Kitchen Therapy

Vegetarian Lasagne

This lasagne is delicious and with sauces made from scratch. Yes I can see some of you frowning but honestly, and I cannot say this enough – it really doesn’t take that long. And it is absolutely worth that extra bit of effort. I always make two at a time – a vegetarian one for me and a meat-filled one for my carnivore hubby (exactly the same only with mince added). If you are a lover of vegetables, the wonderfully versatile thing about the vegetarian lasagne is that you can add almost anything to it, there are no set rules when choosing what vegetables to put in. This dish tends to stretch over two days in my house which is even better news as it means less work to do in the kitchen the following day! Plus my children love it. Even better! 

Prep. time : 30 minutes

Difficulty:  Easy

For the Bolognese (tomato sauce)

I onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 courgette, chopped

A handful of mushrooms, chopped

Mixed peppers (1/2 red, 1/2 green, 1/2 yellow) all chopped

1 carrot, chopped (if using carrot it is a good idea to pre-steam it first for ten minutes)

A handful broccoli, chopped

A handful kale, chopped (optional)

1 can chopped tomatoes

Basil, fresh or dried to season

Black pepper, to season

Salt, to season

For the béchamel (white sauce)

50g butter

40g white flour

500ml full-fat (or half-fat) milk (cold from the fridge)

I onion, peeled and chopped in two

Sprinkling of nutmeg

2-3 bay leaves

Black pepper, to season

Other

8-10 lasagne sheets

Buffalo mozzarella, sliced (to top the lasagne)

Parmesan, grated (to top the lasagne)

Method:

1. Firstly prepare your white sauce so that you can leave it to one side to infuse all of  the flavours.

2. Melt the butter in a non-stick saucepan over a medium heat.

3. Once fully melted add the flour to the butter and bring the two together with a whisk until it resembles a dough ball on the side of your saucepan.

4. Next turn the heat up on the saucepan and add the cold milk to the dough ball. Mix it thoroughly with your whisk the entire time until you see it begin to thicken. Once this happens bring it off the heat and continue to whisk furiously to make it smooth and eradicate any lumps. Even off the heat it will continue to thicken for you.

5. If you are not happy that it is of a thick enough consistency then return it to the heat for a few seconds and continue to stir until it thickens some more (remember it is very important to keep whisking this).

6. Once you are happy with the consistency remove from the heat and add the onion, nutmeg, bay leaves and black pepper. Stir and cover with a lid until you are ready to build your lasagne later.

7. Next to the ragu – start by gently frying the onion and garlic together over a medium heat.

8. Begin to add the courgettes, mixed peppers and mushrooms and continue to fry gently.

9. At this point you can add everything else that you wish – I like to add kale, carrots and broccoli to mine but you can add whatever you like.

10. I also sometimes add quorn mince to the vegetables if I have it in the freezer as it adds even more depth and texture to the dish (and protein!).

11. Once everything has gently softened, add the tin of chopped tomatoes and seasoning.

12. Stir all of the vegetables through and leave to simmer for at least 15-20 minutes. This allows all of those flavours to really get mixing.

13. Now it is time to start building your lasagne. Take your baking dish and start with a layer of vegetables. Next cover over fully with your lasagne sheets and then pour a thin layer of white sauce over the sheets until they are  fully covered.

14. Continue to do this (probably three times) until you have reached the top where again your lasagne sheets will be fully smoothed over with a layer of white sauce.

15. Slice the mozzarella and place it all over the top of the lasagne. Grate the parmesan over this (as much as you want!)

16. Transfer to the oven and bake at 180 ̊ C / 350 ̊  F / Gas mark 4 for 35-40 minutes until golden and bubbling on top.

17. Serve hot with potatoes, wedges, chips or whatever takes your fancy. Anything goes really!

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