So I was scrolling through the blog the other day, only to realise that in over a year and a half of posting recipes I'd not posted a recipe for my vegetable lasagne. How can this be? I thought. And I don't have an answer to that... I've been making this for years. I put it together while at university, I'd never had a non-meat lasagne before so I was keen to try some meat free alternatives. I've tinkered around with the recipe a bit over the years, the exact vegatables that are included will always depend on what is in the fridge at the time, but it has remained largely unchanged.
It's a family favourite, in my family at least. There are even times when we'd prefer to have this over the meatier alternative - a pretty serious endorsement, I think you'd agree. The lentils in the tomato sauce add a bit of weight and a nice texture, then there's the roasted vegetables (roasted with plenty of garlic I might add). I'll leave you to make up your mind as to which you prefer, but give this a go - I'm prepared to guarantee that you won't miss the meat.
On its free-from credentials, I like to top my lasagne with Lactofree cheese but it's equally tasty with no cheese on top. I've been making this lasagne for so long that it pre-dates Lactofree cheese (even the slightly rubbery variety). Maybe it's because I didn't know any better at the time but I thought it was fabulous on its dairy-free, vegan lonesome.
This recipe yields four portions, which gives two nice portions for dinner and then leftovers for lunch (always a winner in our house). If I'm feeling super organised (or I'm making this for a busy evening) then I'll roast the vegetables the night before and leave them in a tupperware in the fridge.
- 1 aubergine, cubed
- 2 courgettes, cubed
- 1 onion, cut into wedges
- 4-8 garlic cloves, leave these whole
- 1 tin whole plum tomatoes
- 3/4 cup red lentils
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 50g non-dairy margarine (we use Vitalite)
- 50g flour
- 350-400ml soya milk
- salt and pepper
- lasagne sheets
- Lactose free cheese (or other toppings of your choice)
1. Roast the aubergine, courgettes, and onion together with 4-6 cloves of garlic (leave these whole, the clove inside goes wonderfully sweet and can be used to make some cracking garlic "butter") and a good glug of olive oil. Leave in the oven for around 40-50 minutes at 190C until the vegetables are soft. Leave to cool (potentially overnight if you're being organised).
2. Now to make the tomato sauce. Peel and crush 2 cloves of garlic and gently fry in a little oil for a couple of minutes until golden. Add in the tomatoes, breaking up the large pieces of tomato with your wooden spoon. Add in the red lentils and tomato puree and season with a little salt. Leave to cook for 20-25 minutes until the lentils are soft, stirring occassionally. You can add some water in if the sauce is looking a little dry.
3. Next, the white sauce. Although it sounds painful, I do prefer using the roux method - it tastes better and yields a smoother sauce. Start by gently melting your dairy-free spread in a saucepan. Once this is melted, remove from the heat and add in the flour beating it in quickly until it comes together in a ball. Slowly add in the soya milk a little at a time, stirring until it's incorporated and lump-free before moving on and adding more. I tend to switch between having this over the heat and not - you don't want it to reduce too quickly, so try to find a sweet spot on your hob. Failing that, do what I do which is dance backwards and forwards around the heat. Once you've got your sauce to the desired consistency, stop adding milk - you may not need all the milk. I prefer my white sauce to be on the thick side as it stops your lasagne from being sloppy.
4. Mix the tomato sauce with the roasted vegetables then spread one-third of this mixture into an over-proof container. Top with 2-3 lasagne sheets depending on the size of your dish. Then add one-third of the white sauce. Repeat this order twice more then top with cheese if you wish.
5. Bake your lasagne for 30-35 minutes at 180C until the pasta is soft (and the cheese is bubbling if you've got cheese). Serve with salad and maybe some garlic bread if you want all the carbs (try this one)!