mince into small pieces and fry on high heat until the colour changes from red to desaturated brown. I use a potato masher to break the meat apart as it tends to clump together during cooking. Stir frequently to make sure all mince pieces are fried evenly. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
- Add red wine, chopped garlic, pepper, paprika and salt to cooking meat and fry for a further 3-4 minutes. Add tomato passata, bring to boil and turn the heat down to simmering temperature.
- Heat another frying pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil to medium. Sauté chopped onion with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes. Add onion and the olive oil to cooked in to the mince sauce, stir through and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
- While the sauce is cooking, peel and slice parsnip into thin disks. Drizzle the bottom of a large, deep baking tray with some olive oil. Place a layer of parsnip slices overlapping each other. Put in the oven to start cooking while we prepare the rest of ingredients.
- Pre-slice mushrooms and zucchini.
- For the eggplant layer, we need to slightly pre-cook the aubergine slices. Heat a large frying pan to medium high. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of ghee (the reason I add both is to decrease olive oil’s smoking point). Add the first batch of eggplant slices making sure they don’t overlap. Fry on each side for 1-2 minutes, just to cook them slightly. Repeat oil, ghee and eggplant until all disks are pre-cooked.
- By this stage, all of our ingredients should be ready. Take the baking tray out of the oven and start layering the lasagna in the following order: pre-cooked parsnips, 1/3 of tomato meat sauce, eggplant, basil, mushrooms, the rest of the meat sauce pressed down evenly, baby spinach, zucchini, drizzle of olive oil and some cracked black pepper. Cook in the oven at 180-190C for 35-40 minutes. It will seem to you that you need more sauce but remember that most of the fresh vegetables and mushrooms will give out moisture during cooking and will shrink and compact into a much tighter, firmer lasagna. See step by step instructions further below.
- If adding ricotta & grated parmesan cheese, take lasagna out at a 20 minute mark and add the cheeses on top. Put back in the oven at 200C for a further 10-15 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh basil and a few cherry tomatoes. I serve with a side mixed salad.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 35-40 minutes
Number of servings: 4 – 6