Serves 2 (just double ingredients and use a larger baking dish to feed 4)
This is a real humdinger of a leftovers dish. It allows you to use up your roasted chicken meat leftovers (or omit the chicken for a vegetarian dish) and any odds and ends of Mediterranean vegetables that you might have (courgettes, aubergine and mushrooms would work just as well in this dish).
The real beauty of this lasagne is that you can pack in as many vegetables as you like and, because you are roasting them, they don’t need to be in perfect form – you can catch them as they’re starting to wilt or shrivel a tad and they’ll still taste delicious roasted in oil and covered in pesto. No need for food wastage and, even better than that, one portion packs in half of your daily fibre requirements and is low in salt and saturated fats. It would make a great post exercise meal as it is high in protein to help repair muscle. Serve with a salad or some steamed green beans or mange tout.
110g lasagne sheets (approximately 6 sheets)
1 tbsp. olive oil (10g)
½ butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1.5cm cubes (700g)
1 medium red or yellow pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped (160g)
1 medium red onion, peeled and roughly chopped (150g)
100g pre-roasted chicken, shredded
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
1 small red chilli, deseeded and chopped fine
125g fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
1 tbsp. green pesto (25g)
2 tbsp. reduced fat crème fraiche (30g)
30g grated parmesan cheese (you could use a mature cheddar if you prefer)
Freshly ground black pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
- Boil a kettle of water. Place the lasagne sheets (separated from each other) in a large deep flat dish and cover with the boiled water. Place in the bottom of the oven to allow them to soften and par-cook in the hot water. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t overcook and break apart (they shouldn’t do).
- Heat the olive oil in a large, deep roasting tray in the oven for 3-5 minutes. Add the butternut squash cubes and stir to coat them in oil. Roast for 20-25 minutes.
- Add the chunks of onion and pepper to the roasting butternut squash. Stir all the veg round to coat in oil and replace in the oven. Roast for a further 20 minutes, until all are softened and starting to brown slightly.
- Add the chicken, pine-nuts, garlic and chilli to the roasted veg and stir round to coat in oil. Place the shredded spinach leaves on top of the veg and replace in the oven. Roast for a further 5-10 minutes to wilt the spinach and allow the vegetables to become infused with the chilli and garlic flavours.
- Remove the roasted chicken and vegetables from the oven (leave the oven on though cos the lasagne is going back in!) and stir the pesto through until they are all coated.
- Remove the lasagne sheets from the oven and drain off the water carefully, making sure the sheets don’t stick to each other. Hopefully they are par-cooked at this point.
- Start to assemble the lasagne. Place half of the roasted ingredients in a square or rectangular glass dish (one roughly 7” x 7” / 18cm x 18cm). Place half of the lasagne sheets on top – you can cut them to make them fit.
- Add the rest of the roasted ingredients on top and then another layer of lasagne sheets. Squash it all down as much as possible to allow the juices in the veg to cook the pasta through.
- In a separate bowl mix the low fat crème fraiche, half of the grated parmesan and nutmeg together and add black pepper to your own taste.
- Spoon this mixture on top of the lasagne and spread out smoothly to the edges. Sprinkle the rest of the parmesan evenly over the top.
- Return to the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned.
Per whole lasagne
Energy 1132 kcal / 4737 kJ
Total sugar 62.5g
Per portion (serves 2)
Energy 566 kcal / 2369 kJ
Total sugar 31.3g
I was once a resident, for a fabulous 18 months, of Framingham, Massachusetts. If you don’t know Framingham, well, it’s ok as towns go – they conducted the Framingham Heart Studies there, people were super friendly, there are some lovely places to visit around there like the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) in Dorchester, Conchord and Walden Pond and I seem to remember a story about the first arrest of a man for wearing a beard taking place in Framingham! The Chicken Bone bar was fantastically welcoming and fun too but on the whole there wasn’t much of note to shout about, although I should mention that it was 11 years ago that I was forced back to the UK so I can’t speak for current day Framingham!
However, Framingham has excellent rail links to the wonderful Bean Town, or Boston to non-residents and residents alike! I hung out there…A LOT…and I miss it terribly. Having recently been catching up on my U.S. TV series, namely ’30 Rock’ and ‘American Horror + Asylum’, I have been having a terrible lusting for ol’ Bean Town (there are some convincing and not so convincing Boston accents going on in both programmes!) and having found some black beans in the back of the cupboard – one of my favourite beans in the world – I had to make something in homage.
