Those cheesy meaty layers are hard to beat, but here’s a few interesting ingredients to snap you out of cooking autopilot

Lasagne is such a versatile dish and can stand up as a grown-up dinner party meal as well as a midweek family favourite. Although the component parts take a little time and effort (unless you cheat with a ready-made béchamel sauce!), it’s easy to make ahead and even freezes well. Try throwing one of our suggested extra ingredients into the mix for a tasty change.

 

1. Lasagne with peppers and courgettes

Chopped peppers and diced courgettes, cooked down slowly into a rich, tomatoey meat sauce, will give this robust dish an even more Italian flavour. Why not throw in some oregano or dried Italian seasoning at the same time for an intense herby flavour? Use mozzarella to top the dish before cooking, then sprinkle with torn basil leaves to serve.

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Peppers and courgettes

 

2. Lasagne with brown sauce

The fruity, vinegary notes of brown sauce can transform a plain lasagne into a more tangy, piquant dish. Add a good slug of the sauce – perhaps with a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce too – in flavour of a stock cube when making your meat sauce and see if your diners can identify the twist.

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3. Lasagne with chorizo

This spicy Spanish sausage has risen in popularity in recent years and it gives a lovely smoky depth of flavour to a lasagne. Throw in a few roughly-chopped slices into the mince and sprinkle a few on top to go nice and crispy in the oven. Yum.

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lasagne

 

4. Lasagne with spinach

Spinach added to lasagne between each layer of meat sauce and pasta is a great way to get the kids to eat their greens. It adds a peppery note and a deep green colour throughout the dish – and it’s an excellent source of iron too. There’s no need to cook it beforehand, but do rinse and drain it if it isn’t pre-washed. You could use frozen spinach instead, but make sure your meat sauce is thicker than usual as this will leach some water during the cooking.

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5. Lasagne with mint sauce

Although mint sauce might be a very unexpected twist to a beef lasagne, if you use lamb mince to make the dish it works really well. It gives a delicious tang that complements lamb beautifully – and you won’t need anything else other than the rich tomato sauce with the meat. Stir a few teaspoons into your meat sauce before starting to layer the dish up.

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6. Lasagne with chilli

Follow your favourite chilli con carne recipe, leaving out the kidney beans, and use the mix to layer up your dish. You can add fresh, chopped, deseeded red chillies to taste, or a teaspoon from a jar of fresh chilli paste or ½ a teaspoon or so of chilli powder. For extra heat and yet another flavour dimension, add a couple of dashes of Tabasco. 

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