Spinach Ricotta and Pine Nut Lasagne
Lets talk about .... Spinach
Spinach is great versatile vegetable for the whole family.
It's dark green colour indicates that they (like other green leafy vegetables) are packed with health boosting carotenoids: beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. There is scientific evidence that these phytochemicals improve the immune system, eye health and skin. Green leafy vegetables are also a good source of iron and folate which play an essential role at maintaining a healthy immune system and are particularly important at making a protein called haemoglobin which transports oxygen around the body via red blood cells.
There are two forms of dietary iron; "haem and "non-haem" iron. Haem iron is found in animal sources and is absorbed more efficiently the body than non-haem iron. Non-haem iron comes from plant sources. Vegetarians and vegans, and those with higher iron requirements are enoucrged to include green leafy vegetables regularly as part of a balanced diet.
Iron absorption is enhanced and improved when combined with vitamin C. Here are some ideas on how you can combine an iron rich meal with vitamin C.
drink with a glass of pure unsweetened orange juice (watered down 50% juice 50% water for toddlers) with the meal
include a salad containing good sources of vitamin C, such as tomatoes and peppers
fresh fruit as a dessert. Good sources of vitamin C include oranges, lemons, strawberries, blackcurrants, blueberries
Iron food fact Sheet, British Dietetic Association. [Accessed 29.7.20]
The Doctors Kitchen; Eating for Your Eyes with Dr Rudrani Banik. Podcast. [Accessed 28.7.20]
Spinach Ricotta and Pine Nut Lasagne Recipe
My daughter ate all of her lasagne portion and the rest of the family had second helpings .... it was so goooood!
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
850ml full fat cows milk or dairy free alternative
50g butter or dairy free alternative
50g plain flour
600g baby spinach leaves, stalks removed
12 lasagne sheets
50g pine nuts
knob of butter
100g feta cheese
200g mozzarella, roughly chopped
1. Place milk, butter and flour in a saucepan and whisk continuously over a medium heat until it has reached simmering point and has thickened
2. Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan
3. Melt butter in a large saucepan and add spinach leaves, cook for about 3 minutes until the leaves are tender. Allow to cool and chop finely.
4. Mix spinach, ricotta and about 10 tbsp of the sauce in a bowl and add the crumbled feta cheese
5. Dry fry the pine nuts in a frying pan over a medium heat and toss until they are golden in colour then remove from the pan
6. Using a casserole dish; spread one quarter of the sauce on the bottom, then a third of the spinach ricotta mix and half of the pine nuts, add a layer of lasagne sheets, repeat the process two more times finishing with a layer of pasta, the rest of the sauce and the remaining parmesan, mozzarella and remaining pine nuts
7. To cook the lasagne: preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and bake for 50 - 60 minutes until the top is golden in colour and bubbling
8. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving