A lighter look at lasagne
Enjoy a healthy version of a popular dish that is usually a diet no-no...
Garfield the cartoon cat loves to eat lasagne and he is not exactly slender.
Maybe that’s one reason why the Italian favourite has a bad reputation as a rather unhealthy dish, or perhaps it is the roughly 500 calories packed in an average serving.
So when the team at the Balance Café in the Oasis Centre, Dubai, told us they can make a ‘healthy’ lasagne we had to find out more.
Svelte Chef Yogesh Rambhujan is from Mauritius and takes pleasure in turning unhealthy dishes into super-lean meals. He showed us his design for a slimmed-down vegetarian lasagne. It’s straightforward enough that anyone wanting to shift the pounds can add this to their healthy eating regime.
Protein-packed vegetarian lasagne
>> 5 lasagne sheets
>> 200g tofu shredded
>> 200g parmesan cheese
>> 1 tbsp chopped garlic
>> 3 tbsp chopped basil leaf
>> 30g granulated sugar
>> 3 oranges grated
>> 100ml canned chopped tomato
>> 150ml skimmed milk
>> 1 tbsp corn starch
Step 1 Prep and soak
After chopping the vegetables (see shopping list), you will need to create the white sauce for this dish. Chef Yogesh creates this by reducing the skimmed milk with one tablespoon of corn starch
until thickened. That is everything that needs to be pre-prepared. The first step to the dish is then soaking the lasagne sheets in water.
Step 2 Build up the layers
Using a baking tray and a rectangle cutter, place the first lasagne sheet in the cutter. Now spread on the white sauce using the back of a spoon.
“Next we add the spinach layer,” says Chef Yogesh. “Then the capsicum, mushrooms and the tofu.” Half of the chopped tomatoes are layered on followed by the cheese - either parmesan or mozzarella.
Step 3 Repeat the feat
To finish the layer Chef Yogesh then adds the next lasagne sheet.
The process of layering the sauces, vegetables, tofu and cheese is then repeated until the tin is full.
“Press down on the layers gently but it is OK if it breaks a little,” says Chef Yogesh.
Seal the layers with a final lasagne sheet and then add the rest of the tomatoes on top. At this point Chef has a warning - it shows if the vegetables have not been evenly sliced: “If you have cut the vegetables to a different size it is difficult to arrange them in the cutter. Also there is a danger that they will cook at a different speed,” he says.
Step 4 ready, set
Bake your lasagne in the oven for 25 minutes at 200C or until the tomato sauce starts bubbling. Finally leave the lasagne to set for a couple of hours in the fridge. This is required because there is a lot less cheese in this lasagne so the cooling is required to help it set.
Once it has set, remove the cutter, reheat and serve.
Chef Yogesh Rambhujan from the Balance Cafe in Dubai’s Oasis Centre says any dish can be healthy if you have a keen eye for ingredient details and a
little bit of creative flair.