I eat a lot of salad and so when I started my #VeganChallenge I was not that concerned about what I would eat for a month. If in doubt I could conjure up a yummy, leafy dish…
However, this February has been pretty chilly and when the temperatures drop and the nights are still dark you don’t always feel like a light dinner of beetroot, edamame beans and tomatoes. Instead, you sometimes just feel like indulging on the type of comfort food that you can find at your local pub – pies, fish and chips or a big slab of lasagne!
I know that a lot of vegetarian/vegan lasagne recipes are either full of fake meat such as Quorn mince or are made up of lasagne sheets including egg. I could not seem to find anywhere a purely vegetable lasagne that was also suitable for vegans. So, I bought a load of veggies and set to work in my kitchen.
It has to be said that this lasagne recipe turned out way better than I thought it would and being my first attempt I was pretty impressed with myself!
It is made up wholly of vegetables, including the ‘lasagne sheets’ which are made from sliced aubergine. It also wouldn’t be a lasagne if it didn’t include a lot of cheesy sauce and so I made a vegan alternative using sunflower spread, plain flower, almond milk and vegan cheese.
Once I popped it in the oven, I kept my fingers crossed for the result – 60 minutes later it came out of the oven looking like a real lasagne!
This dish genuinely tastes amazing and is the perfect family dinner to whip up on a cold weekend before you settle down for a movie night in front of the fire! Like all lasagnes it does not end up transferring onto a plate very well, however this dish is all about taste – full of flavour and gooey cheese, yes please!
For the Filling
1 white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 aubergines (1 peeled and diced)
2 courgettes, diced
1 red pepper, chopped
200g can of sweetcorn
1 tbsp. tomato puree
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp. mixed herbs
Salt and Pepper
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 beef tomatoes
For the Cheese Sauce
300g vegan cheese, grated (I used Violife)
A knob of sunflower spread (or any other vegan butter)
½ pint of almond milk
3 tbsp. plain flour
For the Filling
– Slice the 2 aubergines very thinly down their length to make ‘lasagne sheets’ (about 3mm).
– Grill them until starting to brown, about 5 – 10 minutes. Remove from the grill and set to one side.
– Heat the oil in a large saucepan on a medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until turning translucent. Add the garlic and fry for about 1 minute.
– Add the courgette, aubergine and pepper to the pan and stir fry for about 10 minutes until all vegetables are cooked.
– Pour in the can of sweetcorn and allow the water to boil off for a further 5-10 minutes.
– Add the tomato puree and stir, before pouring in the chopped tomatoes, mixed herbs and salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and then lower heat and leave to one side.
For the Cheese Sauce
– Add a large knob of butter to a medium sized pan and melt.
– Add the flour and stir continuously until a paste forms. Remain on the heat for about 5 minutes and mixture starts to lighten in colour.
– Add the milk and stir continuously – it will start to thicken.
– Bring to the boil (if it is too thick add some more milk – it should be a similar consistency to PVA glue!)
– Take off the heat and add ¾ of the grated cheese to the white sauce and mix until smooth.
– Preheat the oven to fan 200C.
– Put half of the tomato-vegetable mixture into a rectangular baking dish (32 x 20cm) and spread out evenly.
– Place the sliced aubergine in a layer on top of the vegetables.
– Pour over about 1/3 of the cheese sauce onto the aubergine sheets and spread evenly.
– Add the rest of the vegetables as another layer and spread evenly.
– Drizzle a small amount of remaining cheese sauce onto the vegetables before adding another layer of aubergine slices.
– Scatter the remaining ¼ of grated cheese on top of the aubergine before pouring the rest of the cheese sauce over the dish. Make sure the sauce covers all gaps, right up to the edges of the baking dish.
– Add slices of tomato on top of the lasagne.
– Cook for 50 – 60 minutes, the top should be golden.
Serve and enjoy!