Any fellow X-Gen low toxers out there remember Ross & Rachel’s “break”? Well, when I was in a relationship in my early 20’s we had a break – a few days apart to see if we still wanted to be together. And on that break, I went to stay with my friend Jo. We worked together in cosmetics and she was my 5-years-older-than-me more ‘together’ friend and she knew how to cook. Me? Not so much, back then. I’ll never forget my first night there, she made me a ricotta and spinach lasagne and it was delicious.
When my husband came home with a mountain of ricotta he got because it was a ‘great deal’ I laughed at him and then thought: What the heck am I going to do with all this? And then that lovely memory of a friend – like a big sister – comforting me through a weird time all those years ago, popped into my head and I just knew I needed to have a crack at making it again. It was GOOD!
And so, here is that recipe. It’s simple. It’s delicious and comforting. It’s a great vegetarian dish and I hope you love it – plus? You don’t have to mess around making a bechamel: BONUS!
If you don’t eat dairy you could just do layers of ratatouille (double the recipe of that element) and some cashew cheese dotted on top for baking for dairy allergic/intolerant/vegan peeps.
Enjoy and let me know how you go!
Gluten free Ricotta Ratatouille Lasagne
Ricotta kale layer
- 1.2 kg fresh ricotta Ensure it's preservative free - many are sneaky!
- 1 large bunch kale Purple or green, both are fine.
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup milk or almond milk to thin the ricotta slightly
- 1 packet gluten free lasagne sheets obviously if gluten's not an issue for you, you can use regular lasagne sheets, no probs.
- 250 grams organic, biodynamic cheddar
Ratatouille layer ingredients
- 4 zucchini chopped longways in half, then half wheels down the zucchini
- 2 eggplant cut into 1 inch cubes and lightly salted, then patted dry after 10 minutes to soak away excess water that came out during the salting.
- 1.5 large purple onions roughly chopped
- 750 ml tomato passata
- 250 ml water or broth / veggie stock if the ratatouille starts to stick to the pan when cooking, add another little splash of water, about 50ml.
- 1 tsp sea salt check - depending on the size of veggies you might need a touch more / less.
- 1 heaped tablespoon Italian dried herb mix
- 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil It might seem a lot, but trust me, over 8 portions it's not much and doesn't overpower
Pop your olive oil in a pan and soften the onions, adding your zucchini half wheels and chunks of eggplant after 5 minutes or so.
Then add the italian herb mix, your passata, water/stock/broth, salt and pepper to taste.
Bring it up to high heat bubble, then reduce immediately and simmer on low for 20-25 minutes.
Blitz the kale, leaving the base of the stalks out of the blender / thermomix. It will make about 4 cups of fine chopped kale. Pop 2 cups of the kale into the ratatouille and the other two cups will be mixed into the ricotta.
In a large bowl, stir the 2 cups of chopped kale into the ricotta with the milk, salt and pepper. That's your ricotta layer done.
Pre heat your oven now, onto 180C, and get out your large baking/lasagne dish
Shred the 250g cheese - this is going to go on top of the assembled lasagne in a minute.
Now, once the ratatouille is nice and mushie (you still want to be able to see the veggies for what they are, but you also want it all really nice and soft) place your first layer on the bottom of the lasagne dish - the ratatouille.
Then place your layer of pasta sheets on top of that.
Then spoon out a layer of the ricotta/kale mix to form a layer over the pasta sheets
Then repeat with another layer of pasta sheets, then ratatouille mix, then pata sheets, then your final layer of ricotta mix
Then spread your grated cheddar over the top and pop it into the oven for about 40 minutes.
Pull it out of the oven. Heaven. Serve with a beautiful fresh salad - I did it with a pomegranate, purple cabbage and rocket salad. Enjoy!