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Next Steps Lasagne

Claire Wright

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In season now

Ingredients:

500g tomato sauce (homemade or low sugar/salt shop-bought) or 1 tin chopped tomatoes or 500g passata

Mince or veggie alternative (fresh or frozen - allow about 50-80g per person)

1 tin cooked lentils, drained and rinsed

Veggies - aim for 1-2 handfuls per person, ideas in the recipe

500g white sauce (homemade or low fat/salt shop-bought) or a cheat's version made by blending 300g cottage cheese, 150ml milk, a handful of grated Parmesan and a pinch each of salt & pepper

Lasagne sheets

Grated cheese Parmesan, Cheddar, mozzarella... (optional - only one handful is needed here)

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We suggest you do this in stages, slowly, and go as far as works for your family, here’s how your final recipe might come together…

Method:

  1. Cook the mince according to package instructions (usually with a little oil in a pan for 5-10 mins until browned and cooked through). If using fresh veg, add at this stage and cook over low heat until softened. Stir in the tomato sauce and lentils, along with any frozen veg, and simmer until everything is heated through and softened. Fresh veg is best if diced fairly small and cooked with the meat until soft, try: diced onions, celery and/or carrots, diced fennel or sliced leeks, diced peppers or sliced mushrooms, or diced aubergine or courgette… Alternatively, you could stir through some fresh leafy greens when you add the lentils and just let it wilt, or even serve the lasagne with salad and dressing or green beans/shredded cabbage cooked in butter and garlic on the side. If using frozen veg, add with the lentils, try: frozen peas, sweetcorn or mixed veg, frozen grilled Mediterranean veg, sliced carrots, peppers or mushrooms, frozen broccoli florets (defrost first as they can be quite big so slower to cook), diced sweet potato or squash…

  2. Layer in a casserole dish (⅓ to ½ of each layer to make 2-3 layers): a layer of meat with tomato veg sauce, then a layer of pasta sheets, then a layer of white sauce. Keep layering until out of ingredients. Top with a little grated cheese if you like.

  3. Bake in a hot oven (200C/gas 6) for 30-45 mins, until the top is golden and bubbling around the sides.

Engaging Kids

Engaging Kids

Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating. Find out more here.

Kids in the kitchen

Kids in the kitchen

Get younger kids stirring sauces with some help, layering up the sauces and pasta (they love this bit!), and chucking a couple of handfuls of your chosen veg into the pan of sauce, or adding veg layers along with the pasta.

Older kids might be ready to learn how to chop some fresh veg to add at the start of the meal, stir everything together in the pan, and layering with a lot less help!

Master these skills:

Tasting,  Mixing,  Bridge chopping,  Claw chopping
Activities

Activities

Use arts & crafts as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. While you make your lasagne components, why not set a child up with:

Tomato Veg Crown

Tomato – Cutout ‘n Colour

Tomato – Evil Inside!

Tomato – Squash ‘Em!

Tomato – Totally Blitzed!

Find more arts & crafts and puzzles & games on our website.

Sensory

Sensory

Why not start with a raw carrot and a cooked one and get them to describe what they hear – if they break them both in half, do they make the same sound? If they bite down on them, do they sound soft, crunchy, hard, loud, quiet? See if they want to chuck some into the lasagne after having engaged with them (frozen sliced ones are great in the tomato sauce).

Watch Ruth Platt’s video on sensory activities with carrots for more inspiration, or get more tips, games and videos over on our Sensory page.

Serving

Serving

Why not let your child come up with a theme for the meal? Perhaps it’s a journey to the centre of the earth where everyone has to dig through their slice of lasagne to see if they can find the carrot slices at the bottom, or maybe they helped you layer the lasagne and set the table with layers, too – napkins, two plates each, a placecard with everyone’s name that hides a second piece of paper with a picture or poem! Make sure to praise them for their creativity and imagination and to play along!

Get more ideas over on our Roles for Kids page.

Claire Wright

Editor: After leaving Exeter University with a degree in English Literature, Claire worked in various fields ranging from youth work and charities to publishing, before starting up a food-focused website when her first child was born. After being asked to project manage the publication of Veg Power's Crowdfunder book, Claire came on board as a fully-fledged team member in 2018 to take on the role of Communications Manager, then Editor, looking after Veg Power's website, content, recipes and social media platforms.

addsomeveg.com/

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