It’s that time of year again when the most amazing organic English asparagus is arriving weekly in my veg box. As beautiful as this vegetable is just plainly cooked with a little salt and perhaps a drizzle of olive oil, I love to make something special with it.
Watercress is a leaf I struggle to eat raw as a salad, it has a smell that I find unappealing but since it is a nutritional powerhouse, I find ways to incorporate it into my diet. In it’s raw form, this is via smoothies. I freeze the washed and dried leaves and break off portions as I need them and add to my smoothies where the flavour is mild and masked by delicious fruits. Cooked, I enjoy it stirred into pastas, curries and whirred into creamy sauces as in this recipe, which would also be delicious stirred into pasta or poured over potatoes or other veggies and baked.
Watercress is incredibly high in calcium, beta-carotene and Vitamin A. Gram for gram, watercress contains more vitamin C than oranges, more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach and more folate than bananas.
Ingredients: Serves 6
- 1 bunch thin asparagus
- 1 large leek
- 2 large courgettes
- 1 cup cashew nuts, soaked if you don’t have a power blender
- 1 tsp sea salt and ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp rice protein powder
- A few drops truffle oil (optional)
- 1 bunch watercress
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 tbsp chia protein powder
- 500g dried egg-free lasagne sheets (gluten free if necessary)
- 3 cups (2 x 400g cans) ratatouille
- 2 cups tomato pasta sauce or herbed passata
- 2 large tomatoes
- Heat a dry grill pan over a medium high heat. Prepare the vegetables – holding the asparagus at each end, bend the stem which will break off the tough, woody ends. Slice the courgette from top to bottom in 1/2 cm strips. Halve the leek from top to bottom, wash well and then cut into 4 chunks. Add the vegetables, in batches to the hot pan to slightly char then set aside.
- Add 2/3 cup cashews, half the salt and pepper, nutmeg, onion powder, rice protein powder, 2 cups of filtered water and the truffle oil (if using) to the jug of a high speed blender and blend until very smooth and creamy. Pour into a jug and set aside.
- Then, without need to clean the blender, add the watercress, garlic, 1/3 cup cashews, 1 cup filtered water, half the salt and pepper and the chia powder to the jug and blend until completely smooth.
- Preheat the oven to 180’C/350’F and take a large rectangular baking dish. Layer the lasagne, watercress cream, lasagne, half the ratatouille, half the vegetables, watercress cream, then repeat saving 4 or 5 asparagus tips to one side. Then a final layer of lasagne sheets, the passata and the truffle cream. Top with the sliced tomatoes and reserved asparagus, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and the lasagne gives to a knife.