The first time I made a vegetarian lasagne I was bitterly disappointed; I hadn't realised how much steak mince contributes to the flavour of lasagne and swapping the beef for vegetables and vegetarian mince wasn't enough. The second time around I added extra ingredients like red wine, oregano, basil, pieces of vegetarian Lincolnshire sausage, Worcestershire sauce (not vegetarian), buffalo mozzarella and creme fraiche. It was much better.
I tend to make two lasagnes from the quantities specified and save one for later in the week. I find that lasagne tastes even better when cooked the second time around.
- 1 large red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 aubergine
- 2 courgettes
- 2 or 3 peppers
- 1 pack chestnut mushrooms, chopped
- 1 large glass red wine
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 handful fresh basil
- a pinch sugar
- 2 vegetarian Lincolnshire sausages
- 2 handfuls vegetarian mince (use more mushrooms if omitting)
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tins good quality chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbs tomato purée
- salt and pepper
- 50g butter
- 250ml milk
- 1 tbs plain flour
- 1 tbs corn flour
- 300ml creme fraiche
- a pinch nutmeg
- 100g grated mature cheddar cheese
- 1 ball buffalo mozzarella
- salt and pepper
- Lasagne sheets
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Grill the sausages for 10-15 minutes then slice thinly and put to one side.
- Chop the onion, crush the garlic and add to a saucepan with a large splash of olive oil. Fry on a low heat for around 10 minutes but make sure that the onion and garlic don't brown.
- Add a large glass of red wine and simmer for a minute to allow the alcohol to evaporate.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, a pinch of sugar, oregano, chopped mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, seasoning and tomato purée. Simmer for at least 20 minutes. Add the vegetarian mince, sliced sausages and basil during the last five minutes of cooking. Taste the bolognese and add more seasoning if required.
- While the bolognese is simmering, slice the peppers, aubergine and courgettes then place on a large baking tray with a generous coating of olive oil and a sprinkling of oregano. Roast for around 15 minutes or until they just start to colour.
- Melt a large knob of butter in another saucepan and add the flours, whisking them into the butter to form a paste. Add a small amount of milk to loosen the paste and keep adding more milk while whisking until the mixture starts to come together into a smooth sauce. Add the grated cheese, nutmeg, seasoning and a little more milk if the sauce is getting too thick. Once the cheese has melted, add the creme fraiche and mix well. Remove from the hob.
- Spoon a small amount of the bolognese into an ovenproof dish (I use two 28cm dishes - see picture) and layer some of the aubergines, courgettes and peppers over it. Add a lasagne sheet (I prefer the fresh ones as they're guaranteed to be nice and soft after cooking).
- Add another layer of the bolognese and vegetables as before, followed by another pasta sheet. Repeat the process until you have three (thin) layers of bolognese and have used three sheets of pasta. Finally top with the white sauce and hand torn mozzarella.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or if you want to cook the lasagnes later, store in the fridge then bake for 30-35 minutes.
Serve stuffed mushrooms as an excellent accompaniment to this dish.