I have a little confession. Something I haven't written about on the blog and something that doesn't appear much in my recipes: We eat mince! (That's ground beef if you're from the Northern hemisphere).
I realised the other day that though our family regularly enjoys simple meals like spaghetti bolognese, chilli con carne, burgers etc it's not something I write about on the blog or show on social media very much. I guess I consider that the 'boring stuff' that we eat. I did start think though that it's not entirely truthful (it can't all be gram-worthy buddha bowls) and also those meals are awesome. They're what holds our family together on really busy weeks and when I need a meal that everyone will eat without complaint. Most weeks I'll make either a big pot of my coconut and turmeric dhal (in my cookbook) or some kind of mince-based meal that'll do a few nights (often half will go in the freezer). This means I don't have to make every night a complicated meal from scratch.
This lasagna is a firm family favourite and one that I plan on making this weekend as the stormy weather sets in. It uses sweet potato, sliced very thinly, as the layers and a cauliflower béchamel instead of the traditional version. The whole thing is topped with a couple of generous handfuls of grated mozzarella because I like to throw a decadent element in there.
You’ll love this one! Yes, it does have a few steps to bring it together but the different elements can be made in advance and it more than pays off with bucketloads of wholesome deliciousness.
I wrote this recipe as part of a collection of work for Mainland. I'm pleased to be able to share it with you here.
P.S A mandoline will make it a breeze to slice the sweet potato plus they are awesome kitchen tools! I have one like THIS. Pretty cheap but it does the job.
Wholesome beef & mushroom lasagna w/ sweet potato layers, cauliflower sauce & mozzarella
This recipe will make a much bigger lasagna than the picture shows. I split this recipe between 2 medium dishes but only photographed one. You'll be able to use one large dish if you prefer.
Cooking and prep time: 2 hours
Beef & mushroom ragu
1 brown onion – finely diced
4 garlic cloves – finely diced
1 large carrot – peeled and finely diced
600g beef mince
250g Portobello mushrooms – cut into small pieces
2 cups tomato passata or 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 cup (185ml) liquid beef stock
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried italian herbs
1/2 brown onion – finely diced
1 large clove garlic – finely diced
1 medium head cauliflower – cut into florets
1 cup (250ml) vegetable stock
3 tablespoons olive oil
2–3 medium orange kumara – sliced very thinly on a mandolin
3 cups Mainland grated Mozzarella to top
Salt and cracked black pepper
Oil for sauteing
Heat a generous spoonful of oil in a sauté pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and carrot. Cook gently until the onion is translucent. Add the beef and mushrooms; and raise the heat to high. Cook, moving frequently, until well browned. Don’t rush this stage. It will give a richer end result.
Add the tomato passata, stock, cumin and dried herbs. Bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer for 60 minutes. You want this to be a much dryer result than a traditional Bolognese sauce as there won’t be pasta in the lasagna to soak up excess liquid. Season generously.
Cauliflower sauce method
Heat a generous dollop of oil in another sauté pan (preferably one with a lid as you need to steam the cauliflower) over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook gently until the onion is tender and translucent. Add the cauliflower and stock. Place a lid on, turn heat to low and cook for 15–20 minutes until very soft. Turn heat down if it starts to bubble over. Place the cauliflower and stock into a blender (or use a stick blender). Add the olive oil and a generous seasoning of salt and cracked black pepper. Puree until silky smooth.
Preheat oven to 180c (350f).
Grease an ovenproof lasagna dish. Place a layer of sweet potato slices (tiled tightly, slightly overlapping so there are no gaps) on the bottom. Top with half the ragu. Gently spread half the cauliflower sauce on top. Cover with another layer of tiled sweet potato slices. Repeat the final layer of ragu followed by cauliflower sauce. Top with the final layer of sweet potato. Sprinkle with the Mainland mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 45–50 minutes until the sweet potato is golden and crispy. Leave to stand for 15 -20 minutes before serving. This helps the layers settle so it will be easier to serve.
Pair with steamed green vegetables or a green salad.
Leftovers will last up to four days in an airtight container in the fridge.