It’s been years since I’ve made traditional meat-based lasagna; currently we eat basically vegetarian because the young woman living with us is vegetarian, and it’s practical and healthy; there are so many great alternatives out there on the market today that meat really isn’t necessary to any dish – it’s just a matter of preference. Here’s my recipe for vegetable lasagna; it can be made with ground beef by the carnivores or ground Quorn by the vegetarians, or with neither… the vegetable mixture is so good that you won’t miss meat!
~450 gr. ground Quorn or ground beef (either are optional)
1 onion, peeled & finely chopped
1 aubergine (eggplant), diced into small cubes
1 zucchini, diced into small cubes
1 tin of stewed, chopped tomatoes
Italian spices, salt and pepper to taste
Prepare the vegetables; sauté the onion in a bit of your usual oil – I use either olive oil or coconut oil. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, and cook until the aubergine and zucchini are nearly done. Set aside while you make the sauce.
Pre-heat the oven now to 200°C (400°C) and put the oven rack on the lower to middle rungs.
Bechamel Sauce with Cheese:
1/2 C. Pre-made Bechamel Sauce
~2 C. milk (or more)
200 gr. grated cheese (your choice)
Place the sauce mixture in a sauce pan, and with a whisk, whisk in ~1/4 C. milk to a smooth paste. Bring gradually to a boil, stirring constantly and gradually adding milk. The flour in the mixture will thicken gradually. When the sauce has reached a good consistency – a bit thick, not soupy – stir in the grated cheese and remove from the stove. If you feel you’ve not made enough sauce for 2 layers of lasagna, you can add a bit of Ricotta cheese, stirring it in well, to expand the amount of sauce.
Lasagna noodles (dry; not necessary to pre-boil them)
200 gr. grated cheese
~1/2 C. breading crumbs
Spoon 1/2 of the meat(less) mixture into the base of a rectangular oven-proof deep glass dish, spreading to coat the bottom of the dish. Top with a layer of lasagna noodles (single-layer, not overlapping); spread 1/2 of the bechamel sauce over the noodles, covering all the way to the edges. Repeat these layers once more. Sprinkle the top with grated cheese, and then top with a sprinkle of the breading crumbs. Bake at 200°C (400°F) for ~30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
If you like wine, serve with a red wine such as Pinot Noir for a robust taste, or Chianti for a slightly fruitier addition.