In the early days of figuring out Jack’s allergies, when he was a baby, one of the first allergens we had to eliminate from my diet was dairy. That meant saying goodbye to the batch cooked trays of lasagne I had in the freezer and no more of my favourite go-to cheesy pasta – this took a whole lot of getting used to! From then on, I just avoided lasagne and cheesy pasta as I never thought I could do it justice without adding a huge block of cheddar cheese to the white sauce. Then, one day, during our second COVID lockdown, I decided I’d give a vegan lasagne a try and I’m happy to say, the results were delicious! Since then, I’ve worked on both the veggie base and the ‘cheese’ sauce building layers of flavour in each until I feel I’ve found the perfect balance of sweet, deep delicious veggies, smothered with a smooth, creamy savory ‘cheese’ sauce – making it my ultimate comfort food.
I love to make this lasagne if we have family or friends coming for dinner or I want to make a yummy meal that I can prep beforehand and just bang in the over closer to dinner time. It’s also a brilliant recipe if you’re looking to try more plant-based meals, and I promise you will not miss the beef or dairy from this meal!
We’d love to see your version of this Veggie Lasange and hear how you and your family enjoy it! Tag us on social @the_juicing_co
Makes 1 large lasagne
The low down
For the veggie base, you'll need:
2 carrots – diced
2 stalks celery – finely chopped
1 onion – finely chopped
4 cloves garlic - crushed
10 sundried tomatoes – finely chopped
600g mushrooms - sliced
½ butternut squash - diced
1 aubergine - diced
1 courgette - diced
2 red peppers - diced
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
100ml – 150ml red wine (watch the wine doesn’t contain milk if you are avoiding dairy, you can find that information on the back label)
150ml vegetable stock
1 tsp dried oregano
Dried lasagne sheets
For the 'cheese' sauce, you'll need:
100g dairy free margarine
85g All Purpose white flour
1L Oatly Whole Oat Milk
1 white onion
1 pack (200g) grated Violife dairy free cheese
4-5 tbsp nutritional yeast
Sprinkle of ground nutmeg
The know how
To start with the veggie base sauce, add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots to a large pan (I use a shallow cast iron pan) with a little olive oil and sauté for around 7 minutes.
Then add the sundried tomatoes with a little of the oil from the jar and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes until the veg starts to soften.
Add the balsamic and allow to bubble for a few minutes, stirring the balsamic through all of the vegetables.
Allow the pan to regain heat and add the red wine and leave to bubble and cook off the alcohol.
Once the liquid has reduced down, add the mushrooms, courgette, butternut squash and aubergine and stir to allow the veg to take on the flavour from the pan.
Next add a sprinkle of dried oregano, tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock. Stir well to make sure everything is combined.
Leave to simmer with the lid on for a minimum of 1 hour, making sure to stir regularly. I try to let the base sauce simmer for around 2+ hours on the lowest heat, I’ve found the longer it simmers for, the more the flavours enhance. Once all the vegetables are deliciously soft, season to taste.
Once the base sauce is cooked, you’re ready to move onto the ‘cheese sauce’. Start by cutting the onion in half and add to a large pan with the oat milk. Put on a low heat and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, add the margarine to a pan and melt.
Once melted, add the flour and mix. Allow the flour to cook out for a good few minutes, stir during this process.
Once the oat milk is simmering, remove the onion and discard.
Add the warm oat milk to the margarine and flour mix, a little at a time, using either a wooden spoon or whisk to ensure there are no lumps. Continue until you have added all of the oat milk – you should now have a lovely smooth white sauce.
Next, add the Violife dairy free ‘cheese’, nutritional yeast and nutmeg, mix together until the ‘cheese’ has melted. Season to taste.
Now you’re ready to put the lasagne together!
Use a ladle to spoon out some of the veggie sauce base to the bottom of the lasagne dish, covering the whole dish, make this layer very thin. Now use the dried lasange sheets to cover the base of the dish and repeat the layer of veggie sauce however, this time, make the layer much thicker, top with the ‘cheese’ sauce and cover with dried lasagne sheets.
Repeat this process until the dish is nearly full.
On your final layer, cover with lasagne sheets and generously ladle of the ‘cheese’ sauce over to cover all of the dried pasta.
Pop in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for around 30-40 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through. Take out of the oven and leave to sit for around 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving, this will ensure the lasagne holds its shape.
We like to serve this with dairy free garlic bread, salad and broccoli but go ahead and use whatever you’ve got in your fridge!
Sit back and enjoy!