Have you ever been lost for words to describe how something tasted? Well! This spinach lasagna did that to me; there was so much going on “taste wise” as I ate. Similarly to how an artist uses pastel colours with hints and tinges, there was a hint of this flavour and a tinge that seasoning, that danced together in my mouth. The meal was absolutely fabulous; I felt satisfied, but not over full and, strange as it may seem, I didn’t even miss meat.
For those of you who have been reading this blog for some time, you will certainly know that I am a certified “meat mouth” so this may come as a surprise. But you just have to try it and you’ll see, rather taste, what I’m talking about.
Two Types of Spinach
There are many plants that we call spinach or bhaji, as I have explained in a previous post but the one commonly used for this dish is the Amaranth (Amaranthus Spinosus). I believe some people also call it chorai bhaji here in Trinidad. The young leaves of this plant really cooks well so much so that we use it in bhaji, soups or sometimes in callaloo together with dasheen bush. The Amaranth is quite a hardy plant and grows in conditions that other plants may die quickly; like concrete or very dry soil.
Planting and Cultivating
Planting it, based on my experience, is also easy. The tiny seeds are shaken in the area where you want it to grow and you don’t even have to prepare the soil. In a few weeks thereafter, you will see the healthy seedlings growing at a pace that soon overgrows the area.
If you want you could add some organic fertilizer or 13:13:20 to help the plants grow healthier. Then every few weeks or so you just pass by with a knife and cut the young heads and make rice and bhaji or eat it with bake or in a pastry (spinach patty) the list goes on ….or as in toady’s post you could also make spinach lasagna. Or if you have a lot you can sell some at $6.00 a bundle (see! I’m showing you how to make some money at the side also! ) LOL!!!
Benefits and Uses
After doing some reading about this plant, there is a lot of info I found that proves how beneficial this plant is nutritionally and medically that you can read about here. In some countries it is even used in making a red dye. But it is sometimes treated as a weed; commonly known as pig weed in the USA. Anyhow I’m sure there may be people that know about the plant and use it in meals, possibly in a similar way. OK! OK! I realise that I’m talking too much; recipe time now. So without further ado here’s Spinach Lasagna.
P.S. Do you have an exciting recipe that you use amaranth in? I would like to hear about it.
Trini Spinach Lasagna Recipe
Trini SPINACH LASAGNA
1 pack of lasagna pasta
1 bundle of spinach (bhagi)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons oil for sautéing the spinach
1½ pounds cheddar cheese, grated
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour, all purpose
1 cup milk
½ cup chunky tomato sauce (optional)
Wash and clean the spinach.
Sauté the garlic and onion in a deep pot.
Add the spinach (bhagi) to the pot, mix and allow to cook until the leaves are soft.
Make the white sauce. Over a low flame, melt the butter, stir in the flour, and add the milk. Mix, preferably with a fork to ensure that the flour don’t lump together. Continue to boil until the milk gets thick. Remove immediately from the flame.
Boil the pasta. Drain when cooked and set aside to cool.
Grease the dish and line it with the pasta. Add the white sauce (if you are placing tomato sauce, then add it now), layer the spinach, then the cheese, and then another layer of pasta. Continue when done.
Note: you will have about three layers when done.
You may still have some spinach, this can be placed on the top as well before the last layer of cheese. Bake for 40 minutes at 250 degrees F.
The finished Spinach Lasagna. Allow to cool before serving.
Well that’s it for another enjoyable post. Before I go; I just want to extend an invitation to all who read these blog posts, to join my newly formed group over at Facebook. You can click on the icon at the top or just do a search for Simply Trini Cooking in Facebook. It’s open to everyone and you can post pictures of any of the recipes you have tried etc., discuss anything, chat or meet other foodies just like me.
OK!OK! Ah gone now. Bye!