The colder nights are settling in and it’s about time to pull out the sweater, heater and extra blankie. Meal times are also the perfect place to warm up from the inside out with steamy hot casseroles and soups (mmmm… ). Try this stack of yum, packed with almost all your daily veggie serves (seriously?!) and half your fibre intake for the day so that you can simply tuck in and enjoy the cosy night!
A+ for orange veggies (and fruits)
Yes, winter is coming – and so is the cold and flu season. Vitamin A is crucial for an steel immune system as well as for all-season skin care (but especially the harsh dryness of winter) – oh, and that all-important night vision, right?
Oddly enough, our body CANNOT make vitamin A, so we try to absorb it from the foods that we eat. Orange veggies like orange sweet potato, pumpkin and carrots are powerhouses of carotenoids like beta-carotene, which our bodies can transform into the must-have vitamin A.
Heat it up!
Cooking orange veggies actually boosts how much carotenoids our bodies can absorb from them, so hold up on the raw carrot sticks! Stick them in the microwave for a few seconds or steam them before serving up. Teaming up orange veggies with healthy fats like salmon, avocado and even hummus can also bolster the absorption of carotenoids.
Continue the series of winter warmers at your place with these baked dinners:
Costs: $15.90 ($4.00 per serve)
Cooking time: 30 mins
- 400g sweet potato, scrubbed clean, roughly cut
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 clove garlic, crushed
- 400g lean beef mince (5-star)
- 800g canned diced tomatoes
- 3 sheets fresh lasagne sheets (see Notes)
- 3 medium carrots, grated
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese or low fat ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan or tasty cheddar
- Black pepper, to season (optional)
- Fresh parsley, chopped, to serve (optional)
Let’s get cooking:
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Spray a large casserole dish with cooking oil.
- Steam or microwave sweet potato for about 5-8 minutes are until soft. Roughly mash, leaving lumps and season with black pepper. Set aside, covered to keep warm.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir until fragrant. Add mince, use a wooden spoon to break up the mince into small pieces and cook until browned. Stir in tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes until heated through. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
- Spread all the sweet potato on the base of the prepared casserole dish. Spread half the mince mixture, half the carrot and all of the baby spinach. Reserve a few tablespoons of the remaining carrot and repeat with layers of the remaining mince and carrot. Place lasagne sheets over filling layers, tearing to fit the dish and pressing down slightly. Mix reserved carrot with the cottage cheese and spread over the sheets. Sprinkle all the parmesan over the top.
- Bake for 20 minutes and cheese on top has melted. Serve with fresh parsley, if using.
- Instead of microwaving the sweet potato, you can roast them in your prepared casserole dish – this will take around 30 minutes. Meanwhile, you can prepare the mince mixture and start layering straight after the orange spuds are baked.
- Ingredient swaps: You can easily swap the layers with any of your favourite veggies – try pumpkin mash instead of sweet potato, and add sliced zucchinis, mushrooms and roasted capsicum.
- No lasagne sheets? Grab 3-4 mountain bread wraps or Lebanese bread. Even better, use Barleymax wholemeal wraps – they’re higher in fibre, lower in carbs and salt while still having similar protein content!
- For a vegetarian stack, you can swap the beef for a 400g can of cooked lentils. There are also commercial vegetarian and vegan mince packs that you can use instead of the beef (e.g. Quorn mince, in the freeze section of supermarkets).
One serve provides over 4 serves of veggies and almost 3 times your daily vitamin A requirement!
|Total fat (g)||14.3|
|– Saturated fat (g)||5.4|
|– Sugars (g)||17.8|
Recipe inspiration by the Australian Healthy Food Guide