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Vegetarian Cabbage Lasagne image

Vegetarian Cabbage Lasagne

Vegetarian cabbage lasagne can be as tasty as the original, but without the carbs. Cabbage turns out to be a good substitute for the layers of pasta.

A tasty, filling tomato sauce inspired by Puttanesca will turn this dish into a pleasant surprise!

Trying to follow a Keto diet, sometimes I get a real craving for pastas. But pastas are loaded with carbohydrates and therefore not at all appropriate for this particular diet.

Along comes the humble cabbage. For this recipe I prefer to use Chinese cabbage (sometimes called Napa cabbage), as it is more tender than other types of white cabbage. For two, use most of one whole cabbage.

Start with the tomato sauce

Prepping for the Tomato sauce

Of course, you could make a tomato sauce many different ways. Today's tomato sauce needs to be really filling in the absence of calories from the pasta, so I chose Puttanesca as a starting point and added some extra ingredients. This version consists of imitation ground beef (Beyond Meat or any alternative), white onions, red bell peppers, sliced green olives, anchovies, capers, chilis, tomato paste and tomato pulp. 

Start frying the onion and anchovies with some olive oil until the onion becomes translucent. You will see the anchovies disintegrate quickly (don't worry, the sauce won't taste fishy at all). Add the chopped bell pepper and fry for a few minutes. Now add the imitation ground beef and mix into the mixture. Fry until you see some coloring. Add the garlic, capers and herbs (parsley stalks, a few sprigs of thyme), and the chopped-up green olives, and fry for another minute or two. Add a table spoon of tomato paste and fry off the acidity. Now add the canned tomato.

I prefer my tomato sauce to be a bit spicy in combination with the cabbage, so at this point I add some sliced-up chilis as well. Season with freshly ground black pepper and salt.

Simmer for 20 minutes or longer, until all flavors have merges.

Layering the Lasagne

Layering the Lasagne

Carefully unfold the cabbage leaves. Cut out the tough centers. Dip into boiling water for a few seconds to make the leaves more flexible (when using other types of cabbage, extend the blanching time to two or three minutes).

Take an oven dish and grease with some olive oil. Spread a layer of cabbage, cover with tomato sauce; repeat until done. Top with some cheese (use a cheese with stronger taste, otherwise the effect will be overwhelmed by the other ingredients). 

Cook for at least 40 minutes at 160º Celsius (320º Fahrenheit). Make sure the cheese starts to color nicely, using the grill toward the end if necessary.

While the lasagne is in the oven, blanche the basil for a few seconds in boiling water. After drying the herb on a piece of kitchen paper or a towel, mix with some extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper (use a pestle and mortar, if you own one). Spread the mixture on top for added flavor and return the dish to the oven for a another few minutes.