Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ninja Lasagna

Cooking for two brothers while growing up who both tended to avoid most vegetables led me to get a bit sneaky. Lasagna (and spaghetti) has such strong flavours that it is quite easy to mask most vegetables in it. Getting a food processor made this even easier - because if you can't see it it must not be there. What mushrooms?

I'm in budget-mode after the holidays, so I really skimped on the cheese and I also used a 50/50 mixture of pork and beef to keep costs down.

Ninja Lasagna:
250 g ground pork
250 g ground beef
1/2 large onion
3+ cloves garlic
800 ml tomato sauce
1 chopped tomato
2-3 medium carrots
1/2 small zucchini
1/2 small red pepper
handful of broccoli florets
handful of cauliflower florets
10 button mushrooms
1 1/2 tbsp dried basil
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper
~12-15 lasagna sheets
250 ml cottage cheese
350 g mozzarella, shredded

In a large saucepan brown the pork and beef with the onion and garlic. Drain the majority of fat and add the tomato sauce and tomato. Puree the vegetables in a food processor and add to the pan. (Alternately, you could just finely chop the vegetables if your family is less picky than mine.) Add the basil, bay leaves, and salt & pepper and bring to a simmer over low heat; simmer for 2 hours uncovered.

This time I accidentally bought no-cook lasagna sheets, so it was even less work although I don't prefer them. It's best to lay out the sheets before you cook them to guesstimate how many you'll need for your dish - mine took around 12 for 3 layers of pasta. Lay out the layers in the following order: pasta, sauce, cottage cheese, mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake in a 375F/190C oven for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

Once cool I divide
d it into 9 portions and froze 8 of them. A better idea for freezing would be to arrange the layers in individual portions and freeze before cooking, as then you'd be able to cook each portion as you wanted it instead of just reheating it. Next time I'll read my packages more carefully, as having the no-cook sheets prevented this (simply due to the shape of my containers).


  1. I do the same everytime I make a tomato sauce. You can hide sooo many veggies in there without anyone ever noticing!

  2. Thanks! my husband will NOT eat veggies, and I haven't tried this option yet. Lord knows I need to sneak some vitamins into his body!