01 April 2009

Kale & Quinoa Lasagna with Leek Bechamel

Sometimes you get an idea that you just KNOW is going to work. I had quinoa, leeks and cooked beans in the fridge, won ton wrappers which had reached their expiry date, and the local store had beautiful kale. A match made in heaven with flavors that really work nicely together.

People rave about couscous and I have never understood it. Sure, it is quick to make, but its pretty bland. And, although treated like a grain, it is actually a pasta with nothing nutritional except carbs. Quinoa, on the other hand, is small, easy to cook and has a somewhat similar texture but is loaded nutrients and has great flavor. It isn't a grain either, though. It is a seed. Since both cook like a grain, look like a grain, and can be used like a grain, most cookbooks just put them in the grain section. If you haven't used quinoa, you should. And if you follow the simple instructions following the main recipe, it will come out perfectly every time.

This was basically a throw-together leftover meal for me, but I do realize that most people aren't going to have the ingredients cooked and waiting in the fridge. So, the cooking instructions for the individual items will follow the main recipe.

Kale & Quinoa Lasagna with Leek Bechamel
Serves 6-8

1 bunch fresh kale
salt to taste
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
2-3 c leek&onion broth
3 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs flour
3 c cooked quinoa
3 c cooked beans (approx 2 cans, drained and rinsed if you use canned)
4 oz grated Cheesly or other vegan cheese
1 pack wonton wrappers (See important note following ingredients)

(Note: the wonton wrappers I used were not vegan. Vegans should use a thin vegan pasta )

Preheat oven to 400F.

Wash and coarsely chop the kale. Cook in a pressure cooker with 1 cup of water for about 10 minutes at 10 pounds pressure or until very soft. Add vinegar, lightly salt, toss and set aside to cool slightly.

In a 2 qt saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to cook for about 30-45 seconds. Whisk in the onion broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer briefly until the sauce thickens.

Using a 9x13 lasagna pan or similar dish, spread several Tbs of the bechamel on the bottom, and spread it out.

Put one layer of pasta sheets over the sauce.

Add 1/2 of the quinoa and spread it around. (Note: it is best to keep the quinoa about a half inch from the edge of the pan to keep it from getting too dry and crunchy in the oven)

Add 1/3 of the beans and spread them around evenly.

Add another layer of pasta sheets. Spread a few Tbs of bechamel over the pasta.
Layer the kale evenly into the dish.
Drizzle a few tablespoons of sauce over the kale.
Top with another layer of pasta sheets.
Add the remainder of the quinoa and spread evenly.
Add the remaining beans and spread evenly.
Add another layer of pasta sheets.
Pour the remaining bechamel over the top and spread evenly.
Spread the grated cheese evenly over the top.
Bake for 30 minutes.

Let the lasagna stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

Basic Quinoa

1 1/2 c quinoa
2 c water
1 stock cube

Put a 2 qt saucepan with lid heating over a medium low flame.
Rinse the quinoa in a bowl of warm water and rub it with your hands. Drain it into a strainer and rinse again. Add the quinoa to the dry saucepan and stir a few minutes until the quinoa is dry and starts smelling toasted. Add the water and stock cube, raise heat and bring to a boil. Immediately lower the heat, cover and simmer as low as possible for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let quinoa sit for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

Leek & Onion Broth

Washed green tops from 2-3 leeks
1 yellow onion chopped coarsely
4-5 cloves of garlic, unpeeled

Add all ingredients into a pressure cooker with 8 cups of water. Pressure cook for 20-30 minutes. Strain liquid into a saucepan and boil 15-20 minutes until the liquid is reduced to about half (around 2-3 cups). Set aside to cool.

Smoky Beans

1 c Yellow Woman or pinto dried beans, soaked overnight
4 c water
2 tsp Bacon Salt, hickory flavor
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp sea salt

Pressure cook at 10 pounds for about 18 minutes. Release pressure and add sea salt. Stir and set aside. Drain before using for lasagna.

revised 25-10-09

No comments:

Post a Comment