Lasagne

One of my favourite foods ever since I started eating solids has been lasagne. While it didn’t feature on the menu nearly as often as I would have liked as a kid, I’m now in charge of cooking so I make it every couple of weeks.

It also keeps well and works perfectly as leftovers the next day. We take leftovers for lunch the next day pretty much every day of the week, so lasagne is a great way to have several portions of leftovers :-).

I tend to go freestyle when it comes to cooking, so no meal ever truly tastes the same when I make it again and this recipe is really flexible.

There are three main components: lasagne pasta, bolognese sauce and béchamel sauce. Here’s the list of ingredients:

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 packet of lasagne sheets
  • 2 large handfuls of vegan mozzarella

For the Bolognese sauce:

  • Olive oil
  • 1x 600ml bottle passata or canned pureed tomatoes
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 200ml tomato paste (1 tube)
  • 1 teaspoon veggie stock powder
  • 2 tablespoons of dried oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar (or red wine, the choice is yours)
  • 400g of firm tofu, crumbled with your hands into small bits
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 medium sized carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped

For the béchamel sauce:

  • 750ml of almond milk (whichever you prefer, sweetened is fine, unsweetened is okay too. There are no strict rules 🙂 )
  • 2 tablespoons of margarine
  • 4 tablespoons of soy flour or chickpea flour
  • 1 teaspoon of veggie stock powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder

The first step is to prepare the Bolognese sauce. In a large saucepan add a splash of olive oil (1-2 tablespoons) and heat up until hot (test with a wooden spoon – if bubbles form around the spoon then it’s hot enough).

Add the onion and garlic and fry for a couple of minutes, stirring regularly. Add the veggie stock powder, carrots, red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes and the tofu and fry for a few more minutes. Then add the oregano and paprika, stir and add the red wine vinegar. Let it bubble up and mix through, then add passata and tomato paste. Let everything simmer for around 15min with the lid on.

In the meantime, prepare the béchamel sauce. Now it’s time to heat up your oven to 200ºC.

In a pot melt the margarine over medium heat, add the flour, garlic powder, onion powder and stock powder and stir with a whisk until everything forms a ball. continue stirring and very gradually add the milk. First add just a couple of tablespoons, whisk vigorously, then add a bit more. Your ball of flour will turn into a thick paste and then thin out smoothly as you add milk. Adding milk slowly ensures you don’t have lumps in the finished sauce. Once you have added all the milk, bring the sauce to a boil while stirring frequently. Let it thicken. If the sauce is to runny, grab a bit of flour, about 2 tablespoons and mix it with 2-3 tablespoons of cold almond milk, stir until smooth and add to your sauce. Bring to a boil and now things will thicken.

Turn off the heat from your béchamel and the Bolognese sauce.

Grab a baking dish. This can be a loaf pan (makes it very easy to cut neat slices) or a rectangular brownie pan or a round pan (who am I to judge), just anything that is about 4 inches (10cm) high so you get a nice tall lasagne with lots of layers.

On the bottom add Bolognese sauce in a thin layer, then add one layer of lasagne pasta sheets. They should not overlap. Now add another layer of Bolognese sauce to fully cover the pasta, then add béchamel sauce. Not quite as thick as the Bolognese sauce, just a thin layer on top. Then pasta again and repeat until you’re done. The top should be béchamel sauce. Top with the cheese.

Bake in the oven for about 30min.

Take out the lasagne and let it sit for 10min before cutting and serving.

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