Vegan Comfort Food

A good Italian lasagne brings back happy memories of eating out with my mom in Italian restaurants, oven baked served with fresh bread and a glass of crisp white wine.

It’s exciting to see food manufacturers rising to the challenge and creating vegan versions of their products. Being vegan has never been easier. The choice of plant based milks, cheeses, margarines and ice creams grows by the day.

A vegan lasagne is such an easy to thing to make at home and is real comfort food. Layers of rich bolognaise sauce, pasta and cheesy sauce baked in the oven.

Meat free soya mince is widely available. I use a frozen supermarket one, but there are several chilled ones. It’s inexpensive and low in fat and high in protein. Our local zero waste shop sells a delicious sunflower mince which works well in this dish. Or cooked puy or green lentils could be used. I pack lots of vegetables into my sauce.

 I make my own vegan pasta but egg free lasagne sheets are available in supermarkets. For a gluten free version I make buckwheat pancakes and layer them up.

I use nutritional yeast for the sauce, it’s a really handy store cupboard staple, and it’s widely available in health food shops and supermarkets. Grated vegan cheese could be used instead.

Our Lizzy’s Lasagne

Our Lizzy’s Vegan Lasagne

For the bolognaise

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pepper, finely chopped
  • 75g mushrooms, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes or a carton of passata
  • soya mince or cooked green lentils (approx 100g)
  • 1 teaspoon yeast extract
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs e.g. oregano, basil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • black pepper
  • 300ml vegetable stock or water

Place the onions, peppers and mushrooms in a pan or wok, sauté in water or oil for about five minutes until soft and caramelised. 

Add the grated carrot and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes more.

Add the remaining ingredients. Simmer for fifteen minutes, until the liquid is reduced.

Season to taste.

Dairy free Cheesy sauce

  • 25g vegan margarine/rapeseed oil
  • 25g plain white flour
  • 600ml soya milk
  • 5 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • pinch of mustard powder (optional)
  • salt and pepper

Melt the margarine in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for two minutes.

Add a third of the soya milk, mix well to avoid lumps, a hand whisk could be used. Gradually add the rest of the milk. Mix well. Add the nutritional yeast and season to taste.

For a gluten free version thicken the sauce with corn flour rather than using fat and plain flour.

To assemble the lasagne

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200°C

Grease a square or rectangular dish. Spoon half the bolognaise mixture in the dish and spread it out. Cover with a layer of pasta and pour half the cheesy sauce on top.

Spoon the rest of the bolognaise mixture on top, and cover with another layer of pasta.

Pour on the rest of the cheese sauce and bake in a hot oven for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is bubbling and golden.

Serves 4

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