Monday, 28 October 2013

Pork and Vegetable Lasagne

Wow, what a gorgeous weekend! Labour weekend is always a little bit special for me and hubby - although our wedding anniversary day changes each year, we still think of it as Labour was the Saturday of labour weekend 4 years ago that we tied the know under a gigantic palm tree on Waiheke Island - a tropical island wedding but without having to travel so far!

It has been a very social weekend catching up with lots of family, plus hubby has been out playing tennis and has a friend from out of town here so it feels like it's been one of those weekends of eating and planning to eat! Now it is time to start thinking about Halloween on Thursday. The kids are still pretty young so we don't really do trick or treating but this year we have organised to have an afternoon party with a few friends. This gives the kids a chance to dress up, play a few 'scary' games, eat a bit of halloween themed food and still get to be a part of the action. I hope we also get some trick or treaters come to the door - the girls love to see the older kids dressed up. I'm putting a plan in place for a few 'clean' halloween treats, so I will try and get the recipes sorted for those asap.

In the mean time, here is a nice recipe to start the week off. Although the weather is more summery now and doesn't really scream 'Lasagne', this is a far lighter, cleaner version and is ideal for making early in the week as it can be easily reheated for lunches or a second dinner. Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free and free of refined sugar this is a delicious vegetable packed dinner which is easy to make, and easy to eat!

Beautiful colourful layers - ready to go in the oven

 Fresh out of the oven and bubbling away nicely...

A saucy little picture...

Pork and Vegetable Lasagne with Coconut 'white sauce'

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free and free of refined sugar

1 tbsp coconut oil
500g pork mince (you can use any mince you like here - chicken, beef or lamb will work just as well)
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 large white mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g)
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock or water
2 tsp fresh or dried thyme
1 tsp mixed herbs, or herbs of your choice
1 eggplant, thinly sliced
1 large kumara, thinly sliced
2 zucchini, sliced into long strips
1/4 of one whole pumpkin, thinly sliced 
1 cup kale, stems removed
salt and pepper to season
1 tomato, thinly sliced

1 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp coconut flour
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp paprika
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 180C. 
2. Prepare your vegetables as instructed - the more thinly sliced the vegetables are the faster your cooking time can be.
3. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over a medium heat. Add onions and garlic and fry for a few minutes until softened. Add the mince and cook until starting to brown. Add the mushrooms, tinned tomatoes, herbs and stock or water. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the mushroom are softened. Remove from heat. 
4. While the mince mixture is simmering you can prepare your 'white sauce'. In a small pot heat the oil over a low heat. Add coconut flour and whisk to combine with the oil. Add the coconut milk and whisk well to allow the flour to combine with the milk and to ensure any lumps are broken down. Add the mustard, coriander, paprika and seasoning and simmer gently until the sauce thickens. 
4. In a large baking dish, begin with a layer of mince mixture. Follow with a few layers of vegetables - you decide what you want where. I did eggplant, kumara, zucchini, pumpkin, kale but just do whatever works for you. Repeat the layers. Top the lasagne with the coconut sauce, then finish with a layer of tomatoes for decoration.
5. Cover the baking dish with tinfoil and bake for around 40 minutes or until a knife passes easily through the lasagne. Remove tinfoil and bake for another 5-10 minutes until top has browned.
6. Serve with a fresh salad and steamed green vegetables. 

Note: I just did one layer of the coconut sauce on the top of the lasagna, but if you would like to have more sauce, double the quantity and add a layer of sauce after you add the first layers of vegetable, but before the second layer of mince. Yum!

Also, please feel free to play around with the types of vegetables you use here - just pop in what works for you and your family.