It’s meat free week this week!
Am I wrong, or is it a relatively recent phenomenon that we name basically every day or week of the year in honour of something or other? I’m always behind the ball where these things are concerned. I missed national spaghetti day, entirely overlooked pancake day and have no idea whether ramen day even exists. Nevertheless, for once, and very fortuitously, I am IN THE LOOP. It is meat free week this week and not only am I fully aware of this fact, I’m going to embrace it! Prepare for an onslaught of vegetarian recipes to inspire you into a frenzy of plant-chopping, plant-cooking and plant-eating in honour of our furred and feathered friends. Starting with this!
I’ve had a few requests for lasagne recipes today, and also a couple asking for interesting recipes involving pumpkin, so I decided to amalgamate the two and make this pumpkin lasagne (also I have too many pumpkins lying around and have to do SOMETHING about it). Anyway, this ‘lasagne’ is a gluten free lasagne because it doesn’t actually contain lasagne sheets. Instead, you fry the pumpkin with garlic and olive oil and use the slices of pumpkin where normally the lasagne sheets would go. If you’re dying for a bit of pasta feel free to add layers of lasagne sheets as well, it’d taste goooood. But if you’re looking for a gluten free version then go ahead and make yourself pumpkin lasagne!
Note: If you’d like to vegan-ify this recipe, simply omit the torn mozzarella at the end of the recipe, and instead top the lasagne with about 1/2 cup of bread crumbs tossed with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 2 finely diced garlic cloves, and 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped.
5 shallots (if you can’t find shallots you can use brown onions)
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Butternut pumpkin, sliced into very thin rounds
4 Tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 Tbsp fresh sage, roughly chopped
1 x 400g can whole tomatoes
2 tsp capers
1 Tbsp fresh herbs (you can use parsley, oregano or thyme, if using dry herbs, reduce to 1-2 tsp)
1/4 tsp castor sugar
pinch of salt and pepper
1 large mozzarella ball, torn
Put the shallots (skin still on) on an oven tray along with 1 Tbsp olive oil, the balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of salt. Roast in the oven at 180˚C for about 40 minutes, or until the onions have softened inside their skins. Set aside to cool, then remove the skins.
In a large bowl, put your sliced pumpkin, garlic, sage and the remaining 3 Tbsp olive oil. Toss to cover the pumpkin evenly in oil and garlic slices.
In a nonstick saucepan, fry each slice of pumpkin until it has browned and caramelised slightly on both sides. It should be soft but not mushy.
While the pumpkins are frying, make your tomato sauce. Put the whole tomatoes, capers, fresh herbs, castor sugar and salt and pepper in a medium saucepan, along with 2 Tbsp water. Simmer on moderate heat until the sauce has thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste if needed.
In an ovenproof dish, spread one layer of cooked pumpkin, then a layer of the cooked onion (torn into shreds), then a layer of the tomato sauce.
Repeat layering the ingredients until all have been used up, then cover with a final layer of torn up buffalo mozzarella. Place in the oven at 200˚C for about 15-20 minutes, or until the mozzarella cheese has melted and browned.
Serve with a side salad of mixed greens.