It is simple.
Homemade lasagna tastes the best. There are no ifs or buts.
It tastes nothing like the ones that you might get from your local pub or restaurant and it certainly beats the ones that you can grab from the frozen aisle!
If you’ve never attempted to make lasagna before or have just never found the right recipe then you’ve come to the right place.
This recipe brings together all that is good in life: tender noodles, tasty chicken, cheesy goodness and lots of nutritious vegetables that you usually would never find in a lasagna recipe.
This one is perfect for a night in with the family, dinner parties AND perfect for toddlers and kids who will definitely be asking you for more!
These adorable plates featured above come from ecorascals.com
I personally prefer to use the fresh lasagna noodles that you will find in the fridge section of your local grocer, however this recipe works just as well with dry noodles too. Just be sure to soak your dry lasagna noodles in some hot water while you prepare the other ingredients so that they will finish cooking when placed in the oven later on.
If you happen to have fresh tomatoes hanging around then by all means use those, although I have tried this recipe with both fresh and canned tomatoes and I much prefer the canned version. The overall dish came out more decadent and had a more concentrated tomato flavour which is uber important in this recipe. If you do decide to go with fresh tomatoes then just be sure to add a few tablespoons of tomato paste to amp up the tomatoey goodness!
Lets talk cheese. I use a mixture of cheddar and Mexican pre shredded cheese. I find that it is the tastiest yet cheapest one on the market and so I’m happy with that. Of course if you have the real stuff that you can grate yourself then go for it! Whatever one you choose just be sure to be extra generous!
As for the meat … I know traditionally lasagna calls for beef mince and you can absolutly substitute for that! I however went for the chicken mince because my Mum does not consume beef. A mix of lamb and beef would also be a great one to try out, OR if you are plant based then just use your favorite plant based mince, lentils or tempeh.
I must also mention that this is an excellent recipe to freeze for those lazy nights. Just double the recipe and place your lasagna portions in a reusable container and when you’re ready to eat just pop it in the microwave or oven for a few minutes and BAM dinner is served ultra quick!
Now that all that is out of the way lets get on with the recipe!
Ultimate Chicken Lasagna
For the meat sauce:
- 500g of chicken mince
- 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 small brown onions or 1 large brown onion, finely chopped
- 2 small bay leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of mixed herbs
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cans of tomato sauce, ( can be flavored with herbs and vegetables or plain )
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
For the bechamel sauce:
- 2 tablespoons of plain flour
- 300ml of thickened cream
- 1 cup of whole fat milk
- 3 to 4 tablespoons of butter
- 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
For the vegetable filling:
- 400 grams of mushrooms, sliced
- minimum of 150 grams of baby spinach as it will wilt away to nothing
- * feel free to add whatever vegetables you prefer, peas and asparagus would also be a nice addition to this recipe.
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Heat a large non stick pan on high and add your 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add in your minced chicken and use a spoon to break it into small pieces. Continue cooking until meat is well browned and then add in the brown onions, garlic and cook until fragrant.
2. Stir in the mixed herbs, bay leaves, salt and pepper and then pour in the two cans of tomato sauce and mix until well combined. Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir occasionally.
3. Meanwhile fry up your mushrooms and baby spinach in a separate skillet until the mushrooms are golden and the baby spinach has wilted. Remove from the heat and transfer to a plate.
4. In a small pot with high sides add the butter to make the bechamel sauce. Once the butter has melted add in 2 tablespoons of plain flour and stir using a wooden spoon or spatula until combined. Make sure to have the heat on medium at this point so you don’t burn the bottom of the pot. Pour in the cream and milk and continue to let simmer and stir continuously until the mixture is velvety and has thickened nicely. Add in your seasonings and then remove from the heat.
5. To assemble place a few big dollops of the meat sauce into a deep lasagna pan and spread evenly. Place the noodles on top of the meat sauce. Overlap and tear the noodles wherever necessary. Spread a decent amount of bechamel sauce on top of the noodles and then add your mushrooms and baby spinach on that.
6. Repeat until you have used up all components of the lasagna and then sprinkle the shredded cheese mixture on top of your last layer, ( this should be the meat sauce ).
7. Place a large piece of aluminium foil over top of the lasagna dish and place into the oven. Depending on the heat of your oven it should take no more than 30 minutes to be bubbly and hot. Remove the aluminium foil for the last 10 minutes so that the cheese can get golden and melty.
8. Once you remove the lasagna from the oven, be sure to let it rest for 15 minutes otherwise it will not hold its shape and ooze out everywhere when you try to slice it, ( which is exactly what happened to me ).
Cut yourself a generous slice and serve alongside a simple salad or some garlic bread. Bon appetit!!!
I hope you guys try this recipe and be sure to tag me on instagram and let me know what you think of it! If you want more recipes then let me know down below and don’t forget to subscribe and share!
Until next time I hope you’re all staying safe and sane and I’ll see you guys on my next blog post!
Love Jessica Cairney.