Low Syn Life

The Hairy Bikers - (Not So?) Skinny Beef Lasagne

I love watching Nigella, Jamie and co on the TV but it's normally just 'food porn' for me - all those olive oil, butter, sugar, bread and cheese-filled recipes don't quite fit with my eating plan! Some can be adapted easily (thanks, Fry Light and fat free fromage frais) but I'm mostly left wondering how they can eat that stuff and still look the way they do.

So I was really excited when I heard about the Hairy Bikers' latest project - 'The Hairy Dieters - How to Love Food and Lose Weight' - finally, a food programme for people like me! I tuned into the first episode with great anticipation, pen and paper at the ready.

I was a little disappointed that, an hour later, they had only cooked three recipes, two of which were 'pre-diet blow-out' dishes! The back stories were interesting but there was far too much of them - where was the food!

Finally, we had a recipe for their version of a slim lasagne where they used strips of blanched leek in place of the pasta. They had a nice idea for a white sauce by infusing milk with onion, nutmeg and bay and then thickening it with just cornflour and they concentrated the 'cheesiness' by using extra mature cheddar and parmesan only on the top. Unfortunately, it seems that the main reason this recipe is so low in calories is down to the portion size - 500g of mince for 6 people! Still, it looked tasty and so I set about synning up the recipe:

  • Leeks, onion, celery, carrot, mushrooms, garlic, beef stock, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, oregano, bay, nutmeg, tomatoes, seasoning - all syn free
  • 500g lean minced beef - 10 syns (only extra-lean mince is syn free)
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour - 7 syns
  • 150ml red wine - approx 5 syns
  • 500ml semi-skimmed milk - 12.5 syns
  • 3 tablespoons cornflour - 10.5 syns
  • 50g extra mature cheddar - 10 syns
  • 25g parmesan - 5 syns

Oh dear Si & Dave, that works out at 60 syns for the recipe, or 10 syns per small portion. I'd much rather have it the Slimming World way which allows you to keep the pasta and is much more generous in terms of portion size and appetite satisfaction. (Now that I've said this I guess I'll have to post a recipe - watch this space!)

I commend you both on your weight losses, and anything that helps people to see that losing weight and eating healthy food doesn't mean deprivation is always a good thing, but I don't think I'll be rushing to buy the book, sorry guys!



Val Allen, Sun, 19/08/2012 - 4:15pm

Ok..so this wasn't meant to be a Slimming World recipe.... but if you make your meat based part according to the Slimming World format,i.e. use FryLite .. but use the leeks as the pasta, the cheese sauce part according to the H.E rules it can be a Red Day, no problem.
I tried it and it was delicious, didn't miss thr pasta at all.!!!!

Judy, Tue, 16/10/2012 - 4:19pm

Yes, I agree with Val. Just become you can eat gut busting portions on sw, doesnt mean you have to love. I know so many people that return to "normal" eating and continue eating massive portions... they of course, pile the weight back on. What a ridiculous post...

cordelia holly, Thu, 03/01/2013 - 7:03pm

I watched this too and although i thought it was a good idea to use the leeks instead of the pasta, it looked a bit too calorific to be a slimming world recipe. i have made the sw lasagne before and it was lovely at a fraction of the syns though, i just hope they manage to get some sw tips before making anymore recipes.

cate, Fri, 04/01/2013 - 10:51am

I would just like to remind everyone that they never claimed that it was a slimming world recipe, just that its a much healthier lower fat version which it clearly is, just seeng their weight loss is proof that their recipies work. I made the lasagne for my family the night after watching the show and we all loved it ,and to my surprise didnt even notice it was made with leeks instead of pasta. I look forward to trying more of their recpies and would like to congratulate them on their weight loss.

Michelle, Thu, 06/02/2014 - 11:41am

Exactly Cate; there was never any mention of SW! There are quite a few of the HB recipes that you can make SW versions of; one is the Beef Goulash. Just swap the sunflower oil for fry light and you have a syn free absolutely delicious dinner

Daniee Jones, Fri, 04/01/2013 - 11:41am

i searched hairy dieters lasgne recipe into google & this came up, this is supposed to be a recipe? but all i can see are the ingredients? i still dont know how to cook it and how long for?

Jackie Bidwell , Wed, 09/01/2013 - 6:59pm

In your book it says 400ml of liquid made with one stock cube but on the Internet it says 200ml /7 fl Ozs of beef stock which is the correct quantity

terrina, Fri, 24/05/2013 - 6:49pm

Id like to say that i had this at my cousins and it was lovely great idea as i am ceoliac i can use this instead of the gluten free pasta which is very expensive well done highly recomend it.

L.hudson, Thu, 07/01/2016 - 5:54pm

If you all watched or read the recipe they say to dry fry as in you 0% oil the pan is compleatly dry.
And tho's SW sins is crap and so Is wight watchers is a load of crap just money making what is the point of going to a waigh in then aloud to eat what ever they want that night (cheat night) and there food is tasteless and unappealing the hairy bikers are doing something different so we can eat the same grate tasting food just without packing on the pounds Or compromising on taste. And when you talk about portion size there not saying ok replace this and you can eat as much as you want like when someone said of you use the fry light the food becomes zero sins the rest of the ingrediance are there just a different oil still doesn't mean you won't get fat if you eat the lot and with the changing the oil is crap that's like opening 3 bottles putting it into a vat and cooking mcdonald's in the oil it's still the same fat content in the food and will still contain caleries and you will still get fat.

You can eat the same food you eat every day just reduce the portions and subtitute like leeks for pasta or dry frying if you diet and are not enjoying the food or the food is bland and tasteless or isn't filling then 9 times out of 10 you will snack then that will hold you back and will sometimes have other problems if you are not enjoying the food it will make you unhappy and unsatisfied.
but if you eat what you love and feel full welst dieting you will be more inclined to maintain the diet and you will be happyier in your self.
Life is to short to spend counting sins or cals just make small changes to the way you eat and control the portion then you will soon start losing the wight.

Jen, Fri, 22/01/2016 - 12:16pm

If you read up on slimming world or weight watchers at all you would know they don't "allow" their members to eat whatever they want the night they weigh in. There is no such thing as "cheat night" on these programmes - it's the member who decides to cheat!

As someone who lost 5 stone following weight watchers and having a sister who has lost 3 stone on Slimming World I think your post is ridiculous. These healthy eating plans don't suit everybody, but when you do find something that you find you can stick to it can work. Weight Watchers completely changed they way I ate. It taught me portion control and I needed the weekly weigh in to stay on track.

At my target weight I now use Fitness Pal as a way to quickly track my calories and keep an eye on my daily nutrition. This costs me a couple of minutes a day and I don't think it's a waste of time.

Back to the Hairy Dieters recipe, I have made this and it was delicious. I substituted a tin of chicken soup instead of making the white sauce with the milk and cornflour (a tip I was told in Weight Watchers and even if I wasn't dieting I would still do this!!). I also substituted a jar of passata instead of the wine. I didn't use Parmesan cheese, I used the tesco cheddar and mozzarella mixed grated bag. This recipe is 443kcal. It was worth it! yum!!

happy go lucky, Mon, 25/04/2016 - 10:00pm

They never once said slimming world, but what this recipe said to me is what a great idea substitute the pasta sheet for leek sheet and this is all to make my slimming lasagna not better but only my SP food and this is what I want, the rest I do without. thank you bikers i love you guys you are the best ...... hugs!!!

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