I first blogged about baking a Vegetarian Lasagne back in 2011! I can’t believe its been that long, and that I’m still blogging all this time later. It has been quite a journey since then and I have discovered an awful lot of dishes which have become firm favourites; but I still keep returning to old recipes like this. A recipe like this vegetable lasagne (or anything big and robust like this) is like a security blanket. It’s so warm and comforting, especially when nights are noticeably starting to draw in and become colder and wetter.
After the success of my budget week series on the blog last week, where I managed to feed me and Hana for the week on £20 I sat down on Monday and made a meal plan for the week. With the supermarket just over the road I’d usually just nip over everyday and get something to make dinner that evening; but inevitably that leads to impulse buying a few other things and over a week that really adds up. I chose this lasagne as its really big and filling, tasty and makes around 5-6 portions, meaning you have packed lunch and dinner for the next day too. Less cooking over the week is good too.
I tweaked the recipe a bit this time and used a mix of hard goats cheese and soft creamy dolcelatte in the bechamel sauce, which along with some fresh chopped parsley made it more robust, which complemented and balanced the strong tomato sauce.
Homemade Vegetarian Lasagne
Ingredients – Makes 6 portions
2 large aubergines
2 red peppers
2 yellow peppers
1 red onion
Dash of olive oil for each batch of roasted veggies
Red wine Sauce
2 sticks of celery
1 red onion
2 400g cans of tomatoes
200ml red wine
2 cloves of garlic
100g plain flour
1 egg yolk
Handful of fresh parsley
50g dolcelatte cheese
50g hard goats cheese
Vegetable lasagne recipe
Begin by preheating the oven to 200c. Wash the vegetables. Slice the aubergines into 1/4inch rounds and drizzle with olive oil before popping in the over for about 20-30 minutes. Thinly slice the courgettes, red and yellow peppers and red onions then toss in olive oil and pop in the oven, again for 20 to 30 minutes.
Begin by making the sauce. Finely chop the onion, red onion, carrots, garlic and celery. I chopped them really finely so I didn’t have to blitz it later. Pop some olive oil in a wide bottomed saucepan then when hot add the vegetables. Coat them in the oil then reduce the heat and sweat for 15 minutes. They should be quite soft and the onions and celery will be translucent. Add the dried herbs.
Check the veggies in the oven and turn them over if needed.
Back to the sauce. Add the red wine and bring back to a gentle boil. Keep there for 5 minutes to boil off the alcohol, then add the tinned tomatoes. Reduce again to a simmer and keep it here for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Take the veggies out of the oven then set aside to cool.
Whilst the red wine sauce is simmering you can make the bechamel sauce. Prepare by measuring out the flour and butter, grating the cheese and separating an egg yolk. Finely chop the parsley. Melt the butter in the pan then add the flour. It will go clumpy but that’s okay. Start adding the milk a little at a time whilst whisking. Keep adding till you have a smooth sauce, you might not need all the milk. Remove from the heat then add the egg yolk, cheeses and parsley. Whisk again to form a smooth emulsion.
The red wine sauce should be ready now, add the roast vegetables to this and stir well.
Get a deep oven-proof dish. Ladle in ¼ of the sauce mixture and top with lasagne sheets. Repeat this layer till you have used all the sauce. Top with a final layer of lasagne sheets, then top off with the cheese bechamel sauce.
Bake for 35 minutes on 180c. It’s packed full of vegetables so you don’t need to serve it with anything more than a glass of red wine.
Recipe, text and photos By Russell Bowes