The other day Molly asked me what Lasagne was…that’s kinda horrifying in my view – an 11 yr. old who’s never had lasagne. The problem hasn’t just been the food allergies but also the reflux; which is set off by tomato. So we tend not to eat a lot of tomato based meals but, as her stomach has been pretty good recently, we decided it was time to sort out some Lasagne for her. We had to avoid soya based cheeses as I’m really allergic to soya so that whole thing is a bit of a challenge. We did it though – and it worked out really well. Oh...and its dairy free, not cheese free!
Prep Time: A good 40 minutes ‘putting it together’, and a good couple of hours for the Bolognese. That’s because we cook ours for a long, long time. You can use your own Bolognese recipe instead of course. Once assembled it takes about 25 minutes in the oven.
Free From: dairy, soya, eggs
9 Egg free Lasagne sheets – I got ours from the Essential range at Waitrose and got the spinach ones.
2 oz. Violife Parmesan cheese grated
6 oz Violife Cheddar cheese grated
2 ½ cups Koko Coconut milk
5 tbsp. Pure Sunflower Margarine
5 tbsp. flour
1 tsp mustard
4 cups of Bolognese made from:
1 kilo mince
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 chopped onions
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp. tomato puree
1 400g can of chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp. brown Sugar
2 tbsp. Worchester sauce
½ cup beef Stock
salt and pepper
Oven temp for baking the lasagne is 190°C, 375°F
Make the Bolognese in the morning. Our recipe has some brown sugar in it so it has a lovely sweet flavour, due to Molly’s allergies we also don’t use Oregano. So this is a unusual Bolognese - you can use your own recipe of course!
Add the olive oil to a large pan or casserole and brown the beef on a medium heat. This takes a good 15-20 minutes as you’ll probably need to do it in batches.
Then add the onions, garlic, tomato puree, tinned tomatoes, sugar, Worchester sauce, salt and pepper and the stock.
Give it all a good stir and leave on a low heat to bubble away for 2 hours. Taste and adjust the seasoning as it cooks. After two hours put it to one side to cool down and let the flavours solidify.
Then make the white sauce.
Melt the margarine in a pot over a medium heat and stir in the flour until you have a past. Let is cook for about a minute and then, ¼ cup at a time, add the milk and whisk until the mixture is smooth.
Take your time with this or you will end up with lumps. Keep adding, and whisking until all the milk is incorporated. Bring the sauce to a simmer whisking all the time. Add salt and pepper and a few grinds of fresh nutmeg or pinch of ground nutmeg and the mustard. Give it a good whisk.
The sauce will thicken nicely in a few minutes. Put to one side to cool; with cling film over the sauce to ensure that a film doesn’t form. Be warned, I like quite a thick white sauce, if you want a thinner one then reduce the flour by 1/2 tablespoon.
Cook the lasagne sheets in boiling water for 3 minutes. Take them out and pat them dry. Lay them on a baking sheet without overlapping to use later.
Preheat your oven.
Assemble the lasagne.
Lightly grease a shallow oven proof dish.
Spoon 1/3rd of the Bolognese into the bottom of the dish and smooth it out to cover the base.
Cover with a layer of pasta sheets. Cut to fit so all the Bolognese is covered.
Spoon 1/3rd of the white sauce onto the pasta sheets and sprinkle with 1/3rd of the cheeses.
Repeat finishing with the cheese on top.
Cook for 20-25 minutes so that the Bolognese on the bottom is bubbling away.
The Violife cheddar does a good job but it doesn’t brown as nicely as dairy cheese. Having said that this is a wonderful dairy free option and we loved it. To make the meal even better I served it with roasted garlic soda bread.
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