As far as true favourite recipes go, this lasagna is right up there for me. I love making it & the family love eating it. It is filled with fresh vegetables & tender grass fed beef mince, slow cooked with rich italian tomatoes. Add the creamy density of bechamel sauce & cheese, all held together with between layers of fresh duram wheat lasagna sheets & I am in all sorts of foodie bliss!
The sauce for this beef & vegetable lasagna also doubles as my go-to bolognese sauce for adding to all sorts of pasta, in particular spaghetti, making for an insanely good pasta meal, just add parmesan cheese & serve with garlic bread. YUMMY!! I will put a recipe card up for just the sauce & let you know where to find it!
Most lasagna or bolognese sauces have red wine as part of the ingredients list. I have used a little in this recipe from time-to-time over the years, but honestly, it just doesn’t work for me. I would much rather drink a glass of red with my meal, than add it to it, I find it bitter & the tannin from the wine smothers the other flavours. That’s just my preference though, if you like it, by all means add it.
Other recipes I have seen also add sugar to sweeten the tomatoes. For me, unless the taste of the sauce is particularly bitter, I wouldn’t bother. Generally, by making sure you use good quality tinned italian or roma tomatoes, they are actually quite sweet, so sugar isn’t needed.
The sauce (above) used in between the layers is called Bechamel Cheese Sauce – you can find a link to a recipe card for this HERE.
Making lasagna is quite time consuming, but do keep in mind, it can be done in stages. You can make the meat & bechamel sauces ahead of time & prepare the entire dish cold, then pop it in the oven when you are ready to eat it. It is well worth the effort – it is such a great meal to share with family & friends & a great one to prepare ready to take to a dinner party or the like.
I prefer to use fresh lasagna sheets when making this recipe. They cook beautifully & are easier to fit into your lasagna dish. I really wish someone would make lasagna sheets with rounded edges – I hate trying to break the dried pasta to get it sit flat in the corners – I always manage to shatter it! At least the fresh stuff is more flexible & tearing or cutting it to fit is simple.
Either way though, this will still turn out delicious – it’s just a matter of what you have in your fridge or pantry.
It may not be the prettiest dish straight out of the oven, but boy does it taste good! Served with fresh salad greens & garlic bread, it is a hearty & satisfying meal for the whole family.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 500 grams premium beef mince - (I prefer grass fed)
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano leaves
- 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 800 grams diced italian tomatoes (or similar) - (I prefer organic with no added salt, if using tinned)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste - (I prefer organic with no added salt)
- 1 carrot, grated or finely diced
- 1/2 - 1 zucchini, (depending on the size), grated or finely diced
- 1/2 red capsicum, finely diced
- 4 - 6 button mushrooms, finely diced
- 2 big handfuls baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
- salt & pepper to season
- 1 packet of fresh or oven-ready dried lasagna sheets - (I prefer fresh, but it doesn't really matter).
- 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 quantity of bechamel cheese sauce (about 2 cups) - see recipe card link below this recipe card.
- Prepare your vegetables;
- *Finely dice, grate &/chop the onion, garlic, carrot, zucchini, red capsicum & spinach
- Over medium-high heat in a large saucepan, heat the extra virgin olive oil until glossy.
- Add onion & garlic & saute until softens.
- Add the beef mince & saute, stirring constantly & using spoon to break down any lumpy chunks of meat until almost browned through, about 5 - 8 minutes.
- Add the dried oregano, basil & paprika & stir well.
- Add the tomatoes & tomato paste & combine well.
- Bring mix back a bubble, reduce heat to medium, add carrot, zucchini, red capsicum & mushrooms.
- Stir to combine & reduce heat to low.
- Cover & allow to simmer for about 25 - 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat & add baby spinach leaves, mixing them gently through.
- Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before assembling with lasagna sheets & bechamel cheese sauce (link for this sauce is below this recipe card).
- Preheat oven to 220oC (non fan forced)
- Lightly grease or spray oil a large ceramic lasagna dish - (mine is approx. 26 x 17 x 4 cm) or similar.
- Place a single layer of lasagna sheets across the bottom of the dish, try not to overlap the pasta too much or it will take longer to cook.
- Add a even layer of meat sauce, about 1 cm thick.
- Add a layer of lasagna sheets.
- Using a spatula or similar, dollop bechamel cheese sauce, about 1 cup, over the pasta & spread evenly across.
- Add another layer of meat sauce, about 1 cm thick.
- Add a layer of lasagna sheets.
- Add a layer of bechamel cheese sauce.
- Add a layer of meat sauce.
- Add a layer of lasagna sheets,
- Sprinkle with mozzarella & parmasen cheese.
- Cover with aluminium foil & bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove foil & bake for a further 15 minutes, or until cheese is golden.
- Allow to stand for about 15 minutes before serving.
- * - I finely chop all the vegetables using my stick blender chopper attachment. This is mainly due to having small children who are both fussy eaters. Pre-kids I used to just roughly chop everything for the extra texture. You can go as fine or chunky as you prefer.
- Make a double batch of sauce & freeze the other half to make another lasagna, or separate into smaller batches to serve as bolognese with your favourite pasta.
- Sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
This Beef & Vegetable Lasagna is a regular at our dinner table. I hope you like it as much as we do!