Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vegan MoFo - L is for Lasagne

Lasagne is something I have struggled to enjoy as a vegetarian and vegan. Countless recipes have been attempted over the years but none of them have ever been repeated. I was so underwhelmed by these attempts that I put lasagne into the "too hard" basket until earlier this year.

A version made with nut roast leftovers and a cheezy sauce restored my faith in a tasty meatless lasagne. It had a great flavour and was very hearty and filling due to the nuts. The man and son were very keen on this lasagne but for some reason we didn't feel the same way when I made it next time. I pondered for a while about how it could be improved although I didn't get around to fiddling with this recipe again.

Since I have been using Ricki's ground "meat" recipe in so many different ways recently, I decided it was time to put it to the lasagne test. This lasagne was made in a similar fashion to how I used to make it in my omnivorous days, as I always used to add sliced carrots and mushrooms to the meat sauce and cheese to the bechamel sauce. The lasagne sheets were made with a pasta machine as the texture of home made pasta is so much nicer than the pre-made sheets.

I would love to tell you that this was the best lasagne to date but unfortunately something wasn't quite right about it which wasn't just my opinion. All three of us are quite particular when it comes to lasagne. It had some great flavours going on and the home-made pasta was as fantastic as usual but it still didn't give me the wow factor I was looking for. I will probably play around with this recipe a little in the future but will post it for now regardless.

Click here to see my A - Z of Vegan MoFo posts.

Ground "meat" lasagne

Lasagne sheets (or skip this step and use pre-made sheets)

3/4 cup semolina
3/4 cup plain flour
pinch of sea salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/3 - 1/2 cup water

Mix the semolina, plain flour and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, pour in the olive oil and 1/3 cup water and work the flour into the water until a slightly wet dough has formed. If the mixture is too dry, add the extra water a little at a time, mixing it into the dough as you go. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and set aside for 30 minutes.

"Meat" sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
2 medium carrots, sliced
4 portobello mushrooms, sliced
1/2 quantity ground "meat" recipe
1 x 800g tin of tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon flat parsley, chopped finely
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion for about 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the carrots, mushrooms, ground "meat", tomatoes, basil and oregano, cover and cook for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Remove from the heat, stir through the fresh parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Cheezy bechamel sauce

2 tablespoons dairy-free margarine
1/4 cup plain flour
2 cups soy milk
200g vegan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Melt the margarine in a saucepan then stir the flour through. Cook, stirring for a few minutes until the flour browns a little. Add the soy milk slowly at first, whisking through the mixture to ensure that no lumps remain. When all of the soy milk has been added, stir constantly until the mixture starts to bubble. Stir through the vegan cheese until it has melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Lasagne assembly

Use a pasta machine or rolling pin to roll out thin sheets of pasta. Cut the pasta to measure the width of your baking tray.

Spread about 1/4 of the cheezy bechamel sauce over the bottom of your baking dish. Cover with a layer of lasagne sheets, then spread a 1/3 of the "meat" sauce followed by enough bechamel to cover the sauce. Repeat the layering 3 times, adding a bit of extra grated vegan cheese on top if there isn't enough bechamel remaining. Cover with foil and bake in the oven at 180C for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes.


  1. What a shame you have trouble finding a lasagne to please you and your boys! I love making lasagna and have done since I was first vegetarian when I made a lasagne for tofu for my dad and brothers (being too young to understand that they might not love it) but I never liked too much bechemal sauce so just a little is enough for a me on a lasagne - hope you keep experimenting and find some versions that you love

  2. OH NOM NOM NOM! I've not made a lasagne for a while...I can see it in my near future though.

  3. Given I don't like cheese, irrespective of veganism, I have always struggled with lasagne too. All too often it's the vegetarian option at dinner parties or the like, and I just want to scrape the cheese off :P Of course, no one else likes it without cheese so I'm yet to hit on a good outcome either! Maybe vegan 'cheese' sauces would appeal to me more...

  4. I have got to try this cauliflower 'mince'!!

    As for lasagne, you may not be impressed with my recommendation as it involves tempeh (*ducks for cover*). Still, it is one of Michael's all-time favourite recipes so I feel compelled to link to it just in case you're up for it. :-)

  5. That looks great. I still haven't ever made a lasagne but I really should. And I'm so impressed that you made your own lasagne sheets too!

  6. Johanna, although I have been frustrated with veg lasagnes my more recent attempts have given me hope that I will find one that is perfect for us. I suspect that the vegan bechamel sauce was the downfall in this lasagne.

    Thanks Jeni Treehugger, glad you like the look of this!

    Kari, lasagnes are way too often the only veg option when dining out! I'm not sure if a sauce with vegan cheese would appeal to you more but maybe you would enjoy a noochy (nutritional yeast) sauce.

    Cindy, you really should try the cauliflower "mince" someday. I haven't blogged about it yet but it makes a pretty tasty pie filling. No need to duck for cover (but thanks for the giggle) as I have contemplated giving your tempeh lasagne a try. Tempeh is a lot more appealing to me in small pieces rather than big thick chunks.

    Thanks Mandee, you should try a lasagne one day. I love making lasagne sheets as it isn't too difficult and the taste is superior.