I was always a massive fan of lasagne. Like Garfield, I recognised there was something irresistible about layers upon layers of pasta, ragu and cheesey creamy béchamel. It’s so indulgent and comforting and when I turned vegan, I came to terms with never having it again.
I needn’t have been so concerned. Vegan. Lasgane. Is. GO. And it’s good my friends, it’s good. The ragu is the same recipe as my mushroom bolognese. But if you have a lentil ragu you adore or one you make with faux-meat mince this would work perfectly too. For the béchamel I simply veganized the dairy-version I’ve always used and added nutritional yeast for extra cheesiness (and vitamins!) The béchamel is good for making cauliflower-cheese and mac and cheese too: do what you will with it pickles!
Egg-free lasagne sheets
For the mushroom ragu:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Around 600g mushrooms- I like a mix of chestnut and regular white mushrooms, but whatever’s cheap in the shops will work, I’m sure.
A handful of dried porcini/wild mushrooms
1 veggie stock cube
400g chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp of green pesto. If you make your own use that or I can HIGHLY recommend the Sacla Free-From pesto
For the béchamel:
A clove of garlic or very small onion, finely chopped
25g vegan butter/margarine
25g plain flour
300ml dairy-free milk (I used Oatly)
A pinch of nutmeg
2 tsp heaped nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp mustard
Dairy-free cheese (a small block of vegan cheese – grated – or about 2/3s a bag of Sainsbury’s Free From shredded cheddar)
Method (for four people)
a/ Add 1 tbsp oil to a large saucepan and gently fry the onions and garlic for around 10 minutes until soft and amazing-smelling.
b/ Turn up the heat slightly and add the mushrooms (roughly chopped) and cook for around 7 minutes or so. Add a small handful of dried mushrooms to the pan (don’t worry if you don’t have any though).
c/ Blend the stock cube with around 150ml of boiling water and add to the pan with the tomatoes. If you have any tomato paste knocking about I’m sure a squeeze or two wouldn’t hurt. Bring to the boil, then reduce the temperature and simmer for at around 30 minutes. Stir in your pesto and season to taste.
d/ Once the mushroom ragu has reduced down, begin on your béchamel. Over a low heat gently fry the onion/garlic in the butter/margarine. Add your flour and stir for around a minute non-stop. Take the pan off the heat and add the milk. Return to the hob and turn the heat up, stirring all the time.
e/ Once the sauce is about to boil, reduce and keep stirring, season. Add the mustard and a pinch of nutmeg. Add the nutritional yeast flakes and stir again. Add your non-vegan cheese now too. I used Sainsbury’s cheddar but imagine any melty-cheese would work really well.
f/ In an oven-proof dish add a layer of the mushroom ragu, then some lasagne sheets, then a layer of cheesey béchamel, and repeat. On top of the béchamel you might want to sprinkle some more vegan-friendly cheese as well.
g/ Pop the lasagne into a pre-heated oven (200oC) for around 30 minutes – or until the lasagne is bubbling and browned on top.
h/ I served the lasagne with a very simple salad and a baked ciabatta topped with a mix of olive oil, vegan butter, garlic, chopped sundried tomatoes and Greek basil. This will serve four generously.