This dish was invented by my good friend, Cathie, when she invited me for Sunday lunch one day. To be honest, she wasn’t planning on innovating. She rang me and said:
‘What time are you coming? The chicken’s nearly ready.’
‘But I don’t eat chicken,’ I replied.
‘You do eat chicken!’ she said. ‘I’ve seen you!’
I didn’t and I don’t but she took a bit of convincing. When she finally decided that I was indeed speaking the truth about what I eat, she got her thinking head on and came up with this.
It’s truly delicious – possibly the best accidental dish ever. It’s not short on calcium, which you need for preventing osteoporosis and stress fractures. It has plenty of protein and carbs, though the creamy sauce means it’s not ideal for carb loading before a big race. Eat it instead as part of your regular healthy runners’ diet. You get loads of gorgeous baked cheese on top too. That has nothing to do with its nutritional value – it’s just eye-spinningly yum!
I don’t know about you, btw, but I’ve never done that fiddly thing of boiling fresh lasagne before baking it. Sounds like a recipe for slime and mess in the kitchen to me and it bakes perfectly well without it. Each to their own though; this recipe doesn’t do the pre-cooking but leave time for it if you prefer to do that.
Mushroom and Spinach Lasagne
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlics, sliced finely
8 mushrooms, sliced
150g fresh egg lasagne (about 6-8 sheets, depending on the size of your dish)
300ml half-fat creme fraiche or non-fat Greek yoghurt
150g mature Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon English or Dijon mustard
1 vegetable stock cube (OXO cubes are best for this because they’re most crumbly but others will do)
1 tablespoon oil for frying
1 Heat the oven to 400F / 200C / Gas Mark 6 / Fan 180C.
2 Warm the oil in a saucepan and gently cook the garlic and onion for 5 minutes.
3 Add the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes.
4 Add the spinach and cook for 1 minute more. The spinach doesn’t need to be cooked through, just softened slightly to make it more manageable.
5 Crumble the stock cube into this warm mixture (don’t add water). Stir well.
6 In a mixing bowl or measuring jug, mix the creme fraiche (or yoghurt), mustard and half of the cheese together. It will be thick and lumpy but that’s OK – it won’t be when it’s cooked.
7 In an ovenproof dish, layer the mushroom mix, lasagne and creme fraiche blend, in that order. Repeat until the mixture runs out.
8 Scatter the remaining cheddar cheese over the top of the dish.
9 Cook for 30-40 minutes (depends on the lasagne – it always seems to be different). It’s ready when you can put a sharp knife into it without much resistance.
Serve with a light salad or steamed vegetables.
This is another of our recipes for Meatless Monday. It’s a US campaign and we’re disappointed that there isn’t something similar here in the UK but, hey, we’re taking it global! That’s the kinda gals we are…