So, I adapted this recipe so that my ingredients were zoned, and its originally from the Hairy Biker’s Skinny Beef Lasagne on BBC. The Dieting Hairy Bikers are awesome because they take all your favourite recipes and put a less-calorific twist on things. Its very clever, so, instead of using pasta sheets, they used leeks! Leeks, when sliced, roll out into long sheets. This is PERFECT for me, because anyone who has heard me talk about pasta, knows that I react to it like its crack. I can’t just have one bowl and if I have it in the house, I have to finish it all!! So, this is a really great hack, and takes the same amount of time as using regular pasta sheets.
Pasta is also an unfavourable carb, but anything can be zoned! But 1/4 cup of pasta equates to one block of carbs, which, lets be honest, is like one lasagne sheet, which for my total block allocation, doesn’t work! But, if you are a large male who has loads of blocks to play around with – go ahead and make regular lasagne!
Right, so I’m getting into the habit of prepping all my blocks with my block chart (available on the CrossFit journal website) next to me, along with my scales, measuring cups, and a pad of paper.
Because I based this off an existing recipe, it was easy to adapt it by looking at the original quantities and how many servings it yielded. I cut everything in half for my lasagne, because I’m just baking enough for me. Feel free to increase quantities.
This time round, I started off with my PROTEIN BLOCKS, because I knew how much mince I would have (250g or 9 blocks) and how much cheese I would need (2oz cheddar and 1 oz parmesan, which is 3 blocks ), which gave me 12 blocks in total. For a recap on what blocks are, read my zone blog post, or check out anything Barry Sears has written on the Zone Diet.
From there, I accumulated 12 blocks of carbs. In this case using: tinned tomatoes/passata (5 blocks), an abnormally large leek (2 blocks), 1 1/2 cups (raw) onions (2 blocks), 3 cups (raw) mushrooms (1 block), 1 cup chopped (raw) carrots (2 blocks). I’m specifying that these are the raw quantities, as the cooked quantities are obviously smaller (most stuff shrinks when it cooks, duh). Also, my intention was to include olives in this, but I forgot to add them in. My bad.
After my prep, I cooked! I started off my dry-frying my lean mince, as opposed to oil in the pan, just because lots of lovely juices get released and my veg can cook in that, rather than adding loads of oil to the pan. I recommend using something non-stick if you are dry-frying.
After the mince has started changing colour a bit, I add all my lovely veggies in and let them cook until the onions are soft, and the mince is really brown.
Three cups of mushrooms is quite a lot! So, I added these in after my veg had cooked down to save on pan space. If you have a large saucepan, wok, or frying pan – use that.
Let everything cook before adding-in your beef stock. I also think this combination of food could also be the good basis for a shepherd’s pie, a chilli, or even just a stir-fried bowl of mince and veg!
I used regular store-bought stock, but if you want to, use a home-made paleo stock (made simply by boiling animal bones).
Once that has absorbed, add your passata or tinned tomatoes. Let that simmer for about half an hour while you work on your leek sheets.
Boil a saucepan of water, and pop your leek sheets into there. My baking dish was very small, so I only used one leek, and I probably should have used two because I didn’t really have enough to cover my ragu sauce. I also made a white sauce by mixing a tablespoon of flour and milk together, and infused the milk mixture with onion wedges, like in the hairy bikers recipe. (Yes, I know they use cornflour, but I didn’t have any, so I improvised).
You only want to boil the leeks for around five minutes. This is a good time to preheat your oven to 200C. I put some paper towels on a chopping board, drained my leeks, and laid them out flat. Beware, they will be hot! Then I started layering my lasagne up. Mince mixture, leek sheets, mince mixture, leek sheets etc, until you reach your last layer of leeks.
Top that with your white sauce and your cheese!
Bake for about 30 mins or until bubbly and golden! Let it sit and cool. Use a very sharp knife and plate up! I had four 3-block portions. Add fat when you serve. I personally added 9 almonds (3 Fat Blocks) after I ate this. I hope you enjoy this – it was super tasty, and follows the exact same method as a regular lasagne. I’ve done all the zone maths for you, so it should be easy enough!
For Lasagne filling:
-250g (~9oz) lean mince meat
-60g (~2oz) grated cheddar cheese
– 27g (~1oz) grated parmesan cheese
– 2 cups diced white onions
– 3 cups chopped mushrooms
– 1 cups diced carrots
-1 large leek (increase to 2 leeks for safety)
– 1 box of passata or tinned tomatoes (~400g)
– 1 clove of garlic, crushed
– 1 beef stock cube in 200ml water
For white sauce:
– 200ml semi-skimmed milk
-2 tbsp flour
1. Prep your leeks. Chop the green stalky ends off and discard. Cut your leek lengthwise, to the middle, not all the way through, so that you can separate your rolls of “lasagne sheet” out. Anything that is too short to use, chop and add in with your onions and garlic.
2. Brown your mince meat in a large saute pan, wok, frying pan – whatever you have!
3. Add in chopped onions, leeks and garlic, mushrooms, and carrots. Ingredient by ingredient if need be to save space in your pan.
4. Add beef stock, stirring until absorbed by your veg. [Trick – you can add one tbsp of flour to thicken this up]
5. Add your passata or tinned tomatoes. Bring the heat down to a simmer and stir occasionally.
6. Preheat your oven to 200C, and then bring some water to a boil in a saucepan, and add your lasagne sheets to this. (Approx 5 mins or until they are soft)
7. Take 1-2 tbsp of your milk and mix with your 2 tbsp of flour. On a low heat, heat the rest of your milk in a pan.
8. Drain your leeks and flatten them out on a clean tea towel or some paper towels.
9. Add your milk and flour mixture to your milk-in-a-pan. Keep stirring until this is nice and thick. Once desired thickness is achieved, take it off the heat and begin to assemble your lasagne.
10. In a baking dish, spread a layer of mince meat, leeks, mince meat, leeks etc until you run out of leeks. Add a layer of your white sauce.
11. Mix your cheddar and parmesan cheese together, and layer on top of your lasagne.
12. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Remove and let your lasagne cool.