Veggie Lasagne

 

With the start of March in England I normally think I’m going to wake up to sunnier climes and warmer days. Unfortunately, it’s still pretty chilly and I find I’m still craving warm and nourishing meals; especially at night to leave me feeling full and content when I crawl into bed.

Not only does the beginning of March signal (what’s meant to be) the beginning of Spring, it also signals National Veggie Month! I didn’t realise that there was a national month for this – but I think it’s great. The idea behind this month is to encourage people to move away from eating meat. For me, I think you should eat what makes you happy and what works for your body. So instead I think this month is a great way for meat and non-meat eaters alike to explore veggies and their numerous health benefits.

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This veggie lasagna is made from purely vegetables … and the topping is made using cashew cheese to make it vegan too. I put this recipe together when I came across the wonder that is butternut squash lasagna sheets in Sainsbury’s one Sunday afternoon. I made this recipe and was so excited to eat it; as I was putting the dish back in the oven to crisp the cashew cheese topping I dropped it and sent it flying all over the kitchen floor. I was SO disappointed. Thankfully, the recipe is really easy to make and so I made it again the following Sunday and LOVED it.

I hope you will enjoy this recipe too – but would love to hear any suggestions you may have. Please share any links to other veggie lasagna recipes you have – I love exploring alternatives!

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Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 large leek
  • 6 tomatoes (normal tennis ball size)
  • 10 – 20 baby plum tomatoes
  • 1 large courgette
  • Lasagne sheets or vegetable sheets – for this recipe we’ll be using butternut squash lasagne sheets.

For the vegan parmesan cheese topping:

  • 3/4 cup of raw cashews
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Recipe:

  • Finely slice the onion & garlic clove. Gently heat in olive oil until the onion has gone clear.
  • Finely slice the leek and add to the pot. Sauté the mixture on a low heat whilst you chop up the tomatoes.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan and raise the heat until the contents start to simmer. I use a mixture of standard tomatoes and baby plum tomatoes to intensify the flavour. Baby plum tomatoes add a sweetness to the filling.
  • Add one finely sliced courgette to the pot
  • Sprinkle in herbs that you may like – for me I love to use a pot of mixed herbs which includes Thyme, Marjoram, Sage, Parsley and Oregano. These herbs are great for vegetables as they really help to bring out their flavour.
  • Cover the pot and leave to simmer for 20-30 minutes. Give the veggies a stir every 5 – 10 minutes. What you’re looking to create is a ragu style veggie mix that can be used as the filling between the lasagne sheets.
  • Whilst the ragu is bubbling away, preheat your oven to around 180 degrees celsius. I have a fan oven and this temperature works perfectly. I would recommend 200 degrees celsius if you have an oven without a fan.
  • Cover the dish and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, covered in foil.
  • Once the ragu is ready; layer the butternut squash lasagna sheets followed by the ragu and repeat until it is all used up. Make sure the top layer is the ragu.
  • You can either use lasagne sheets or, in this instance, sheets of butternut squash. Sometimes you can find these precut in stores or you can just finely slice the neck of a butternut squash to create decent squash lasagna sheets.
  • Lightly grease a lasagne dish with a little olive or coconut oil.
  • Whilst the lasagna is baking away you can make your vegan parmesan cheese topping.
  • To make the topping whirl all of the ingredients together in a food processor or blender until a fine powder or meal has formed. Try not to over process this otherwise it will begin to get clumpy from the natural oils in the nuts.
  • The topping will keep covered in the fridge for about a month – so if you have any spare you can use it to sprinkle on other pasta or pizza dishes, for example.
  • After the dish has been in the oven for 30 minutes, take it out and sprinkle the cashew cheese on top. Pop the dish back in the oven uncovered for 20 – 30 minutes.
  • I serve this with roasted broccoli and it’s delicious. I roast the broccoli for 15 minutes covered in a little olive oil and left over sprinkled cashew cheese.

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Nutritional Nugget: Butternut Squash is a veggie powerhouse. One cup of butternut squash provides a huge 437% percent of your vitamin A needs for the day, as well as 52% of vitamin C and 10% or more of vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium and manganese. Wow! 😮

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