Thursday 21 September 2017

Simple vegetarian lasagne

How I love lasagne!  Let me count the ways!  Hot and melty just out of the oven.  Thin cold slices pulled apart into layers.  The crispy cheesy top, preferably with seeds.  Stuffed with lots of vegies.  Fancy and filled with the unexpected.  Made with a vegan cheese sauce.  Or hummus.  Or cauliflower.  And yet.  Sigh!  I will do it plain for my little girl so that she can learn to love it too.

Before Sylvia went on school camp, we were discussing what she would eat.  It is an issue when your kid is a vegetarian with particular tastes.  She told me with horror that they would be serving lasagne.  There are certain foods I love with a passion that I expect her to learn to love.  Like lasagne!  So recently, inspired by my mum's marathon effort of making lasagne for 100 people at a church dinner, I decided to get a little pushy with lassagne.

Only a little pushy.  Mostly I tried to find common ground.  I talked with Sylvia about lasagne being just things she loved like pasta and cheese sauce as well as some things she could tolerate like tomato sauce.  I promised to blend the tomato sauce and only add in lentils afterwards so there was no onion

I confess I got a little sneaky and added some pumpkin even though she thinks she doesn't like it.  The joys of being able to hide vegies in a blended sauce.  I should serve them more.  (I've finally got Sylvia eating a little soup.  She is also quite capable of reading my blog posts these days so I hope I don't get sprung with the pumpkin!)  And I tried to keep it plain but I did notice a neglected bottle of truffle oil so just a little went into the cheese sauce.

It wasn't a huge hit like a recent mac and cheese casserole but Sylvia enjoyed it in parts.  After all the fun of lasagne is to break up the layers and decide which one you like best.  I am not sure it would quite get her scoffing a big plate of lasagne at school camp but I hope it has helped her to see that maybe there is some good in lasagne.  Given time she might even love it like I do.  And despite making compromises with this lasagne, I really loved it.

I am sending this to Jac for Meat Free Mondays.

More vegetarian lasagne on Green Gourmet Giraffe blog:
Fennel and lentil lasagne (v)
Green lasagne with broccoli and rocket pesto
Meaty cauliflower and walnut lasagne
Nut roast lasagna (gf, v)
Tempeh and pumpkin lasagne (v)  
Vegan lasagne with cauliflower, hummus and tofu "ricotta" (v) 

Vegetarian lentil lasagne
An original Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe
Serves 6-8

Tomato lentil filling:
2-3 tsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
50-100g pumpkin, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
750g passata
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp tomato paste
Drizzle each of worcestershire sauce and maple syrup
Pinch of salt and mixed herbs (or Italian herbs)
add 2 x 400g tins of lentils

Cheese sauce:
2 big dessertspoons of butter or margarine
2 heaped dessertspoons of wholemeal plain flour
2 1/2 cups of milk (I used soy milk)
175g cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp  seasoning mix (I used Tasmanian pepper salt)
1 tsp truffle oil (optional)

To assemble:
lasagne sheets
mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan grated cheese mixture

To make the tomato sauce, fry onion in oil on low for 5 minutes in a small saucepan.  Add carrots and pumpkin.  Continue frying for about 5 minutes until softened.  Stir through garlic.  Add remaining ingredients, except lentils.  Cover and simmer about 15 minutes.  If desired, blend until smooth with a hand held blender.  Stir in the lentils.

To make white sauce: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Mix in flour and stir the mixture over low heat for 1-2 minutes so the buttery flour mixture browns ever so slightly. Add milk gradually, mixing as you add it. Bring to the boil so that the sauce thickens. Stir in cheese, mustard, seasoning and truffle oil (if using).

To assemble lasagna, spoon a little tomato sauce onto a 9x13 inch casserole dish and spread it to cover the bottom.  Place a layer of lasagna sheets, spread with about half the tomato sauce and then another layer of lasagna sheets.  Now layer half of cheese sauce, more lasagna sheets, the remaining tomato sauce, more lasagna sheets and the rest of the cheese sauce.  Sprinkle with grated cheese mix.

Bake lasagna for 40 minutes at 180 C until topping is golden brown and when you put a knife in, you get no resistance (ie if the lasagna sheets uncooked, you will find it a bit harder to put a knife in).  I turned off oven and left it in there for 1 hour before serving.

On the stereo:
Gold: Greatest Hits: ABBA


  1. How funny to think of Sylvia reading your blog. It's great you had some success with introducing her to lasagne through this dish and with the blended veggies. Vegan lasagnes have been an amazing discovery for me and I now like them a lot, so Mini Bite better come on board in time too :-)

  2. I used to always get a vegetarian lasagna at uni because the food was so terrible I'd try and least be healthy. It was quite oily and not a patch on this though.

  3. Yum! I love lasagne so this version sounds great.

  4. Lasagne is a favourite of mine, but I always find it such a faff to make. I have an amazing veggie recipe which is just divine, but I would never sneak it past Miss GF.... The vegetables are just far too obvious!
    I have never tried a lentil mix though...... Great idea! x


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