Squash & Spinach Lasagne

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!

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 6)

Squash Layer:

  • 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

Other Ingredients:

  • 250g lasagne sheets (we stock regular and gluten free)
  • extra sage leaves to decorate

Method

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Plant Based Béchamel

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?

Liz x

Ingredients

  • 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)

Method

  1. Measure all the ingredients into a cold pan and whisk them together.
  2. Put the pan onto a medium heat and cook and whisk slowly until it thickens into a creamy sauce.
  3. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed with more salt and pepper or more nutritional yeast if you want a cheesier flavour.
  4. 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…