A family favourite of ours is a good ol lasagne. Now I have never been a fan of lasagne because I am not a fan of bechamel sauce or any kind of creamy sauce for that matter so I have always turned my nose up to it. But as these sauces are very high in syns and Shane is a massive fan of lasagne I had to find a way to compromise, still having some kind of creamy sauce but something I could enjoy too AND being low in syns.
So after a lot of experimenting and trying various ingredients and recipes (including the yogurt/quark and egg varieties which I am sorry are hideous) I decided to play around with a bechamel sauce with cheese in and as I have mentioned in various recipes before my taste buds have completely changed since eating cleaner and healthier food and I found I absolutely loved this sauce. The look on Shane’s face when he saw me enjoying every mouthful was a look of shock as I have always turned my nose up. I am a changed woman.
NOTE: I use full fat butter in this sauce as it makes a much nicer, richer sauce and it is still relatively low in syns. If you wish to use low fat butter you will need to syn accordingly and play around with the quantities of ingredients as they will give a different outcome. Same with milk, we use whole milk but if you use any other kind of milk you may need to adjust the quantities used.
Some recommended items from our kitchen to make this dish…
- A big time saver for chopping veg with a veg chopper, from onions to carrots this is a god send to chop quickly.
- Double sided dry and liquid measuring spoons for times when you need to measure both liquid and dry ingredients.
- Cheese grater with varying grater sizes.
- A decent set of knives for chopping, with a knife sharpener which is always handy.
- A lot of our dishes are pyrex, great for cooking. Perfect for roasters too and easy to clean.
- Non-stick milk pan as I love having the lip to make it easier to pour without spillage.
- Silicone whisks in varying sizes, much prefer silicone to metal as it rusts.
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Serves 4 – 1 HexA and 3.5 syns per person
- Lasagne pasta sheets
Meat sauce (this will make plenty for leftovers too):
- 500g 5% fat beef steak mince
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 sticks celery, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 large carrots, grated
- 1 courgette, grated
- 2 red bell peppers, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 500g cartons passata
- 2 beef oxo cube
- 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon italian herbs
- 1 teaspoon oregano
Cheesy bechamel sauce:
- 25g butter – 9 syns
- 25g plain flour – 4.5 syns
- 200ml whole milk – 1 HexA or 6 syns
- 40g light mature cheddar – 1 HexA or 6 syns
- Salt & pepper
- 40g light mature cheddar – 1 HexA or 6 syns
- 70g light mozzarella – 1 HexA or 6 syns
- Preheat oven 180°C fan.
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan saute the onion, peppers, garlic and celery until soft.
- Add the mince and fry until browned.
- Add all the other sauce ingredients and simmer on a low heat for around 25 – 30 minutes until sauce is thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
- Make your bechamel sauce by warming the milk in the microwave until hot (not bubbling).
- In a milk pan melt the butter over a medium heat, add in the flour to make a roux and keep whisking until smooth.
- Whisk in the hot milk gradually until you get a thick sauce.
- Whisk in the cheese and bring to a steady simmer and simmer on a low heat for a few minutes continuously stirring until the cheese is melted, season with salt and pepper if needed. (If your sauce is too thick add a little boiling water and whisk until you get your desired thickness).
- In an oven proof dish layer up your lasagne. Layer of mince, pasta, bechamel and a little mozzarella and repeat these steps until you have used all your mince, make sure you save some mozzarella and bechamel for the top layer. (you will have lots of leftover meat sauce, see below for tips)
- Make sure the top layer of pasta has a little more bechamel than the other layers to help prevent burning and going dry whilst cooking.
- Add any mozzarella left over and the cheddar evenly over the top and bake in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.
- Take out the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
- Serve alongside a salad or vegetables and your healthy B choice of garlic bread if you wish.
- Store any leftover meat sauce in freezable containers and freeze once cold. Simply defrost and reheat fully before eating.
- Cook some penne pasta while everything else is cooking, portion the pasta and meat sauce up into meal prep containers and enjoy for lunches/dinners during the week. Will store in the fridge for a couple of days or freeze for emergency meals.