Monday, 21 May 2012

Meat-Free Monday: vegetable lasagne

I've never made a good meat lasagne. I don't know why - I make a pretty good ragu and a killer bechamel, but somehow in the layering or something it all goes pear-shaped and ends up like a particularly robust housebrick.

My vegetable lasagnes, and even my seafood lasagnes, on the other hand, are brilliant. I hardly ever make them, because they are fiddly, time-consuming and use lots of pans, but when I do, it is all worthwhile. I don't have a fixed recipe for them, it's more riffing on a theme of varied colour, flavour and texture. So it might be layers of various barbecued mediterranean vegetables, pumpkin and mushroom or smoked and fresh seafood.

The finished article
This one is a layer of leeks and courgettes, bound with a 200g tub of soft philly, seasoned with celery seed, oregano and black pepper, then two layers of spicy tomato, onion and pepper sauce (fresh red and my last smoked dried hungarian wax), and a top layer of spinach, garlic and ricotta, seasoned with loads of nutmeg. If I'd been feeling more energetic I might have topped it with a layer of bechamel, but instead I just used grated cheese, so the top layer of pasta sheets curled and crisped in the oven like tortilla chips. Yum. It makes 8-10 portions, so this is a pretty economical way to go about making our lunches for this week.

Leeks & courgettes, sauteed hard, then bound with philly
One way of tying the various flavours together without everything tasting same-y was to take advantage of the different alliums. So leeks in one layer, onions in one layer, garlic in one layer.

Spinach (the frozen stuff), garlic & ricotta
Spicy tomato, onion and peppers. Lots of liquid in this layer.

Letting it sit for a bit before cutting gives tidier slices


mscrankypants said...

Leeks in Philly sounds amazing.

I made vegetarian lasagne for my family once. Made the pasta by hand, made the tomato sauce by hand, bechamel the same, even hand-grilled and peeled a bazillion freakin' capsicums. They said it was nice and then dad got Macca's afterwards as it didn't have meat. Meh.

Barbara said...

Gosh that looks good. I've never made anything BUT a meat-based lasagna...this recipe sounds fabulous. And your photos are making me so hungry. I better go eat breakfast! :)

kat said...

I am the opposite of you, I can do killer meat lasagnas but veggie ones are a lot tougher for me.

Foodycat said...

Cranky - oh dear!

Barbara - thank you!

Kat - I'll have to get your recipe.

Suelle said...

The different coloured layers in the finished lasagne look beautiful. I'm sure they taste as good as they look too.

tori said...

Gorgeous- and thank you for giving me a kick along about meat free mondays- we were so good for quite a while, but somehow let it slip from the radar. Next week, it's back.

Alida said...

this lasagna looks amazing. I have never made it like this before and this is a really good recipe. Thank you for sharing.

Foodycat said...

Suelle - thanks, I was very happy with the layered photo!

Tori - We don't manage it every week. Often the meat free meals don't all make it into one day, either!

Alida - thank you!

Caroline said...

Looks fabulous. I tend to make my veggie lasagne with layers of essentially ratatouille in them, and cheese sauce on the top - I love the idea of having lots of contrasting layers, and the visual effect is great.

Morag Peers said...

Fantastic recipe - must try this next time we're doing meat free Monday in this house too. Have just blogged about it on my own blog at

Happy cooking!


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