Rich Vegetable Lasagne

Vegetable lasagne

Hello friends! If you've made your way here after the short hiatus, then welcome back and thanks for sticking with me. It seems life has decided to throw all manner of decisions and issues at us since I started the website, and I'm really having to persevere to keep it up. If this is your first visit, then you are very welcome and I'm so glad you've decided to drop in. Cooking for Sanity is about finding creativity through cooking to get you through challenging days (particularly those with little ones) and to use cooking as a creative outlet in your life. Allowing my innate creativity to be released through cooking, as opposed to the hobbies I used to maintain before having children (knitting, sewing, interior design and other generally creative things) has kept me from going insane and has allowed me a focus, particularly towards the end of the day. I can't wait until it's time to prepare dinner, and as the years have passed, the more able I've felt to be able to throw a recipe together from what I have in the cupboard and fridge, which is delicious and nutritious. Experimentation with unfamiliar ingredients has also enabled my children to have a great knowledge of a wide selection of different types of food, and to talk about food in a manner somewhat above their age due to their knowledge of a diversity of ingredients. Whether they always eat what's put in front of them is another matter. My eldest will eat anything, and I know that if he leaves something, he genuinely doesn't like it. My youngest however, will leave food he really likes, and cause a huge fuss. I'm hoping perseverance will pay off in his case!

So today I'm going to share a recipe for veggie lasagne with you. I think all cooks need a lasagne recipe in their repertoire since it is a crowd pleaser, nourishing, satisfying and pretty much everyone loves a lasagne. I'm my opinion, meat and vegetable lasagnes are equally delicious, although my long-suffering husband would not agree. What is it about men and meat? I mean, is there actually some sort of scientific evidence which links the male of the species and meat-eating? Not wishing to generalise, it does seem to me that the men of my acquaintance will scorn, or at least politely deride, meals which do not contain meat. I digress. This yummy recipe contains all manner of nourishing veggies, and is bursting with flavour. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 tomato
  • 100g spinach
  • Handful fresh basil
  • Few sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • Tin chopped tomatoes
  • Heaped tbsp tomato purée
  • 10 lasagne sheets
  • 70g grated parmesan
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

For the Béchamel sauce

  • 500ml milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 25g butter
  • Heaped tbsp plain flour

Equipment

  • Large, heavy-based frying pan
  • Rotary whisk or regular balloon whisk
  • Oven dish

Method

Pre-heat oven to fan 190⁰C

Chop squash in half along its length, deseed and peel, then cut into approximately 2cm chunks. Place in a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and grind over salt and pepper, then bake for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, place a large heavy-based frying pan on a medium heat with a lug of olive oil, then chop the onion and garlic and add to the pan. Fry for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is going translucent and also golden. While the onion is cooking, prepare the carrots, aubergine, courgettes and tomato. Peel, top and tail the carrots, then chop all the veggies up into about 1.5cm chunks. Add to the pan with a lug more olive oil since the aubergine is very absorbent. Increase the heat to medium-high and sauté for a further 10 minutes to allow the veggies to develop some colour and start to soften.

Add the red wine to the pan and allow to bubble for a few minutes until reduced by about half, then add the tomato purée, chopped tomatoes plus a swill of water around the tin, herbs and salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, cook uncovered for a few minutes, then cover and cook for 20 minutes on a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the veggies are cooked through and the sauce is lovely and thick. Once ready, remove the thyme stalks then add the spinach to the pan, stir in gently then replace the lid to allow the spinach to wilt.

Meanwhile, make the Béchamel sauce. Put the halved onion, peppercorns and bay leaf in a small saucepan, pour the milk over the top and bring just to the boil. Turn off the heat and leave to infuse for five minutes. Pour the liquid through a sieve into a bowl, then set a saucepan on the hob on a medium-low heat and add the butter, melting reasonably gently. Once melted, add the flour and stir well together, heating gently for a few seconds. Add the milk, increase the heat to bring to the boil whilst whisking constantly, to create a deliciously thick, creamy sauce. If you have a rotary hand whisk, this will give the smoothest results, otherwise a generic balloon whisk will be fine.

Once all three elements are ready, you can assemble the lasagne. Spread half the veggies evenly on the bottom of the dish. Top with three lasagne sheets. Top these with half the white sauce then distribute all the squash on top of this. Add another three lasagne sheets, then the rest of the veggies, a last layer of lasagne and the rest of the sauce. Finally, sprinkle the parmesan generously over the top and bake for 35 minutes until the top is golden and bubbling.

I've shown each step in a photos here, as I'm forever referring back to the recipe when assembling lasagne, so thought a visual guide would be helpful.

Once the lasagne is ready, serve with a side of dressed leaves, such as rocket.

This is such a comforting, delightful recipe which, as  I was eating, I couldn't help commenting throughout on how yummy it was. I will often do this; not because I think my recipes are so great, but more out of surprise that a particular meal has been so enjoyable, or appreciation of how well certain tastes have complemented each other. The absolute best bit about this meal is, of course, the incredible golden parmesan topping. Mouthwatering! I dressed our rocket leaves very simply with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I do hope you enjoy this recipe and I'd love to hear how your goes. I also apologise for the volume of photos in this post. My intention has always been to make my recipes as easy to follow as possible, so in my mind, that means showing you as many steps a possible visually. Is it too much though? I'd really value your feedback as these recipes are meant to empower you in your kitchen, not hinder.

Thank you so much for reading 🙂

 

Sam

2 thoughts on “Rich Vegetable Lasagne”

  1. A really tasty recipe Sam – loved all the colours and lovely flavour. Personally, I love that you add all the photos- makes it easy when glancing at the recipe to make sure I haven’t missed a step! Thank you! xx

    1. Thank you so much for your feedback Mel 🙂 It’s really helpful for *me* to know that my step-by-step photos are helpful. I want to make cooking as accessible as I can for those who aren’t confident, so this is really good to know xxx

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