Cruelty-free vege lasagne – something for the weekend
This lasagne is a staple dish by my husband K for our vegetarian nights. It’s quite a bit of work and is not the quickest dish around to make but well worth the effort – as soon as you smell the cheese melting you’ll be dying to dig in! There’s no hard and fast rule as to what vegetables you can use for the filling, so feel free to substitute with whatever you fancy or is in season.
For the lasagne filling
- Virgin olive oil for cooking
- 3 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 carrot, diced
- 2 courgettes, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
How to make the lasagne filling
- In a medium saucepan, fry the celery, onions, garlic and carrots for 2 minutes. Add the courgettes and peppers; and continue frying until the vegetables start to soften.
- Add the mushrooms and chopped tomatoes to the saucepan, together with the oregano and basil.
- Add the dried chilli flakes and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the sugar to the vegetable pot and allow to simmer for about an hour until about ¼ of the liquid is left while you get on with the cheese sauce.
For the cheese sauce
- 50g butter
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 300ml milk
- 150g parmesan, freshly grated
- Salt to taste
How to make the cheese sauce
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the flour to the melted butter. Using a wooden spoon, stir continuously and very well until you have a smooth, slightly grainy paste – the roux.
- Add the milk slowly to the roux and whisk vigorously until the sauce thickens. It should become smooth and coat the back of a wooden spoon.
- Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking the sauce for 4-5 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the grated parmesan to the sauce until incorporated.
- Taste, season with salt, and make sure there is no hint of flour.
You’ll need 150g lasagne sheets and another 50g of freshly grated parmesan to assemble your lasagne; together with a few halved cherry tomatoes and 2 sprigs of rosemary to garnish.
How to assemble your lasagne
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Brush the inside of a large baking dish/casserole dish with a little oil.
- Place a layer of lasagne sheets on the bottom of the dish.
- Next, layer with the cooked vegetables. Spoon a thin layer of cheese sauce over the layer of vegetables. Don’t worry about being too tidy as the next layer will help to even out the sauce and vegetables.
- Continue layering per steps 3 and 4, ending with a layer of cheese sauce on top. Sprinkle over the extra 50g of parmesan.
- Garnish the top with the cherry tomatoes and sprigs of rosemary.
- Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until the parmesan is golden on top.
- Serve up with a side salad.
Tip: Depending on the size of your baking dish, try to estimate after the first layer of vegetables and cheese sauce how much you should be placing in each layer. You’ll get the hang of it after a few attempts!
Yields 6 large portions
Recipe courtesy of Chef K.