Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hidden Veggie Crockpot Lasagna

I have been thinking of making a crockpot adaption on my mothers lasagne recipe. I have seen many vegetarian versions that have eggplant and my kids and hubby really wouldn't enjoy eating that. So I snuck in some good carrots and Cauliflower.
While it's not exactly a "Quick" fix meal because there is a little preparation involved, it is worth the effort because it is so delicious and satisfying. 
The good thing is once it's in the crockpot you can just forget it for 5 hours!

1 lb extra lean Ground Beef (beef mince)
3 mild Italian sausages (I opted for turkey - less fat than pork)
1 Small jar of your favorite marinara pasta sauce
1 lb can of crushed tomatoes
1-2 boxes lasagna pasta sheets

For the white sauce
Approx 4 cups thinly sliced (either by hand or mandolin) cauliflower
1 cup salted butter (2 sticks)
1 1/2 cups plain flour
4 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp salt to taste
1 1/2 cups shaved or freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups grated Asiago cheese
(if you want to top with cheese have an extra 1/2 cups shaved parmesan cheese)

Spray your crockpot generously with non-stick spray.
Prepare your sauces first so you can layer it up fast. If you like you can even slice your vegies and make your meat sauce the day before.
Meat Sauce:
Take sausage out of casing and combine it in a large heated frypan with the ground beef. You can put it in raw in the crockpot but by cooking it first you can get rid of the oils and fats. Drain the meat in a colander and replace back in pan.
Add your pasta sauce and half the can of crushed tomatoes. Flavor with extra with dried oregano and thyme.

White Sauce:
Melt butter in large saucepan on medium heat. In 1/2 cup incriments add your flour (creating a roux).  Stir constantly. It will thicken up to a really thick porridge consistancy.
Turn your heat down to low. Cup by cup whisk in your milk. It will thicken constantly as it heats. When it reaches a thick soup consistancy you are ready to add in your cheeses. sauce is complete when cheese is melted into the sauce.

Put it all together
(note if you get non boil pasta sheets you can put the hard shells straight in the pot.. if not make sure to blanch your pasta in hot water so it is soft enough to form in your crockpot)

Spread some of the remaining crushed tomato on the bottom of your crock pot. Place a layer of lasagne sheets along the bottom of the pot.
Spread a very generous amount of meat sauce on top of pasta.
Cover with pasta, shaping it to your crockpot breaking hard shells if needed and cutting soft sheets if partially cooked.
Spread a generous amount of white sauce over the top of the pasta (by generous I mean about 1cm (approx 1/4 inch) - don't be stingy with your sauces.. I like to know exactly what layers I am eating.

Place a layer of cauliflower on your white sauce.

Layer Pasta.
Layer Meat Sauce again.
Layer Pasta.
Layer White sauce.
Layer Cauliflower.
Layer Pasta.
Pour remaining crushed tomatoes over last sheet of pasta, it should be just barely enough to cover the pasta lightly. Then spread the white sauce over the top hiding everything underneath. Spread parmesan shavings over the top.
Cover and allow to cook on low for 3 1/2 hours and crank it up to high for the last hour and a half.
Remove ceramic dish from crock pot and set aside to "set-up" for 15 minutes or longer. This will give you a nice firmly layered dish.

1 comment:

  1. that looks wonderful. I love the white sauce recipe.