Vegetable Lasagna

Servings : Serves 4-6

When you need a meatless version of this iconic dish but without compromising on flavour, this is the dish to try! Makes for a rich and decadent lasagna but with an added punch of nutrients from all the veggies included.

Ingredients for Vegetable Sauce

  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 6 fresh ripe tomatoes, blended until smooth
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste/puree
  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce/ketchup
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 green or red capsicum, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped into small cubes
  • 4 medium eggplants, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1/4 cup sweet corn
  • 4 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 green chillies chopped or 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional, to cut the acidity from the tomatoes)
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup water or chicken stock/broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Bechamel (White Sauce)

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Other Ingredients

  • 12 lasagna sheets (approximately)
  • 2-3 cups grated mozzarella and cheddar cheese
  • chopped coriander (optional)
  • chilli flakes (optional)

Instructions

First, prepare the Vegetable Sauce.

Heat oil, then add the onions and fry until soft and translucent. Add the garlic paste and when it releases its aroma, add the carrots and capsicum. Stir fry them for about 3-4 minutes, then add the peas and sweet corn. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce/ketchup, chillies, paprika, oregano and cumin powder. Sprinkle the salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat, giving the sauce an occasional stir. Add about half a cup of water or chicken broth/stock if you like.

In the meantime, slice up the eggplants and place the slices on a baking tray. Drizzle some oil over them and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until lightly golden and set aside. Alternatively you can pan fry the slices.

Once the vegetable sauce is thickened and cooked well, add the chopped spinach and baked eggplant slices and stir them in. Add the sugar if you are using it. Mix together and simmer for an additional 5 minutes over low heat. Finally, taste and adjust the salt/pepper, sprinkle in the chopped fresh coriander and turn off the heat.

Next, prepare the white sauce.

Melt butter in a saucepan, stir in plain flour, then cook on low heat for 5 minutes. Cooking the flour in the butter helps reduce the ‘raw’ smell of the flour so don’t skip this step! Slowly whisk in milk, if you pour the milk in too quickly you will form lumps, so add gradually whilst whisking briskly to get rid of any lumps and form a smooth roux/mixture. Then bring to the boil, whilst stirring. Turn down heat and cook until the sauce starts to thicken and coats the back of a wooden spoon.

Prepare your lasagna sheets, about 12 should be enough. Check if they need to be boiled first, or if they can be used as is. It is normally indicated on the carton. If they need to be boiled, follow the instructions on the pack and proceed to boil them for the time specified. Keep some shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese ready, my favorite combination!

Finally, assemble the dish.

Grease a baking dish with some butter, then add a bit of white sauce (to prevent your lasagna from sticking to the dish), followed by some lasagna sheets. Try to avoid overlapping, you can break the lasagna sheets to fit your dish. Now pour some veg sauce, followed by white sauce and some cheese. Again add a layer of lasagna sheets, again the veg sauce and once more cover with the white sauce and cheese. You can add a third layer if your dish is deep enough. Make sure the final layer is covered with white sauce, then sprinkle some cheese on top followed by some chopped coriander, chilli flakes and oregano if you like.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for about 40 minutes. If the top is browning too quickly, then cover it with some foil and continue baking. Once ready, remove and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes before cutting into the lasagna. This will ensure that your cuts will be neat and tidy.

Enjoy!

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