This is a non-vegetarian soup as I realise that I have posted an awful lot of veggie soups on the blog so far and, although I am a pescatarian (that’s not my religion – it means I eat fish but not meat!) I know that not everybody is and so….tada…concession! To make it vegetarian just use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and quorn chucks instead of chicken. If you don’t like or have never heard of quorn – not sure how global its reach is – just leave it out. There’s plenty of protein in the beans and this soup is low fat and full of fibre too.
350g soaked, cooked and drained black beans
1 tbsp. vegetable/olive oil (10g)
1-2 x cloves garlic, peeled, finely diced (7g)
½ – 1 x green or red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped (6g)
250g chicken breast, fat trimmed, cut into mouth-sized chunks
250g quorn chunks, defrosted
1 x white onion, peeled and diced (155g)
1 x red pepper, de-seeded, chopped into small pieces (125g)
2 small carrots, topped and tailed, peeled, cut into 1cm cubes (120g)
½ tsp. powdered cumin
½ tsp. smoked or regular powdered paprika
½ ground black pepper
800 ml chicken or vegetable stock (1 x 10g cube)
400g canned tomatoes, chopped
300g frozen spinach (about 10 balls)
1 tsp. powdered cumin
½ tsp. smoked or regular powdered paprika
Black pepper to taste
4 cloves (optional)
- Soak the black beans in cold water overnight – unless you are lucky enough to live somewhere where you can buy ready-cooked black beans in cans – I’m well jell of you do! Cook in boiling water for approximately 1 – 1.5 hours until soft. Drain and set aside for later.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chilli and ginger and fry for 30-60 seconds to infuse the oil with their flavour.
- If using chicken, add to the pan with ½ tsp. cumin, ½ tsp. paprika and ½ tsp. ground black pepper. Stir regularly until browned on outside.
- Add the onion, red pepper and carrots and the quorn chunks, if you are using this instead of chicken. Fry for approximately 6-8 minutes, until softened.
- Add the stock, tomatoes, spinach, cooked black beans and the rest of the cumin and paprika. Add more black pepper if desired.
- Add the cloves to the soup. I got creative and put them into one of those loose leaf tea strainer things so that I didn’t have to fish around for them or risk chomping down on one halfway through eating my stew! If you don’t have one then you may just need to take this risk!
- Bring to the boil then reduce heat, cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.
Energy 2000 kcal (8368 kJ)
Total sugars 44.7g
Per Serving (Serves 6)
Energy 334 kcal (1398 kJ)
Total sugars 7.5g
1 x tbsp. of reduced fat fromage frais = 30 kcal/ 125 kJ
1 x tbsp. of soured cream = 62kcal/ 260 kJ
1 x white crusty bread roll (50g) = 130kcal / 545 kJ
150g of boiled white/brown rice = 210kcal / 880 kJ
30g nacho/tortilla chips = 140 kcal / 586 kJ
200g sweet potato chips or wedges (cooked in 1/2 tbsp. oil) =220 kcal / 921 kJ
– Use butternut squash instead and it will be only 72kcal / 302 kJ
Suggested Ear Candy
So, with the promise of a delicious bean-laden dinner of stew on the horizon and thoughts of Boston, MA on my mind, I had to pay yet another visit down Memory Lane.
Cake were a band I discovered whilst I was living in the U.S. thanks to the fandom of my particularly lovely friend, dancing buddy and housemate, Dan from Canada. Nostalgia is a passion of mine and part of the reason I started this blog was so I could make myself opportunities and excuses to listen to the old, forgotten CDs of my lesser years.
Fashion Nugget by Cake is one that I get out on a fairly regular basis. It’s fun, quirky, incredibly danceable and singalongable and has 2 of the best cover songs on it that I have ever heard – especially ‘Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps’, originally a Doris Day number I believe.
Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps by Cake, with a hilarious video and English/Italian subtitles in case you want to do any wooing!
Here’s a wee something from Boston locals, The Dropkick Murphys too – some great views of the Charles River with the Pru’ and John Hancock towers in the background – *sigh*