I love a lasagne with all the cheesy joy and the hearty herb flavours running through the tomato sauce base but over the years my use of cheese has become a little excessive; the cheese sauce is more just like melted cheese and the amount that gets grated on top becomes one terribly oily puddle as it cooks.
Whilst being a certain weight or a certain size isn’t something that I give too hoots about I am all about enjoying comforting food that is tasty but not excessively bad for me. Sure, there are times when nothing other than cheese on cheese with a side of cheese is going to hit the spot and that is more than okay too.
There was a time, five years ago or longer, when I used to go to Slimming World and we talked about tips and tricks to make those calorie heavy meals a little bit better and “syn-free”. That was something that was great for some people but for me it just made a lot of food feel lifeless and rather unloveable.
But a little while ago I found myself with a huge amount of natural yoghurt, a small amount of cheese and some turkey mince and found myself thinking about doing a slightly healthier lasagne. When my mental health is struggling a little bit I either gorge on all of the bad things in view or find myself trying to be that bit healthier to give my brain that extra lift of energy and nutrients against the bad thoughts.
On this particular day I found myself going for the slightly healthier option of one of my top comfort foods. It was a risk but it was one that I was surprisingly willing to take and it did not turn out too badly though the yoghurt mixture could have done with additional seasoning or perhaps some yeast extract to give the impression of cheese but the dish felt light, fresh and gave me that psychological impression of healthy and nutritious that I was needing in that moment.
The end result served up certainly looked like a normal lasagne but it did have a lot more liquid content going from the yoghurt into the tomato sauce layer rather than it being a thick and structurally sound construction. Looking at it from the serving container it was obvious this was no ordinary lasagne and I can imagine that putting a few people off.
This is not simply replacing a cheese sauce with natural yoghurt however. The yoghurt needs to be mixed with a beaten egg to help bind it together and give it a little bit more of a glossy sauce look after cooking. I used approximately one egg to 250g of natural yoghurt but this does not need to be perfectly precise. Inside the mixture you also need to add seasoning and any spices or herbs that you may want to run through it to compliment any flavours within the meat/tomato sauce layers as well as this will give it an added boost rather than it simply being creamy and replacing a white sauce of a lasagne.
This is not something I would consider doing every time lasagne comes to mind but it does make a nice little change sometimes and is something that I would be more likely to lean towards in the summer as a dish to go with a salad.