I made a butter bean dip for a neighbours party a few weeks ago and I have to say, I was amazed.
I opted for super simple: butter beans, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper & parsley…
Smeared on a plate (with more olive oil of course) and it was a hit! With the neighbours that is… there was none left by the time the guests arrived!
It’s luxuriantly creamy texture got me thinking of the endless possibilities for this guilt free pleasure…
So. My one day off finally arrives, and what do I find?
A fridge full of uneaten veggie goodness from last week’s farmers markets! Naughty naughty, Sammy.
I must save them!
Lasagna it is!
Which is where my idea of creamy butter bean purée comes in… As a creamy vegan replacement for a bechamel sauce!
This ‘Lasagna’ is vegan, and can easily be gluten free with the appropriate pasta sheets.
It’s ultra healthy, butter beans are full of iron, low gi energy & a good source of protein. Obviously add some cheese if you want! It’ll still be a healthier & easier alternate to a bechamel sauce.
So, here’s how it went!
Before anything, chuck a few whole garlic cloves in their skins into the oven and turn it up high (preheating for the veggies and roasting the garlic – yum!)
I sliced a chunk of pumpkin & a smallish eggplant up rather finely (a sharp knife is necessary).
I did the same with two zucchinis & a bunch of carrots (maybe 5!) but a good quality vegetable peeler helped for this…
The finer the slices the faster they’ll cook.
I put all of the above in a hot oven, with e.v.o.o, salt & pepper, all layed out only 1 layer thick on flat trays… And cooked till soft with little bits of browning starting.
While all this is happening (yes there will probably be multiple loads unless you have a bajillion trays/giant oven) start on the tomato sauce.
No biggie here, just DON’T BUY A PREMADE PASTA SAUCE!
(Or i’ll kill ya)
5 garlic cloves minced finely
1 onion sliced finely
Into a pan on medium (preheated) with plenty of e.v.o.o, cook until softened and semi traslucent, dont brown!
Add 1 tablespoon of super concentated tomato paste ( if it’s its not so thick/rich go for 2) & cook off for a minute or two.
Add 2 tins of tomatoes (I always use whole peeled ITALIAN tomatoes, just smoosh them up in the pan… The whole ones are just better quality than diced or crushed)
Season with good quality salt then cover and simmer on a low heat for about 10 minutes, take the lid off, turn it back up, add a handful of torn basil leaves, taste for seasoning (you may need a touch or sugar/salt to balance the flavours) and cook on a higher temp with the lid off for another 3 or 4 mins. Done.
So while the sauce simmers & between batches of veggie roasting…
Chuck two tins of well rinsed butter beans into the food processor (or stick blender or whatever is at your disposal) with some of the roasted garlic (add bit by bit to taste) and add enough olive oil so that they start to purée. Add some parsley if you’ve got it, salt & fresh pepper. Blend blend blend! If you’re scared of oil (haha) you can add some water too (or milk or vegan substitute, perhaps almond milk would be nice?) Until you get the desired consistency – like a thick smooth sauce…
Now you’re ready for construction!
Layer it allll up. Start with some tomato in the baking dish before your first lasagna sheet, more tomato, veg, beans, pasta, tomato, veg, beans, pasta etc till you run out of space and/or ingredients!
I like to do separate layers of each veg…
Also finish the top with the bean purée because it crisps up in the oven and is quite parmesan-like.
Cook according to pasta instructions (or if you’re using fresh lasagna sheets – I need to get me a pasta machine – for probably 20ish mins at about 180)
Mine made a loaf tin sized lasagna (3 good portions)
I like to serve it with some extra tomato sauce, and a spurr of the moment addition of a dollop of pesto! (Extra nutty cheeseless with almonds)
The bean purée is almost mashed potoato like… Its obviously not the same as a cheesey lasagna, a bit more pie-like, but you can eat more of it 🙂
Oh, and it was DELICIOUS served COLD the next day! Perrrrrfect leftover food!
Hollllley moley that was stupidly long. Haaaaaa, soz!