I recently started with a personal trainer recently, recently as in this week, as in yesterday. Pretty recent. Anyway, I’ve been told that I am not to eat any carbs for 2 weeks to train my body to use fats for energy rather than carbs… I’m not positive there is method in this madness but what I am positive about is that it will be difficult to eat interesting food that makes me full and satisfied without any carbs at all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a carbs monster, far from it, being gluten intolerant is what I have to thank for that, but without potatoes, rice and crackers I’m running out of things to eat my cheese on… not that that will stop me, I’m happy to just shove plain cheese in my gob hole but it will be missing the usual crunch of a gluten free cracker. So, rant over, this is my first day of going carb free and I’ve managed to come up with something that I’m actually pretty happy with. I had some things to use up in the fridge and some interesting half bits of vegetables n stuff so I made this, its a lasagne cross moussaka cross vege bake, its like the Frankenstein of healthy meals but he turned out pretty tasty old Frankenstein and I think I’ve actually grown to love him, hey, I might even keep him on the menu after this two weeks of madness is over; until then however, be on the lookout for more food that looks or sounds bland (being gluten free, carb free, fat free doesn’t sound that appetising you have to admit) but are actually DELICIOUS! Praise the lord god/ flying spaghetti monster for herbs and spices.
Preheat oven to 160 centigrade.
For the white sauce:
150g low fat cottage cheese (this is half a small tub from tescos)
70 g parmesan, grated finely (a triangular block of parmesan is roughly 200g so about 1/3)
1 small bunch chives, chopped finely (about 25 stems)
½ teaspoon of salt
(whisk all ingredients together, voila, low fat, high protein white sauce that will set like a normal white sauce)
For the red sauce:
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
1 brown onion (diced)
3 cloves of garlic (crushed)
1/2 small red pepper (diced)
1 can of crushed tinned tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar (this sweetens the tinned tomatoes so they taste fresh and ripe)
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
salt & pepper to taste
½ teaspoon of chilli flakes
1 bunch of basil (about 15 leaves, chopped)
In a saucepan put the ingredients for the red sauce in order that they’re listed making sure to sautee the garlic and onions till the onions are clear. Once all ingredients have been added you can simmer for about 10 mins till the red pepper is soft and add salt and pepper to taste.
For the layers:
Make sure your layers are cut finely enough so they cook in time with the white sauce, less than ½ cm is desirable (around 3mm).
1/2 large courgette (cut into thin lengths)
1 small aubergine (cut into thin rounds)
Small handful of salad leaves (these were hanging around in the fridge and had some baby spinach in them so I pinched them… sorry Nic and Al if you’re reading this)
150g block of basil tofu, sliced into 1/2cm slices (Taifun Basil Tofu, found this at the corner store, turns out its delicious, even if it is green… its not essential but adds extra protein, I wouldn’t suggest using normal tofu though, its too tasteless)
In a 20cm square cake tin put a thin layer of olive oil so the vegetables don’t stick to the bottom followed by layers in the following order: aubergine rounds, salad leaves, red sauce, courgette, red sauce, aubergine, tofu, red sauce, courgette, red sauce, white sauce and sprinkling of extra parmesan, salt and pepper to finish.
Bake in the oven for around 30 mins or until the top is golden brown and bubbly.
Nb. If you leave this dish to rest out of the oven for 5 minutes it will be easier to slice.
I did a quick look on a calorie counting website and being generous with my ingredients this whole vegetable bake came to 800 calories, 300 of which are from the parmesan but I wouldn’t suggest taking this out, it gives it a lovely flavour and would be a little bland without it.
I quartered my dish into 4 generous portions meaning that they would be roughly 200 calories or less per portion- delicious, filling and low in calories and fat, what more could you want, go ahead, have seconds even!