When I’m writing up recipes I often feel very self-conscious about the language I use. Ultimately, I want to convince you to make what I’m sharing, and that the time and effort involved is worthwhile. But I don’t want to be effusive, I don’t want to oversell something or not come across as genuine. I cringe a little when I read recipes that proclaim to be “the best ever”, but I understand how feeding the SEO beast works.
I can’t in good conscience claim that this is the best ever lasagne, but I can at least say that it’s my favourite. I’ve eaten a lot of lasagne in my time and, for me, this comes out on top – for flavour and for ease. As far as lasagne goes this isn’t particularly fussy; the prep time is pretty minimal, you won’t be left with loads of washing up to do, and the overall cook time is a fraction of what a traditional lasagne can set you back.
I actually posted some photos of this lasagne on my Instagram stories recently and I don’t think I’ve ever had so many replies to something I’ve posted. So, here it is, and I’m very happy to share this one!
A vegetable-centric lasagne
This lasagne is all about the vegetables, and so doesn’t attempt to mimic a traditional Lasagne al Forno. There’s no béchamel or meat-like ragu filling, instead this uses a simple and fresh tomato sauce and lots of greens cooked down and blitzed with some cottage cheese. At some point I’d like to develop a more traditional and somewhat decadent recipe, but as it stands this is my favourite lasagne to make and eat. It’s so flavourful and, with the help of a food processor, it comes together very easily.
You can also easily add more vegetables to this. For example, sauté some courgette and bell peppers and layer them on top of the green mixture when assembling.
Kale and leek are in the title of this recipe, but I would encourage you to throw in whatever greens you might have in. This recipe was devised for the purpose of using up greens! Collard greens, spinach, chard, mustard greens, and beet greens, for example, would all be suitable.
And don’t be too concerned with quantity, either. I used around 200g of kale and 2 large leeks, which made an appropriate amount of filling but you can certainly pack in even more veg than that.
Often associated with faddy weight-loss diets, cottage cheese doesn’t have the greatest reputation. Maybe you think it’s gross? Maybe you noticed it’s in this recipe and immediately wondered what to substitute it with?
I’m sort of with you. The appearance and texture of cottage cheese can be pretty off-putting. But I swear to you it works great in this recipe – America’s Test Kitchen says so. It brings a tang that ricotta doesn’t, and your lasagne will be much tastier for it. Don’t worry about the texture either because the food processor will sort that out.
If you’re not sold on cottage cheese then this might just be the recipe to change your mind. Or, up until a point – you still won’t catch me eating straight spoonfuls of the stuff!
Kale & Leek Lasagne
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 200 g kale
- 2 large leeks thinly sliced
- 1 medium red onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 250 g cottage cheese
- salt to taste
- 400g tinned plum tomatoes drained
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 handful fresh basil
- pinch ofsalt
- 8 sheets lasagne (use sheets that don't require pre-cooking)
- 80 g shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese
- Preheat your oven to 220°C (200°C fan).
- Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. When hot add the leeks and red onion and sauté for about five minutes until soft.
- Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- The kale likely won't fit in the pan all at once, so add couple of handfuls at a time. When cooked down add more.
- While the kale is cooking down make the tomato sauce. To drain the plum tomatoes place them in a sieve over the sink to get rid of the more watery liquid. Add the tomatoes along with the rest of the sauce ingredients to a food processor and blitz until smooth. Pour the sauce into a bowl and give the food processor bowl a quick rinse.
- Once all your kale has cooked down place all the vegetable mixture into the food processor along with the cottage cheese. Pulse a few times until the mixture is blitzed together, but don't blend until completely smooth – keep some texture. Add salt to taste.
- Now to assemble. Spread a couple of spoonfuls of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish (I use a 9"x9" dish). Add two lasagne sheets (or, depending on the size of your sheets, however much to cover the bottom), then a third of the green mixture, spread out a layer of tomato sauce on top, and sprinkle some cheese. Repeat two more times using up the rest of the green mixture. For the top layer, use the remainder of the tomato sauce and spread out across the lasagne sheets followed by the remainder of the cheese.
- Cover your dish with a lid or foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the lid/foil and bake for 10-15 minutes more, until it starts browning on top.
- Remove for the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.