I said vegetarian, not vegan. There’s loads of cheese in this, so if you’re a committed vegan, this one isn’t for you, just like all the other recipes on this site.
If, on the other hand, you fancy a tasty dinner without meat, you could do worse than have a shot at this vegetarian lasagne. It won’t take you long and you’ll impress the living shit out of your non-cooking friends.
Now, this recipe is based on what I happened to have handy, so don’t feel bound to follow it slavishly. If you prefer different vegetables, toss them in. It’s all good. Like any other lasagne, this consists of two main components: a tomato-based sauce and a Béchamel sauce, which is just a fancy name for a white flour-based sauce. I like to add cheese to this, but some people just use it plain.
Here’s what you need.
Vegetables: peppers, carrots, onions, garlic, mushrooms and aubergine.
Passata or tinned tomatoes.
Cheese: Grated cheddar and grated parmesan
Butter, flour, bay leaves
Start by slicing the mushrooms and onions. Crush the garlic. Fry them all gently.
Then add some passata or tinned tomatoes
Toss in a glass of wine. Obviously.
Crush a nutmeg and toss it in. Add some herbs to taste. Some oregano, maybe, some basil or parsley. It’s a matter of personal taste.
Add the carrots, some good quality vegetable stock and let it all cook away gently for an hour or two while you polish off the rest of the wine and make the Béchamel sauce.
There’s no mystery to this, by the way. All you need to do is melt some butter in a heavy pot and gently sift in flour until you have a reasonably solid mix. This is a roux. Let it cook thoroughly because you’ll be using it to thicken the sauce and you don’t want to get an uncooked flour taste.
Meanwhile, heat a pot of milk and add a couple of fresh bay leaves and a pinch of whole black peppers. Add shallots to the infusion if you have them but don’t worry if you can’t find any, and If you haven’t got fresh bay leaves, dried will do. Let the milk simmer gently for maybe a half hour, but don’t let it boil over or burn. The important word is gently.
When the roux is thoroughly cooked — but not burnt! — add it a bit at at time to the hot milk until the mixture thickens. Then add the grated cheddar and parmesan mix very gradually, stirring all the time until you end up with a smooth cheese sauce. (I actually forgot to add the bay leaves and the pepper to the milk, and that’s why I had to throw them in later. Not to worry).
A Béchamel sauce with cheese added is called a Mornay sauce, because that’s how the French are about stuff.
Now you’re ready to put it all together.
Assemble your sliced vegetables.
Line the base of a cooking dish with sheets of lasagne and spoon a layer of your tomato sauce onto it. Then apply a layer of vegetables and cover with the cheese sauce.
Add a layer of lasagne sheets and repeat the process until you’ve used almost everything up.
Finally, apply a top layer of pasta, spoon on the remaining cheese sauce and cover it with vegetables.
Sprinkle it with the two-cheese mix and pop it in the oven.
Voila! Vegetarian lasagne in minutes.