Vegetarian Lasagna

May 7, 2018

 

Although a classic lasagne is made with a meat sauce, a vegetarian one is equally satisfying. I love making a veggie version when I want something light and the extra vitamin kick is always good.

 

You can use any grilled vegetable you like to form layers. Grill thinly sliced eggplant and peppers on a griddle pan or the oven before layering them into the lasagne. The half hour baking time of the layered lasagne will not be enough to cook the veggies through. Zucchini needs much less time to cook and tastes good even if a bit crunchy.

 

Spinach tastes lovely with the contrast of the tomato sauce and béchamel. Of course, if you are not a fan of greens, go ahead and omit it.

 

So my recipe has four parts- the tomato sauce, béchamel (white) sauce, the veggies and the final assembly. Please note that the secret to good lasagna is the layering- you want thin delicate layers and not thick stodgy stuff. If you sauce gets thick go ahead and add a couple of tablespoons of water. I suggest not overloading the layers with too much cheese as it just makes it heavy and weighs it all down.

 

You can layer the lasagne ahead of time and keep it outside or in the fridge. Bake when ready to eat. Baking twice in the oven will dry it out. To reheat leftovers later, use the microwave.

 

Looking for the meat version, try this CLASSIC LASAGNA recipe which also has an amazing and really easy BOLOGNESE SAUCE.

 

Buon appetito!

 

 

 

THE TOMATO SAUCE

 

What you need-

  • 600 gms tomato puree

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • ½ tsp oregano

  • Fresh or dry rosemary, finely chopped

  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper

  • Chilly flakes (optional)

  • ½ cup water

 

 

Putting it all together-

  1. Heat a saucepan and add the olive oil. Add the garlic and chopped rosemary. If using chilly flakes, add some now.

  2. Add the tomato puree with half cup water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add oregano. Let the sauce come to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Cook for 15 mins stirring every now and then.

  3. Taste the seasoning. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of water. It should be easily spreadable when layering the lasagne. Keep aside.

 

 

BECHAMEL SAUCE

 

What you need-

  • 50 gms butter

  • 40 gms flour

  • 2 cups milk, room temperature

  • ½ cup parmesan, grated

  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Putting it all together-

  1. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan. Once melted, add the flour

  2. Keep stirring together on medium heat till well combined

  3. Add the milk and lower heat. Keep stirring to avoid lumps

  4. Add the parmesan cheese, salt, pepper

  5. By now the milk will be slightly warm. On very low heat, use a whisk to stir the mixture till it thickens into a nice sauce. It is important to use a whisk at this stage to prevent the sauce from burning.

  6. Remove from heat and keep aside.

 

 

 

THE SPINACH LAYER

 

What you need-

  • 1 bunch spinach, washed and chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • ½ onion, finely chopped

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Sea salt and pepper

 

Putting it all together-

  1. Heat some oil in a frying pan. Add the onions and cook till translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30 secs.

  2. Add the spinach, bit by bit. Toss from bottom to top so the wilted leaves come up and the fresh leaves go down. Cover for a minute so it all steams.

  3. Add salt and pepper. Take off heat once slightly wilted and keep aside.

 

 

 

LAYERING AND ASSEMBLY

 

What you need-

  • Tomato Sauce

  • Bechamel Sauce

  • Cooked Spinach

  • Zucchini slices, or other veggies

  • Parmesan cheese

  • Fresh Basil

  • 1 Mozzarella Ball

  • Fresh Cracked Pepper

 

Layering the lasagna-

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

  2. In a large baking dish, spread some tomato to cover the base.

  3. Add a layer of lasagne sheets. Top with more tomato making sure all corners of the sheet is covered. If the sheets are too big for your dish, cut or break them to size. Use the broken bits to cover the gaps otherwise all the sauce will seep below in the corners.

  4. Add a thin layer of béchamel. Sprinkle some parmesan and torn basil leaves.

  5. Repeat with another lasagne sheet and tomato sauce layer. Add a thin layer of the spinach. Top with béchamel, cheese and basil.

  6. Repeat the above process till you have 3-4 layers depending on your dish.

  7. In between another layer, add some thinly sliced zucchini or the grilled veggies.

  8. Finish the final layer with torn chunks of fresh mozzarella and some fresh black pepper.

  9. Cover with foil and bake for 30-35 mins till the lasagne sheets are cooked. Remove foil and bake open for another 5 mins.

  10. Allow to rest outside for 10-15 mins before serving. This is important

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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