Iron Rich Veggie and Lentil Lasagne

Iron Rich Veggie and Lentil Lasagne in a baking tray by Starting Solids Australia

Have you heard of meat free Monday? This is a campaign designed to encourage people to think about going meatless once a week. There are lots of benefits to this including:

  • Environmental -the meat industry has a pretty big carbon footprint for one thing, but also when it comes to deforestation and water usage, they are big players
  • It encourages people to include more veggies and add more variety to their diet. A varied diet has been linked to many health benefits and a more diverse gut microbiome
  • There are known health benefits to limiting red meat consumption in adults

BUT we know our little ones need iron rich foods in their diet, especially when they are starting solids and that red meat is an incredibly high source of iron. Red meat is a great source of nutrition to include regularly in bubs diet, but we also know meat free Monday is a great initiative for the family to try.

So, why don’t you try a plant-based iron rich meal for your family on a Monday night? Enter, our iron rich vegetarian lasagne!

This recipe is jam packed with iron rich vegetarian ingredients including:

  • Lentils
  • Spinach
  • Unhulled tahini
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Tomato paste

Now you can leave the tahini, pumpkin seeds and sun-dried tomatoes out if you don’t have them on hand but they add iron, texture and flavour to the dish.

We have mentioned this before too, but to boost the iron absorption you can add some vitamin C rich foods to the plate, like a squeeze of lemon juice, strawberries, fresh quartered tomatoes or squashed blueberries.

Iron Rich Veggie and Lentil Lasagne


  • 2 carrots
  • 1 medium brown onion
  • 1 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 1 medium red capsicum
  • ½ cup of sundried tomatoes
  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 250-300g sliced mushrooms (this is about 3 cups)
  • ½ cup of pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp of dried rosemary and oregano
  • 2 tbs unhulled tahini
  • 2 cans of brown lentils (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 x 800g can and 1 x 400g can of diced tomatoes
  • 240g of tomato paste
  • 1 x 250g box of frozen spinach
  • 1-2 boxes of lasagne sheets (if you use a large family 375g box then 1 should do)

Bechamel Sauce:

    • 30g of butter (you can use nutalex if dairy free)
    • 2 tbsp of plain flour
    • 2 cups of milk (you can use plant milk if dairy free)
    • Sprinkle of cheddar cheese*

    *Often cheddar cheese is high in sodium; this doesn’t mean you can’t include it.  Cheese that is high in sodium is completely fine to include in bub’s diet in small amounts. You can look for a lower sodium cheese like a swiss or mozzarella if you like.

    If dairy free you can use a vegan cheese but these will be higher in sodium often. You could also add nutritional yeast (about 1 tbs) instead to your bechamel sauce for a cheesy flavour.


The meatless meat sauce

  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  • In a food processor add your carrots, onion, capsicum, zucchini, mushrooms, pumpkin seeds and sundried tomatoes. Blitz until very finely chopped.
  • Heat up your pan and add in your olive oil and garlic and herbs
  • Add your veggies and cook until softening
  • Add in your tomatoes, tomato paste, tahini and lentils and let simmer for 20 mins
  • Stir through your spinach and remove from the heat and allow to cool

Baby Friendly Bechamel

  • Heat a pan and add in your butter
  • Stir in your flour to make a paste
  • Slowly add your milk and whisk to stop any clumps forming
  • Cook until thickened


  • In a lasagne/baking tray build up your layers alternating between pasta sheets and your meatless meat sauce until you finish with a pasta layer at the top
  • Now poor your bechamel over the top and sprinkle with your cheese


  • Cover your tray with foil to start, so the top doesn’t get too crispy (not very baby friendly!)
  • Cook for 45 mins then uncover and cook for another 10-15 to give the top a little bit of colour

This dish is suitable from 6 + months with some simple modification. You can fork mash (add a little water, milk of choice or formula to make it runnier if needed) or even blend to make a puree. It is great as it is if you’re confident with finger foods or a soft fork mash texture.


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