Meat Free Monday (on a Tuesday)

As Kate mentioned we are indeed starting up a Meat Free Monday recipe post (although I am a little late with this week’s, it would appear Meat Free Monday turned into ‘totally chaotic Monday, resulting in Saturday’s spag bol from the freezer.’) Each week we will endeavour to create delicious, tantalising and inspiring dishes without using that oh so high in carbon footprint ingredient; MEAT.

We are a nation of meat lovers, so much so, our overall meat consumption is seeing a steady increase year on year and living with a seasoned carnivore (James, one of the TPs) I get to witness first-hand this peculiar, yet endearing love affair we as a nation have with our steaks, pork chops and sausages.

James practically fell of his seat when I informed him of this new house rule, quivering:

 “What? No meat at all, not even chicken?!”

Well, unfortunately for James no matter which way you look at it, chicken is still meat and the environmental impact that meat is imposing on our planet has now caught up to bite us on the bum (or rump for steak lovers) and here is a small, but significant way we can start the wheels of change towards a more sustainable diet…Veggie Lasagne!!!

This recipe is quick and easy and bursting with lovely veggie goodness and vibrant colours.  I discovered it on the BBC website in the recipe section whist frantically goggling a vegetarian dish for one of our guests… the night before entertaining! Precision planning as always in the ‘Green’ household.

You will need:

  • 450g/16 oz courgettes
  • aubergine
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 kg firm, ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 10-12 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2x125g/4½ oz low-fat mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 150g/5¼ oz fresh lasagne sheets
  • 100g/3½ oz freshly grated parmesan

To prepare:

  1. Slice the courgettes and aubergine into diagonal slices. Heat a ridged grill pan, brush the slices with olive oil and grill for several minutes each side until chargrilled, then remove. You’ll have to do this in batches.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Brush the inside of a large baking dish with a little oil. Place a layer of sliced tomatoes (about one third of the total) on the bottom, slightly overlapping.
  3. Next, layer with half of the courgette and aubergine slices. Sprinkle with half the chopped garlic and one tbsp balsamic vinegar.
  4. Scatter over half of the torn basil leaves and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Layer half the mozzarella slices on top, then cover with half the lasagne sheets.
  6. Continue layering with the rest of the ingredients, ending with a layer of tomatoes on top. Sprinkle over the parmesan.
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another five minutes until the parmesan’s golden on top
  8. Remove from the oven and revel in your culinary skills!

Ta da! Meat free Monday in about 1 hour. Let the feasting and warm fuzzy feeling of green living fill your bellies.

A montage of the veggie lasagne that even James gave 10/10. However, I think I am a long way off introducing a meat free month.

Serving suggestion: Serve with tear and share bread fresh from the oven and a yummy beetroot salad. It’s a rainbow sensation on a plate.

The Green small print: all veggies in this dish were purchased from my local farm shop, supporting local produce. I did intend on serving it with home grown peas, however Henry & his Grandma had eaten the entire harvest before I returned from work!


M (aka Green)

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