The Exception To The Rule: Bacon, Butternut and Creamy Spinach No Pasta Lasagna

Forgive me readers for I have sinned, it has been 8 months since my last confection (ahaha)…Hello and I hope you have all had a wonderful Halloween, Christmas, New Years and Valentine’s Day (that about covers it, right?) I have been beyond busy with the random activities which I call my life. However, I hope to be able to post on a more regular basis from now on and what better way to kick off than with a shock to the system.

I tried and made this recipe last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. So prepare yourself: it is (almost) vegetarian *gasp* and mostly no carb *horror film scream* – I know I know – that’s not what I am about and completely goes against what this blog stands for but like I said it is the exception to the rule. I also left in all the cheese – I would never, ever, EVER leave out the cheese…I mean, what kind of monster would I be…

Okay, have you recovered from the shock yet? Now, I want you to trust me and just try this:

  • x1 small/medium butternut squash (I used the pre-cut cubes in a packet)
  • x1 packet English/baby spinach leaves
  • x1 punnet courgettes/ zucchini
  • 3-4 strips of bacon (leave out if you want a completely veggie dish)
  • x1 tin peeled crushed tomatoes
  • x1 chicken stock pot or stock cube dissolved in 1/3 cup hot water (replace with veg stock for a vegetarian dish)
  • x1 chopped onion
  • x2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • splash of Worcestshire sauce
  • 1 tbs chutney
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tbs plain flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 tbs butter
  1. About an hour or two before you cook – slice the courgettes length ways into slivers as thin as you can and put the slices into a colander over a bowl. Salt the courgettes (and I mean SALT – like 3-4 good twists of the salt grinder) This is going to make the courgettes release their water and the water will collect in the bowl. You want as little water in them as possible.
  2. Saute onions in a bit of olive oil and then add and fry bacon and garlic. Cook your butternut in the mean time, if you used the packet – pierce the butternut packet and put it in the microwave for 10 mins. 
  3. Add the tin of tomato (or pasta sauce) to the bacon and onion and stir through. Add the butternut and chicken stock and stir. You want as much moisture to bubble off as possible – the butternut will sort of start mashing but that’s good. Stir in the worcestershire and chutney and then season to taste.
  4. Make your white sauce. Start by melting the butter and stirring in the flour a spoon at a time until a wet paste forms and add the mustard. Start pouring in the milk slowly stirring vigorously at the same time with a whisk. Simmer the milk and season. Add half the cheese and stir until melted. Start adding spinach leaves by the handful and let them wilt down before adding the next handful.Use as much spinach as you like (I used the whole bag) Once the spinach is wilted and incorporated in the sauce, remove from the heat. 
  5. To construct the lasagna – layer butternut and bacon at the bottom, then pour a little spinach white sauce over and then layer some courgettes on top. Squeeze and wipe down each slice of courgette before you add it to get any excess water out and to rub some of the salt off. I didn’t pack the courgette slices too close to one another but you can if you like – depends how much you have I guess.
  6. Repeat the layers ending with courgettes and then top with the last of the spinach sauce and sprinkle with cheese. 
  7. I cooked mine for about 20 mins in a 180C oven – doesn’t need much cooking really, you just want the cheese on top to have browneIMG-20160316-WA0003d a bit and to be gorgeous and bubbly.
  8. If it comes out quite watery don’t fret! You can can spoon some of the liquid out and allow it to stand for about 20 minutes to set. I rather liked the layers all gooey and mushy – adds to the comforting properties of the veggies (who knew?!)

I hope you enjoy this healthy, high protein dish like I did and I promise that my next post will be something utterly sinful and chocolatey/ carby/sweet/cheesy/ fattening!

Until then – BYE!

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