Very virtuous veggie Lasagne

Vegetable lasagne

Not just your everyday lasagne. Bursting with a rainbow of vegetables, you will certainly get your 5 a day I would imagine with this one. Looks complicated but like with all my recipes they can be really flexible but they are really delicious and most of them are able to be frozen so a little effort brings great rewards. This is a roast Mediterranean vegetable lasagne. There are quite a few dried herbs/spices but if you haven’t got them or can’t be bothered you could use a packet lasagne mix which tend to be very good but if you have any food intolerance problems make sure you read the ingredients.

This would also work well with Quorn mince, soya mince or even if you want to make it with meat could use Turkey or lean minced beef.

The majority of the ingredients are interchangeable. Okay so there is a rich cheesy sauce but if you want to be even healthier you could use fat-free quark mixed with a bit of milk or Simon Rimmer’s option top with cottage cheese #rimmersimon. At the end of the day it’s such a flexible recipe the choice is yours, if you haven’t got it don’t worry. pasata can be used instead of making the sauce if you are short of time but invest a bit of love into the preparation and you will reap the benefits in the finished dish.

It can be made with gluten-free products, there is no added sugar and lower carb but still absolutely delicious.

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE BASE

2 red onions cut into 4

1 red pepper cut into rough chunks

1 yellow/orange or green peppers again cut into rough chunks

8 to 10 cherry tomatoes

3 to 4 cloves of garlic, whole with skin is left on

2 medium-size carrots cut into chunks

2 large field mushrooms cut into chunks

olive oil 1 to 2 tablespoons for roasting

1 teaspoon of fennel seeds

1 teaspoon of cumin

2 teaspoons of dried oregano, dried basil, dried marjoram, dried rosemary, dried thyme (or mixed Italian herb seasoning or packet lasagna seasoning mix.

A couple of handfuls of fresh spinach (optional)

a quarter of butternut squash sliced thinly (optional)

1 courgette sliced thinly lengthways.

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE

1 carrot roughly chop

2 sticks of celery roughly chopped

2 medium-sized onions red or white

2 tablespoons of tomato purée

2 to 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon of Worcester sauce (optional gluten-free for coeliac. This is made with anchovies so obviously vegetarians and vegans leave it out)

3 to 4 cloves of garlic crushed all to taste

2 tins of good quality plum tomatoes (in general apparently the better tomatoes are used for plum ones and the rest they use for the chopped ones that use just what you’ve got)

2 to 3 large jarred red peppers (optional)

good glug or 2 of red or white wine (optional)

a large bunch of fresh basil

 

 

CHEESE SAUCE

again you can easily buy packet or ready-made sauces but this is so easy and tasty it’s worth giving it a try.

35 g approx of butter

2 large tablespoons of plain flour (gluten-free for coeliac)

750 mL of semiskimmed milk (lactose-free if lactose intolerant)

Parmesan cheese large handful grated

Strong vintage cheddar 150 to 200 g (the stronger the cheese the less you need so the less calories and fat although to be fair this will serve 6 good portions so a little bit of what you fancy does you good :-))

1 ball of mozzarella cheese (there is a half fat option available)

ground black pepper

pinch of nutmeg (optional)

 

METHOD

preheat the oven to 180°C

First of all put all of the vegetables for the  base on a roasting tray excluding the courgette, spinach, and butternut squash.

Drizzle with olive oil and herbs and spices and a little amount of salt if required

Toss thoroughly and put in the oven to caramelise this will take approximately 20 to 30 minutes, turn them occasionally.

IN THE MEANTIME MAKE THE TOMATO SAUCE

Fry the carrots, celery and onion for 5 to 10 minutes to soften.

Add the garlic and chilli, fry off for about a minute.

Add the balsamic vinegar and allow to reduce for a few minutes

Add a couple of good splashes of red or white wine if using

Add a teaspoon of sweetener or sugar (I usually use Stevia sweetener as it is supposed to be more natural)

Add 2 jarred red peppers if using

Add 2 tins of tomatoes

Allow to cook on a low heat until reduced to a thick consistency probably 20 to 30 minutes. Tip if you have any rind from the Parmesan leftover just place it in the pan with the tomato sauce and it will give an underlying savoury note.

Add the basil and allow to wilt for a couple of minutes

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before blending in a food processor/liquidiser/hand blender

FOR THE CHEESE SAUCE

Melt the butter gently in a saucepan

Add the flour to make a roux

Pour in a little bit of milk at a time until you have a smooth consistency

Remove from the heat and then add the Parmesan and vintage cheddar

ASSEMBLY

Put a layer of the blended tomato sauce in the base of a lasagne dish (I often make individual ones in disposable foil trays or plastic trays ready to freeze, this is easier than cooking it as a whole particularly if you’re going to reheat it)

Top with a layer of roasted vegetables

Top with a layer of butternut squash

Season generously with black pepper, try and avoid salt if possible

top with dry lasagne sheets (if you’re using fresh you may need to cook off the butternut squash to soften for a bit before layering)

Pour in about a 3rd to ½ of the cheese sauce over the top and spread it over

Grate in about half of the mozzarella and bit of Parmesan (optional but it does give a nice gooey surprise)

Spoon over the rest of the tomato and pepper sauce

Next top with the rest of the roasted vegetables

The rest of the butternut squash and a couple of good handfuls of spinach (optional)

Another layer of pasta

Layer on the courgette thinly

Pour over the rest of the cheese sauce

Grate over the remaining mozzarella and extra Parmesan, season with black pepper. (NB if doing individual ones they can be frozen at this stage, just make sure they are piping hot when reheated)

Put in the oven for approximately 20 to 30 minutes until the cheese is oozy, gooey and golden brown and the filling and pasta are soft and bubbling hot.

When you remove from the oven it is best to leave it to cool slightly just to get the best of the flavour and of course not to burn your mouth

Serve with a nice crispy salad and make sure you are wearing a bib as the chances are you will be stuffing it down your face at a rate of knots 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Very virtuous veggie Lasagne

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