Easy vegetable lasagne: A warming, nutritious family dinner
In a rush? Use frozen diced Mediterranean vegetables and a jar of good quality tomato sauce
Vegetable lasagna: nutritious and hearty
This vegetable lasagne can be made a few different ways. It all depends on how you cut the vegetables. I sometimes throw all of the vegetables into the food processor and blitz them till finely chopped, resulting in a plant-based minced meat texture once the tomatoes are added.
It is delicious and I sometimes add a tin of cooked puy lentils for even more texture and nutrition. Or you can slice the vegetables lengthways and roast them, then assemble with the sauce.
This recipes involves dicing the vegetables into small bite-size pieces. It’s almost like a ratatouille, especially with the courgette and aubergine included. Roughly grated carrot can be added, along with finely chopped celery or leeks. Use whatever vegetables your own family prefer.
I always add a splash of red wine to tomato-based sauces like this and a little brown sugar to temper the acidity of the tinned tomatoes. Getting the balance of salty and sweet just right is done by taste testing. My youngest has discovered that by volunteering to continuously taste as I’m cooking she gets to have a tasty little preview of dinner.
This lasagne freezes well when made in advance and left to cool or simply freeze the cooked vegetable base and defrost when needed. This mix takes plenty of herbs – so do be generous.
If you’re in a rush then use a bag of frozen diced Mediterranean vegetables and a jar of good quality tomato marinara sauce. Most supermarkets now produce their own fresh sauces. I love Ballymaloe Foods’ bolognese sauce too and have used it when making home-made pizzas or in lasagnas and spaghetti.
Sometimes for added flavour, or if I have no fresh basil, I drizzle a little fresh pesto between the layers. Served with a big green salad, this makes for a warming nutritious dinner.
Mediterranean vegetable lasagne
2 tbsp olive oil
1 aubergine, diced
1 courgette, diced
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely crushed
2 tbsp red wine, optional
2 tins chopped tomatoes
4 tbsp finely chopped basil
1 tbsp dried Italian herbs
1 tsp brown sugar
1 pack fresh egg lasagna sheets
400g cottage cheese
130g grated mozzarella cheese
25g grated Parmesan
1 tbsp chopped basil
1 Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2 Place the olive oil in a wide, heavy based pan over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms, courgettes, aubergine and peppers. Stir well to coat in the oil. Sauté for just over five minutes stirring regularly till the vegetables have softened.
3 Add the garlic and stir. Cook for another minute, ensuring the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the red wine, if using.
4 Increase the heat and add the tinned tomatoes. Add the herbs and brown sugar. Stir gently together. Taste for seasoning. Leave everything to simmer for a few minutes while you make the topping.
5 Whisk the egg in a bowl, add the cottage cheese, mozzarella and Parmesan along with the chopped basil and black pepper. Stir well to combine.
6 Layer the vegetable mix at the bottom of a 23 x 33cm ovenproof dish. Place a layer of lasagne sheets over and top with a few tbsp of the cheese mix, follow with vegetable mix, more sheets and then the final layer of vegetable mix. Top with lasagne sheets and all of the remaining cheese mix. Scatter with a little grated mozzarella and cover the entire dish in foil.
7 Bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil and return to the oven for another 10 minutes until the cheese topping is golden and bubbling.
8 Leave to stand for at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Scatter with a few extra basil leaves and serve with a side salad.