Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Vegetarian Lasagne for the whole family

My husband proclaims "vegetarian lasagne" a waste of letters (as he sees a normal lasagne as needing no prefix), however, as it is thrifty 50 month (i.e. trying to spend less than £50 a week on grocery shopping and all eating out), it's a fantastically thrifty recipe and one which really counts on the 5 a day.  I think I could really have convinced him with this too but unfortunately he ended up getting home at 8:30pm and wasn't hungry.  I will convince him there is more to life than meat.  Honestly...



Apologies for the photography.  I am convinced food photographers only photograph chilled or frozen lasagne, perhaps blasting the top under a grill to get the colour.  Lasagne does collapse a bit when you cut it whatever you do and I'm a cook who takes a photo if you're lucky then eats.  I'm not going to be prinking for hours!

I think this is the best vegetarian lasagne recipe I've ever done.  The lentils make it I think.  You could easily substitute for other vegetables as you see fit but I'd keep the lentils.  Roasted, peeled peppers would be nice.

Vegetarian Lasagne - Serves 2-4 Adults or Children depending on appetite and what you serve with it!

Ingredients

500ml approx of passata or home made slow cooked tomato sauce or there's a recipe for one here
Half a large courgette (or a whole small one) aka zucchini
4-5 medium sized mushrooms
1 small onion
Spray oil or a little olive oil
Some fresh thyme
60g Green lentils
1 small dried red chilli or a pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
1 tsp pesto (substitute for fresh basil if following a strict vegetarian diet)
250ml Milk (I used skimmed, i.e. low fat milk)
3 dsp Cornflour
60g Vintage or extra strong cheddar
30g Parmesan (substitute for more cheddar if following a strict vegetarian diet)
No pre cook dried lasagne sheets - approx 6-8

Method

Cook the lentils in water (I tend to find pack instructions are a little long for the lentils I buy so taste them towards the end of cooking).  While they're cooking, saute the onion in the oil until it becomes translucent.  Add the courgette and mushrooms and saute until water is released (they do tend to be watery vegetables.)  Add the tomato sauce and the lentils.  Cook until the sauce is rich and thick.  Add the thyme and pesto and take off the heat.



Make the white sauce by heating the milk in a microwave till nearly at boiling point.  Mix the cornflour with cold water, just a little until the cornflour makes a suspension.  Then mix the cornflour / water mix into the hot milk stirring as you pour in.  Put back in the microwave for 1-2 mins on high (do watch this though as if it starts to boil, it can boil over.)  Stir.

Preheat your oven to 180oC.

Then layer up the lasagne.  Start with the white sauce, then the tomato / vegetable sauce then pasta.  Do as many layers as you want / have stuff for finishing with a layer of pasta then a layer of white sauce.



Top with the grated cheeses.  Bake for 40 minutes or until the lasagne sheets are soft and the top is well browned.



I'm always unsure with reheating pasta as it's never as good but when you're having lunch at home or at work, some home made reheated lasagne is actually pretty good.  Not as good as the original dish but not bad.  I was having some of this for lunch today.  As I'd made it with a bit too much chilli for my son (I thought), he was having some bolognaise but, typically, he wanted what I was having.  He said "nice" and "more" so he's not inherited his daddy's taste buds!

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