Nora’s Mini Moon Ragu and Walnut Pesto Pile Up

How do you get a diverse range of plants in your entire families diet when juggling multiple kids with multiple tastes? There’s only one thing for it – get them to cook the family meal! This recipe is sure to please the entire family, bursting full of diversity and nutritious plants, it’ll leave you all feeling energised, if not a little smug!

In my experience, giving them responsibility to cook a new dish that takes their fancy makes it more desirable for the others to try. They’re naturally far more inclined to eat it, very complimentary to the chef and it makes meal times more of an occasion centred around delicious food and enjoying each others company.

I used to be the kind of parent who hated handing over the reigns to the kids – quite simply because I couldn’t be bothered with the mess. But I have learnt that my children connecting with food and developing healthy habits far outweighs my slight OCD around the mess they create.

In our house when you’re the chef, it’s your job to name the dish – and it can be as crazy as you like. Mini moons is our name for lentils which simply stuck after my eldest made her first ever Dahl. I created this concept in a bid to ensure zero preconceived thoughts – or rejection for the entire meal – were made before tasting!

Nora loves a lasagne, her siblings aren’t so keen but after tasting Nora’s pile up it turns out they do! This recipe might look intense to begin with, but I tend to make a batch of pesto and sunflower cheeze as standard each week which makes compiling this dish super easy and really very quick.

Mini Moon Ragu and Walnut Pesto Pile Up

Vegan, Gluten Free, FODMAP Friendly

Lentil Ragu:

2 sticks of celery, finely diced

1 Leek, green tops only finely diced

1 tsp Coriander Seeds, ground

1 tsp Fennel Seeds, crushed

1 Can Chopped Tomatoes

800ml Vegetable Stock

5 Sun-dried Tomatoes, finely chopped

1 Tin Lentils, washed thoroughly

1 tbsp Miso Paste

1 tsp Dried Mixed Herbs

Pinch Salt

Olive Oil

Lasagne Sheets, gluten free if required

This recipe is super versatile – if running tight on time, you can easily leave out one of the elements. I tend to have both a jar of the pesto and sunflower cheeze in my fridge as standard to make dishes like these quick and easy to compile for nutritious midweek suppers.

Walnut Pesto:

1 Handful of Basil Leaves

1 Cup Walnuts, toasted

2/3 Russian Kale Leaves

1/2 Cup Nutritional Yeast

Lemon Juice

Olive Oil

Sunflower Cheeze:

See full recipe here

Method:

  1. Place all Pesto ingredients except the lemon juice and oil in a food processor and pulse until it reaches a nice coarse texture.
  2. Add the juice of 1/2 a lemon and add the oil gradually until it reaches the perfect pesto consistency. Put to one side whilst preparing the ragu.
  3. Place a pan on a medium heat, add a good glug of oil and fry the celery, leeks, coriander & fennel seeds for a few minutes being careful not to burn them.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, lentils, miso, miseducating herbs and a generous pinch of salt. Reduce the heat and simmer for 35-40mins.
  5. Pre heat the oven to 180º fan assisted.
  6. Compile the Lasagne alternating layers of Lentil Ragu, Lasagne Sheets, Pesto, Lentil Ragu, Lasagne Sheets, Sunflower Cheeze, etc. and finish with a sprinkling of Parmesan (or a vegan alternative)
  7. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes until browned.
  8. Serve and enjoy with a delicious, crisp green salad.

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