Healthy Grilled Butternut Lasagna (Veggie Friendly)
It’s autumn and the world wide web is flooded with pumpkin recipes! However I’m afraid most of you might get tired of these pumpkin recipes I still think I need to share another one! Why? Simply because I believe this dish is one of the best vegetable based recipes I’ve ever made. I’d dare to say more: “The minced chicken I used could easily be left aside and you wouldn’t even notice it’s missing. The grilled Butternut Pumpkin is the actual star in this recipe! But there’s more. It’s a very healthy recipe and the best part again: “You will never notice it is!”
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In most parts of the world pumpkin is a common ingredient. In Europe however pumpkin has been a relatively unknown and often neglected ingredient. Yet I believe it’s a superb ingredient to work with. Especially when grilled the butternut squash gets a full refined taste that could easily replace some meat (Hint for the vegetarian lovers). This “Grilled Butternut Lasagna” even holds some secret ingredients that make this meal unforgettable. Find out down below.
Grilled Butternut Lasagna
Last year my wife suggested to make some Grilled Mac and Pumpkin based on a recipe she read at the dutch blog Chicks Love Food. The result was simply delicious yet it never got published and now my pictures are lost. While looking for some new projects to try the idea to make it again came up. Mostly it’s me looking to try out some new stuff but this time it was my wife who convinced me to try something different. I almost insisted to do the “Mac and Pumpkin” again since I loved it but she convinced me into making something completely new based on that idea. Now we can proudly present you this “Grilled Butternut Lasagna”.
Better than Bechamel Sauce
Those interested in healthy food might be happy to see this version is almost completely made of vegetables. No heavy based Bechamel sauce in this Lasagna! The sauce we normally use in the “Mac and Pumpkin” was used in this recipe to replace the Bechamel Sauce. For those who aren’t interested in the health part I hope you’re still reading because it’s not only better for your health but most important I truly believe it’s an improvement for this meal.
Do you really need to go outside?
If you’re not a BBQ addict like some of us I might hear you think: “Do I really need to grill the Pumpkin?” Since you’re on a BBQ blog I guess you already now what my answer would be. Yet I can imagine grilling in winter times can be a bit scary for those who are not familiar to BBQ. First of all I need to say you should really try to confront the cold and light a fire! You won’t believe how cozy it feels to warm up around the fire when you’re preparing the meal out in the cold! Plus the best part for me comes with the scents coming out of the BBQ that get intensified by the cold foggy air.
But most of all: “You will be amazed by the intense taste the pumpkin gets when grilled. The woodsmoke actually complements the sweet pumpkin with a nice deep flavor. If you really look up against the outdoor cooking or you live on an appartment you can make this recipe in an oven too (actually every recipe over here) but you will miss the deep roasted flavors that bring this meal to life.
More secret ingredients you say?
Yes there’s even more magic to this recipe! The other secret ingredients in this recipe are time and patience! You might be confused now by me mentioning time and patience as ingredients but I’m not kidding at all! Both elements will make the tomato sauce in this recipe te best you’ve ever had. By slow roasting the ingredients, especially the tomatoes, for about an hour on a low heat BBQ the flavor of the vegetables will develop to greatness without losing it’s purity. Barely no extra ingredients are needed to make this sauce one of the most interesting you’ve ever had. Why? Slow roasting the vegetables will gradually lead to the caramelization of the sugars they contain which will lead to a naturally sweetened tomato sauce.
What’s your opinion on outdoor cooking in winter time? I’d like to read your experiences and reasons to keep the flame burning (connect on FB or Twitter and join the talk). So we can all spread the passion for cooking on fire! And while we are in the spreading mood, why not sharing this recipe with you’re cooking friends?
- 1 eggplant sliced
- 1/2 butternut pumpkin sliced
- Mozzarella cheese
- Tomato sauce (see below)
- Pumpkin sauce (see below)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp. agave syrup
- 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
- freshly chopped sage
- 400 gr. minced chicken
- 2 bunches of cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 onion
- 1/2 shall
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 stall of celery
- 4 carrots
- 400 gr. mushrooms
- 1/3 butternut pumpkin
- 1/2 onion
- 1/2 shallot
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/4 cup milk (+/- depends how smooth you want it to be)
- 70 gr. Whipped Cheese
- Salt and pepper (at taste)
1. Prepare your BBQ for cooking at low temperature (+- 110°C/230°F)
2. Mix through the Marinade ingredients and baste the sliced butternut and eggplant with the Marinade. Use the same Marinade to "oil" your Skillet.
3. Remove the peel and cut the onion and shalot in halves. Put them in the skillet together with the garlic.
4. While the eggplant and butternut slices are marinating you can slowly roast the other vegetables in your BBQ. This will take about 1 - 1,5 hrs. Remember time and patience will lead to a better result.
5. After you've slow roasted the tomato sauce vegetables put them in a dutch oven with a sprinkle of olive oil. Put back on the fire until the tomatoes (you have easily peeled now) and the other vegetables form a delicious tomato sauce. Season at taste.
1. Increase the heat of your BBQ to high heat (+- 230°C/450°F or more). Use direct fire.
2. Grill the marinated butternut slices until they're slightly charred (#Flavor)
3. Mix 1/3th of the butternut slices with the onion, shallot, garlic milk and whipped cheese until you end up with a silky thick sauce. Season at taste.
1. Grill the eggplant until you have some nice grill marks.
2. Take a skillet and make a layered lasagna. Start with a layer butternut sauce (to prevent burning), add slices of charred butternut, tomato sauce, pumpkin sauce, eggplant, pumpkin sauce, tomato sauce and another layer of grilled butternut. Finish with grated mozzarella.
3. Put the lasagna back in your BBQ for about ten minutes until the cheese is molten.
Have a good meal!