“How do I get those vegetables into my kids?” Some parents mash them into pasta sauce, others bake a cake with zucchini and just give up. Since my kids – though picky eaters – are OK with most veggies, it’s usually not such a big deal in my family. But there are a few vegetables that even my kids would reject and that’s just too bad, because they have great health benefits – especially during winter.
FENNEL: Such a great source of vitamin C! It has more vitamin C than an orange and one can eat it rare – delicious! … well, sadly my kids disagree. Also it has iron and calcium and phosphor, all great for growing kids. EGGPLANT: has B vitamins and Calcium, also vitamin C. MUSHROOMS: Not my kids thing but has a lot of vitamin D!
What I do is cutting all the veggies into tiny little pieces, fry them with some other things they like and work them into a lasagna which they cannot withstand! They have no idea what they are eating and they love their lasagna! It’s some work to cut all these things and since I am already doing it, I make double, prepare a second lasagna and freeze it before baking.
I came across this idea when I was nursing my son, about 15 years ago. I needed to eat fennel and vitamins for milk production but my oldest daughter wouldn’t eat fennel in a meal. That’s when I started this lasagna idea and am tricking my kids with it ever since. There is not really a specific recipe for it and most of the time I just mix some vegetables of the season or what I have left in my fridge and needs to be prepared before it rots. This will usually be some zucchini, tomatoes and bell pepper. If you have other veggies in your fridge, try it with those.
Lasagne - veggies included
- 1-2 packages no cook lasagna
- 1 piece fennel
- 150 g broccoli
- 1 small eggplant
- 1-2 zucchini
- 2-3 bell peppers
- 4 tbsp flour
- 75 g Butter (about 1/2 butter stick)
- 300 ml milk (more or less)
- 1-2 glasses of your favorite pasta sauce
- 500 g ground beef, (optional)
- 1 package shredded mozzarella
- some olive oil for frying
- 1 onion
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- some salt
- some herbes, like herbes de province
- some black pepper
- Cut the eggplant into slices and salt each slice. Set aside for about 10 minutes.
- Cut all other vegetables into small cubes.
- Use some paper towels to remove salt and water from eggplants and cut the slices into small cubes.
- Heat a pan with olive oil, then fry all vegetables in the pan until soft.
- Slice the onion and cut into smaller pieces.
- Optional step: In a separate pan heat oil, add the ground beef, season it in the pan with herbes, salt and black pepper and fry until cooked through.
- I don't really season the ground beef ahead of frying. Instead I put it in the pan, spread it and put the season on top. While stirring it, the spices and herbs spread.
- If there is a lot of fat in the ground beef, I try to scoop as much of it from the pan as I can. This fat is not important for taste and might even keep the food from unfolding it's seasoning and specific taste.
- Add the pasta sauce to each pan or only to the ground beef - it's your choice and it tastes both ways!
- In a sauce pan melt the butter.
- Add one tbsp. of flour after another while stirring constantly. Let it "sweat" for a moment (still stirring!), then slowly add some milk - stir!
- Again add some milk and stir until you have a paste without lumps, repeat this step until you have a nice, even white sauce. It should be more than you can see in the picture!
- Spice it with some nutmeg! ... a little secret for more taste!
- In a casserole spread some of the white sauce and ...
- ... put some lasagna slices on top.
- Add the veggie sauce and (if you made some) beef sauce. You can either mix it together or make a layer of each, separated with lasagna slices.
- On each layer of lasagna slices put some white sauce on top.
- The last layer is lasagna, some white sauce and the shredded mozzarella.
- Heat the oven to 425°F.
- Put in the oven for about 45 to 50 minutes or until lasagna is soft. If the cheese gets to brown, cover the top of the lasagna with aluminum foil.
- Guten Appetit!