BEEF AND NETTLE LASAGNE

Beef and Nettle lasagne

When people think of Lasagne they picture sheets of pasta layered with a meat sauce and then a bechamel  sauce and loads of greasy cheese on top.
Instead of pasta we are using vegetables to layer with and in this recipe we are using eggplant (aubergene) for the beef and nettle lasagne. We still have the beautiful rich meat sauce and I’ve also added nettles also known as stinging nettles. 
Stinging nettles?  Yes they are edible and have no stingers when picked young. And its one way to cut down on weeds in the garden too! Make sure they haven’t been sprayed with pesticide.  Stinging nettles provide a variety of nutrients including Vitamins A,C,K and severasl of the B vitamins as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, amino acids, polyphenols, and many of these nutrients act as antioxidants inside your body and can help reduce chronic inflammation.
The bottom line is that stinging nettle is a nutritious plant, who could ever have thought you could get your own back on this plant. Don’t eat it raw and make sure to wash it in a tub of water first.
There is also a recipe for a cauliflower sauce to be drizzled over the top of each slice  of the beef and nettle lasagne when serving. Give it a try, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

 

BEEF AND NETTLE LASAGNE
Beef fat or Coconut oil for frying eggplant
3 – 4 Eggplants (aubergines) cut into slices, approximately 6-8 mm thick
4 – 6 cups of fresh  Stinging Nettles, washed and chopped roughly (can use spinach instead)
Vegan Cheddar Style Cheese, if needed ( I used Oliana or Bio Brand)

MEAT SAUCE

2 – 3 tablespoons Beef Fat, Coconut Oil or Olive Oil
1 kg Beef Mince (Ground Beef)
1 medium Brown Onion, peeled and diced or 2-3 Spring onions, green part only, sliced
5 Cloves Garlic, peeled and crushed or use 3 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil
1 tablespoon Dried Oregano
1 tablespoon Dried Thyme
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
2 x 400 gram tins of Diced or Crushed Tomatoes
1 – 2 tablespoons Rapadura Sugar
1/2 cup Bone Broth or 1 tablespoon of Dehydrated or Concentrated Bone Broth
2 – 3 tablespoons Tomato Paste
3/4  cup  Water

 

CAULIFLOWER SAUCE

1 small Cauliflower
1/2 cup natural Coconut Yoghurt ( I used Co-Yo Brand)
1 cup Full Fat Coconut Milk (tinned variety)
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder, 1 clove garlic crushed or 1 teaspoon garlic infused olive oil 
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
Pinch Black Pepper
Sea Salt, to taste
water, if needed to thin down the sauce

 

METHOD – MEAT SAUCE

Heat a large saucepan with fat over med-high heat until fat is melted.

Add onion and garlic and cook for approximately 1 minute until fragrant. 

Turn up heat to high and add mince meat.  Using a wooden spoon, break up the mince and cook until browned.

Add oregano, thyme, pepper, tomatoes, sugar, bone broth, tomato paste and water.  Stir through, put lid on and bring to boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat to medium, stirring occasionally, cook for 20 minutes with lid on.

Taste and if needed add a little salt.  Set aside.

 

METHOD  – EGGPLANT

Heat a large frying pan with some fat. Arrange eggplant slices and cook till light golden colour. urn over and cook fora further minute.                ( Eggplants tend to absorb fat very quickly, add more if needed). 

Set cooked eggplant slices on a plate and continue to cook the remaining slices as above.

METHOD  – ASSEMBLY

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Grease a 31 cm x 21 cm ceramic baking dish with a little oil or fat. Ladle in enough sauce to cover the base of the dish.

Next arrange eggplant slices over the sauce in a flat layer.  Add half the nettles and spread out to make a layer. Add another layer of sauce, top with eggplant, then nettles then some more sauce.

Put in oven, uncovered for about 50 minutes.

 

METHOD – CAULIFLOWER SAUCE

Put cauliflower into a saucepan and add enough water to come up 2-3 cm in pot.  Put on stove, with lid on over high heat and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer till tender.

Remove pot from stove and drain the cauliflower.  Chop cauliflower up roughly.

Put cauliflower into food processor and process for 10 seconds.  Add coconut yoghurt, coconut milk, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper.  Process mixture until smooth.  Taste and season with salt.

Cauliflower sauce should be the consistency of gravy, if too thick add some extra coconut milk or water until desired consistency is reached.

Pour sauce into a gravy boat or a jug. 

Cut lasagne into slices, approximately 10 x 10 cm. There should be 6 slices.

Put Lasagne on plates and pour over some cauliflower sauce.  Serve with salad and/or vegetables. And/or even some dairy free/vegan cheese

** This Can be frozen for later if needed.

SERVES 6

 

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