Totally worth all the effort, this veggie packed lasagne is a meal in itself! I ordered a rescue box of veggies this week and was spoiled for choice. With a big head of cauliflower, peppers, aubergine, spring onions and Irish courgettes (and lots more) there was only one thing for it!
Add this to your meal plan. Feed a gang or portion and freeze for future dinners. **This can definitely be dairy free and vegan, just make a couple of swaps.
For the veg: Slice the courgette, aubergine and peppers into flat strips. Put them on a baking tray and season with salt and pepper, drizzle oil all over and roast in the oven for 40 minutes until soft.
Step 2: For the cauliflower bechamel sauce: Put the cauliflower florets in a pot of boiling salty water and cook until soft. Transfer to a blender with the milk, nutmeg, ground almonds and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper..
Step 3: For the tomato sauce: In a wide pot add a tablespoon of oil, add the sliced spring onions and chopped garlic and cook for a few minutes to soften. Add the 2 tins of chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add the chopped basil stalks, give the sauce a quick blend with a hand blender.
Step 4: Construct the lasagne: in a large baking tray spread a tin layer of tomato sauce at the bottom, top with pasta sheets, layer roast veggies, spinach, and then the white sauce. Repeat finishing with the white sauce and topping with the grated cheese.
Step 5: Bake in the oven at 180ºC for 50 minutes. Allow to cook and set then slice and serve.
Craving lasagne but can’t be bothered with the faff? Make this speedy version all in one pan. It’s honestly so so delicious, and really hits the spot. We switch mince for nutritious, affordable, planet-friendly lentils and if we have a courgette in the fridge, it goes in in long thin slices to play along with the pasta sheets. We kinda like how organic and messy these bowls turn out. Want more creamy, béchamel-type sauce? Add swirls of cream cheese or creme fraiche just before serving.
Ingredients (serves 4)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 diced onion
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tbsp Italian seasoning (or a mix of herbs you like)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin lentils, drained
8 lasagne sheets, snapped
1 courgette, thinly sliced
salt & pepper to taste
cheese & pesto to serve
In a sturdy pan, sauté the onion with the olive oil and a pinch of salt for 5-8 minutes or until it starts to soften.
Add the Italian seasoning, garlic and a generous grind of black pepper. Cook for another minute or two until very fragrant.
Pour in the tomatoes and lentils along with a tin of water. Then break in the lasagne sheets and stir in the courgette slices. Simmer, stirring regularly, for around 10 minutes. If needed, add a splash more water.
Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt or pepper as you like, then when the pasta sheets are soft, sprinkle cheese and dollop pesto. Serve in bowls and dig in!
Lasagne is always a good idea for dinner. I always make two while I’m making one, it’s not much extra work and then there’s one in the freezer for a rainy day. This version is an autumn/winter favourite. Layers of roasted squash and garlic, spinach and pumpkin seed pesto, pasta sheets and plant based béchamel. Delicious!
Ingredients (serves 6)
1 kg squash, cubed
1 bulb of garlic, minus 1 clove
6 sage leaves
olive oil, salt and pepper
Spinach & Pumpkin Seed Pesto Layer:
400g spinach, wilted
150g pumpkin seeds, toasted
1 clove of garlic, saved from the bulb above
the juice of half a lemon
6 tbsp olive oil
10g nutritional yeast
salt and pepper
Plant Based Béchamel Layer:
150g plain flour (gluten free works too)
20g nutritional yeast
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 litre oat milk (get a gluten free one if you are avoiding gluten)
salt and pepper
250g lasagne sheets (we stock regular and gluten free)
extra sage leaves to decorate
Turn the oven on to 200C and cut a kg of winter squash (like kuri or butternut) into cubes, tumble them into a large baking tray. Peel a whole bulb of garlic and add the cloves to the dish, but put one aside for the pesto.
Toss the squash and garlic with 6 torn sage leaves and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper then pop the dish in the oven to bake until soft. Meanwhile prepare the pesto and béchamel.
Put the spinach in a colander and pour over hot water to wilt the leaves. Squeeze the water out of the wilted spinach and put the bright, green lump in a food processor. Add the pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Blend into a rough sauce, taste and season with salt and pepper. Blend again briefly to bring the pesto together. Then make the béchamel.
In a cold pot, whisk the flour, nutritional yeast, mustard, nutmeg, olive oil and oat milk together. Then put the pot on a medium heat and whisk and cook until the sauce thickens and can coat the back of a spoon. Season well with salt and pepper then put to one side and check on the roasting squash and garlic.
When the squash and garlic is cooked though, mash it roughly, leaving some texture. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, then it is time to assemble the lasagne.
In a deep baking dish, add a 1/2 cm layer of the squash purée. Add a layer of pasta sheets, then a couple of ladles of the béchamel. Spread two or three heaped tbsp of spinach pesto over the béchamel, don’t worry if it mixes in. Then repeat until you’ve used all the ingredients. Squash, pasta, béchamel, pesto… Ensure you finish up with a thick layer of béchamel.
Decorate the top of the lasagne with some fresh sage leaves then pop it into the oven to bake until bubbling. After about 20-30 minutes, the pasta should be cooked through and the top should be golden. Test with a small sharp knife. Then cut and serve with a side salad or steamed greens.
Having a good béchamel sauce in your repertoire is so useful. I bring this sauce out really regularly for weekday dinners like macaroni cheese, for cauliflower or broccoli cheese for a Sunday roast (or a combination cauliflower/broccoli/macaroni cheese is SO good). I use it for the cheesy, creamy layer in lasagnes and moussakas and I use it for creamy mushroom, leek and white bean pies topped with pastry or mash. This vegan version (made with nutritional yeast instead of cheese, creamy oat milk instead of cow milk and some delicious olive oil instead of butter) is so delicious, nutritious and really quick and easy to put together. Simply whisk the ingredients together cold. Then put the pot over a medium heat and whisk and cook it into a thick sauce! How do you use béchamel sauce?
150g plain flour (wheat, spelt or even a gluten free plain-flour blend all work)
20g nutritional yeast (or more to taste)
6 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 litre oat milk (or any unsweetened plant milk you like)
Measure all the ingredients into a cold pan and whisk them together.
Put the pan onto a medium heat and cook and whisk slowly until it thickens into a creamy sauce.
Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed with more salt and pepper or more nutritional yeast if you want a cheesier flavour.
It’s that simple! Now stir through cooked pasta or cauliflower or broccoli and bake until bubbling and golden on top. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and more nutritional yeast for a golden crunchy topping? Or spoon between layers of lasagne sheets and ragu for a gorgeous lasagne. Fold through sautéed mushrooms and leeks, stir in a drained tin of white beans and top with pastry or mash for a cosy, creamy pie…