It’s a wonderful feeling to bite into a lasagne – and know that it’s gluten-free and dairy-free! This is a vegetarian one made with earthy sweet spinach and pine nuts, with a nutmeg-flavoured cheese sauce and a layer of dairy-free pesto to add zing. Packed with nutrition from the antioxidant-, calcium-, magnesium- and iron-packed spinach and the pine nuts, this is comfort food at its very best.
gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, citrus-free
Serves 4–6 Preparation time 5 minutes Cooking time
- 50g/1¾oz/⅓ cup pine nuts
- 500g/1lb 2oz baby spinach leaves
- 100g/3½oz dairy-free soya cheese, grated
- 8–12 no-pre-cook gluten-free lasagne sheets
- a few basil leaves, torn, to serve
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 250ml/9fl oz/1 cup dairy-free soya milk
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 85g/3oz dairy-free margarine
- 60g/2¼oz/⅓ cup rice flour
- 30g/1oz/⅓ cup gram flour
- 30g/1oz/scant ⅓ cup maize flour
- 1l/35fl oz/4 cups gluten-free and dairy-free vegetable stock
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 300g/10½oz dairy-free soya cheese, grated
- 30g/1oz basil leaves
- 1 heaped tbsp pine nuts
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 25g/1oz dairy-free cheese
- To make the cheese sauce, put the soya milk, onion and bay leaves into a saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Turn the heat down, cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the pesto. Heat a large heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the pine nuts for the pesto and dry-fry until just starting to turn golden. Remove from the heat, remove the pine nuts and divide and leave to one side. (This is made without any oil, because it would be too oily for the lasagne with oil.) Wash the basil and pat dry in a clean kitchen towel. Put the ingredients into a mini-food processor and blend until a paste forms.
- Melt the dairy-free margarine in a large heavy-based saucepan over a low heat. Stir in the flours and gradually stir in the infused milk mixture and then the vegetable stock, stirring all the time. Bring to the boil and stir as it thickens. If it goes lumpy, beat with a whisk until smooth. One the sauce has boiled, stir in the dairy-free cheese, turn the heat down and leave to simmer gently for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. If needed, stir in another 125ml/4fl oz/½ cup stock to make a smooth sauce that is fairly thick but runny. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Wash the spinach thoroughly and put in the frying pan. Cook over a medium heat for 2–3 minutes until the spinach has wilted, stirring occasionally. Put the spinach into a fine sieve and push all the juice out of the leaves with the back of a spoon. Drain the liquid from the pan and return the spinach to the pan. Add the pine nuts and the soya cheese. Season lightly with salt and pepper and mix together.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Spread a third of the cheese sauce over the bottom of a large baking dish. The best shape is a square shape, ideally about 23 x 18cm/9 x 7in size, although I’ve used a circular dish in this picture. Put half of the spinach mixture over the top and cover with a layer of 4–6 lasagne sheets, depending on the size of your dish. Spread the pesto over the top. Layer again with the a third of the cheese sauce, the remaining spinach mixture and 4–6 lasagne sheets. Cover with the remaining cheese sauce, making sure that the cheese sauce covers everything on top.
- Bake for 50–60 minutes, depending on the type of lasagne sheets used, until the cheese sauce is golden brown and the pasta is soft. Sprinkle with basil and serve hot.
Here’s another fantastic recipe from Christine Bailey’s The Top 100 Baby Foods, full of delicious tastes. And it features buckwheat which is a brilliantly useful gluten-free grain (it’s not related to wheat, despite its name). It’s full of B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc, and it’s a low-GI grain that helps keep blood sugar levels steady. With a lovely firm texture when cooked and a nutty taste, you can add it to stir-frys, stews and soups, or add some extra ingredients and use it like rice or couscous.
When you’re starting your baby on food, it’s good to introduce gluten later on in the weaning process because it is harder for little babies to digest and process. So buckwheat is great for the early stages. Once you’re past the first stage of weaning, this is a lovely recipe for babies. (Use olive oil instead of the sesame oil, though, and leave out the sesame seeds, if there’s any possibility of allergy.) Pork is an ideal protein for your baby. It’s naturally low in fat, and a great source of B vitamins that help with the development of your baby’s nervous system, as well as promoting hormonal balance and the production of brain neurotransmitters. And here you’re also adding beta-carotene-rich red pepper and antioxidant-filled spinach, too. Feeding your baby can be very daunting but this nutrient-rich recipe makes it easy. Whizz it into a puree for your baby, or eat it yourselves – you’ll all love it!
