Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying to expand my arsenal of easy to make, yet healthy, weeknight dinners. I find it easy to prepare breakfast and lunch (because it’s nearly always the same) but I always look forward to a nice dinner at the end of the day. I think that everyone should have three of four go-to recipes that they can easily put together in under 20 minutes – mine are omelettes, curries, bean stews and good old chicken, sweet potato and vegetables. However, I get bored of eating the same thing too often and feel the need to experiment! Sometimes this works out really well, other times I end up going to bed fairly hungry…
This week however, I managed to come up with an absolute winner in this turkey and courgette lasagne with a crispy cheese topping that I’ll definitely be making regularly. It’s packed full of flavour yet only has 285 calories per portion and is low in fat, sugar and salt. It’s high in protein, full of nutrients from the vegetables and the tomato based sauce is packed full of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. You don’t even have to miss out on the cheesiness of a normal lasagne as I’ve used low fat Dubliner white cheese which, apart from adding lots of texture and flavour, is a good source of calcium, vitamin B12 and protein!
The best thing about this meal is that it makes enough for six portions meaning that you also have tomorrows lunch or dinner sorted! You can also freeze individual portions and heat it up in the microwave for those nights when all you want to do is not cook and order in…
- 2 courgettes, sliced lengthwise
- olive oil (or basil infused oil if you have it)
- 1 medium yellow onion (finely diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (finely diced)
- 1 large carrot (finely diced)
- 1 red pepper (finely diced)
- 600g turkey mince
- 1 can of cherry tomatoes
- 1 jar of tomato and basil pasta sauce
- 2 tsp tomato puree
- 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 180C
- Slice the courgettes lengthwise (I only used two courgettes but you could probably use four if you wanted to completely cover each layer, however I think two worked fine and saves a bit of money!).
- Place the slices of courgette in a baking dish or on a baking tray with a bit of olive oil (I actually found basil infused olive oil in Lidl that worked really well but it’s not essential). Season with salt and pepper and then place in the oven for a few minutes. This step is simply to dry out the courgettes a bit as they hold a lot of moisture.
- Heat some olive oil in a frying pan or saucepan. Add the onion, a little bit of salt and pepper and cook on a medium heat until they turn a golden brown colour (about 5 minutes).
- Add the garlic, carrot and red pepper and fry for a few more minutes.
- Depending on the size of your saucepan you can either add the turkey mince in with the onion, garlic, carrot and peppers and cook or cook in a separate saucepan and mix together once the turkey is cooked.
- To the turkey and vegetables, add in a tin of cherry tomatoes and a jar of tomato and basil pasta sauce.
- Add in the tomato puree, Cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste.
- The next step is to assemble the lasagne. Take an ovenproof baking dish and drizzle it with a little bit of olive oil (not too much, just enough to lightly cover it). Next, lay down a layer of courgette (divide your courgette strips into piles of three so that you have enough for three layers – don’t worry if each layer doesn’t cover the meat completely).
- Next add a layer of turkey and veg, then another layer of courgette and keep going like this until you run out.
- Grate some Dubliner Low Fat cheddar cheese on top and place the dish into the oven on the middle shelf for about 10-15 minutes. The cheese should melt and go crispy. If you find it starting to burn a bit then you can cover it with tinfoil.
- If you have leftovers then they are great the next day or you could cut out individual portions, freeze them and then microwave them when you want.