Syrian lasagna is different than regular lasagna in that it has vegetables in it. A traditional Italian lasagna is a combination of béchamel and meat sauce and noodles.Jump to Recipe Print Recipe
The French ruled over Syria from 1923- 1946. During those years, the French brought with them a lot of French influence and that spilled over into the kitchen as well. Béchamel is now made throughout the region in various dishes. Lasagna happens to be one of my favorite, and probably most peoples favorite. In fact, syrian lasagna is such a staple that at every large gathering and special occasion where lots of food is served, lasagna is a must on that table.
Sarah, a syrian fashion blogger living in California invited me along with some 20 other people to her home. In typical Syrian fashion, she had lasagna, and a full spread of various dishes. I thought for sure she ordered some items because no way did she make all these dishes AND manage to be so fashionably cute. I didn’t even ask if she made them or not, I asked where she ordered it from. Then felt like a jerk when she said she made it! She did tell me she made me days earlier and froze it. So the day of her dinner party, she just took it out and popped it in the oven . Immediately I told her I was coming over to photograph her version.
In one pot, make the béchamel and the other pot make the meat sauce. Then its just a matter of assembly. There are a few shortcuts used here including
- oven ready lasagna. Some say that’s cheating and using oven ready lasagna is basically baking pasta. Of course, ideally, it would be best to boil the lasagna noodles first but in this day and age, sometimes it’s just easier to use to oven ready. If you do decide to boil the noodles first, make sure you undercook them by a few minutes because remember they will bake and cook further in the oven.
- use store bought shredded vegetables. Carrots and zucchini are easy to find so save yourself the step and do that.
- freeze the pan once it cools down. when you need it just take it out and put it in the oven frozen. Do not let it defrost more than 30 minutes otherwise it will be too soggy.
Things to think about when making lasagna.
- If you want to skip the béchamel, even though it literally is so easy so don’t be intimidated, then you have to add some sort of dairy to counter all the acidity from the tomato. The sprinkled mozzarella cheese is not enough to do that so you will need something more. Basically, don’t skip the béchamel.
- Make sure to cover it while it is baking in the oven to keep all the moisture and gooeyness inside. You can broil at the end to for several minutes uncovered to give it that nice crispy top but while it is cooking, cover it!
- Use a glass pyrex so you can see all the fun layers.
- Don’t skimped out on all the fun layers! Minimum amount of layers is 3. That means, noodles, béchamel, meat sauce, repeat, and repeat.
Syrian lasagna is different than traditional Italian lasgna in that it has vegetables. They get cooked into the sauce so it taste delicious, full of nutrients,
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 Tbls oil
- 1 lb ground beef
- 3 Tbls tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp Red pepper paste optional
- 4 to matoes chopped
- 1-11/2 cups of shredded carrots
- 2 cups water
- salt pepper, cinnamon, all spice
- paprika oregano, basil and Aleppo pepper (optional)
- 6 tbsp butter
- 6 cups of milk
- 6 tbsp flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 F
- Chop the onion and sauté it in oil
- Add the ground beef, 1 tsp all spice, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 2 tbsp salt (to taste)
- Once the meat is browned, add the shredded carrots, tomato paste, copped tomatoes, and stir. Once mixed well, add the water.
- Let the sauce simmer until it reduces and gets thicker
- Melt the butter with the flour together and mix until the flour is no longer clumpy
- Add the milk slowly one cup at a time, add salt and pepper and stir on medium heat until it boils and thickens
- On the pyrex, add some béchamel to cover the bottom, then one layer of lasagna, some more béchamel, sprinkle mozzarella cheese, and add the tomato beef sauce on top.
- Repeat: lasagna, béchamel sauce, shredded cheese, and tomato beef sauce
- Final Layer should be sprinkle of shredded cheese
- Cook the lasagna covered for 45-60 minutes. Check on it at the 45 minute mark. Once cooked, broil for 5 minutes while keeping an eye on it.
Note: If you plan to freeze the lasagna, wait until it cools down and cover well. You can cook it from frozen or defrost it for 30-60 minutes. Dont defrost for any longer otherwise it will get watery.