About 4 servings for little ones Preparation time 10 minutes Cooking time 30 minutes
- 50g/1¾oz/¼ cup buckwheat
- 125ml/4fl oz/½ cup vegetable stock (without added salt), or water
- 200g/7oz pork fillet, cut into thin strips
- ½ tsp Chinese five spice
- 1 tsp sesame oil (or olive oil if any possibility of nut allergy)
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 4 tbsp apple juice
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional if any possibility of nut allergy)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ red pepper, finely chopped
- 4 tbsp frozen sweetcorn
- 100g/3½oz baby spinach leaves
- Put the buckwheat in a saucepan with the stock. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and keep covered. Put the pork a dish with the five spice, sesame or olive oil, garlic and juice to marinate.
- If using the sesame seeds, heat a non-stick frying pan over a high heat and add the sesame seeds. Toast for 1 minute until golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the pork and marinade. Cook for 2–3 minutes until the meat browns. Add the pepper and cook for a further 3 minutes. Add the sweetcorn and spinach. Cook for 3 minutes until the pork is cooked through. Add the sesame seeds, if using, and buckwheat and heat through.
- Serve hot or pulse in a blender or food processor to make a chunky purée.
This is a brilliant juice, again from Christine Bailey’s Juice Diet. Utterly jammed with protective antioxidants, this is surprisingly delicious – tasting slightly like a juice-version of a gazpacho, with the garlic and tomatoes. You can buy tomato or vegetables juices ready-made in health food shops but this is so simple to make and miles better in terms of nutrients and taste.
Watercress and spinach provide iron and vitamin C for energy and stamina, while the medley of veggies is packed full of protective phytonutrients. Garlic contains powerful detoxifying and immune-boosting compounds, and is a powerful antibiotic, helping to clear infections, especially in the digestive tract, and is an effective decongestant, useful in the relief of cold and cough symptoms. Brilliant for winter-time!
gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soya-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free, citrus-free
Makes enough for 1 person
- 2 celery sticks
- 1 small garlic clove
- 4 tomatoes
- 1 large handful spinach and watercress leaves
- 2 carrots
- Juice all the ingredients and mix well.
Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 107kcal • Protein 5g • Carbohydrates 18.7g [of which sugars 17.1g] • Fat 1.9g
4th and final week of my detox! Peter says my skin is glowing and I’ve now lost 3.5kg. Yippee! I made this vegetable curry today and wanted to share it because it’s incredibly easy, and yet delicious. Again, it’s from Max Tomlinson’s book, Clean Up Your Diet.
gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soya-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free, citrus-free
Preparation time 20 minutes Cooking time 35 minutes Serves 2
- 110g/4oz/½ cup brown rice, rinsed
- 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled and crushed
- 2.5cm/1in root ginger, grated
- ½ red chilli, deseeded and chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp turmeric
- a large pinch cayenne pepper
- 450g/1lb ripe tomatoes
- 300ml/10 fl oz/1¼ cups water
- ½ cauliflower, broken into small florets
- 75g/2½oz green beans, cut into 2.5cm/1in lengths
- a large handful baby spinach leaves
- 9–10 gratings nutmeg
- a small bunch coriander leaves, chopped, to serve
- Put the rice in a saucepan and pour in boiling water. Cook, according to the packet instructions.
- Put the onion and olive oil in a wok or deep frying pan and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and spices and cook gently for a further 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, skin the tomatoes. Cut a cross in the top of each tomato and put in a large heatproof bowl. Pour over enough boiling water to cover and leave for 10 seconds. Remove the tomatoes from the water using a slotted spoon, and peel off the skin when they are cool enough to handle. Discard the seeds and roughly chop the tomato flesh.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and water to the onion mixture. Raise the heat to medium, bring up to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly then transfer to a liquidizer and blitz until smooth.
- Put the cauliflower and sauce in a saucepan over a medium heat. Bring up to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes. Add the beans and cook for a further 3–4 minutes, until the beans are tender. Stir in the spinach and cook for 1 minute, until just wilted. Season with the grated nutmeg.
- Drain any excess water from the rice. Serve the curry on a bed of rice, with the coriander sprinkled over.