This is Zelda. Zelda thinks this lasagne rocks.
Lots of recipes are labelled ‘the ultimate’: ‘the ultimate pizza’; ‘the ultimate veggie burger’; ‘the ultimate chocolate cake’ (I just made all those up). It’s a bold statement to make, but this lasagne is really special. I’m not going to lie to you, it takes a bit of work, but if you want to impress your omnivore friends or your vegan sceptic family who constantly ask you where you get your protein (rolls eyes), this is the recipe to do it! And if you’re not vegan, that’s cool, but why not give this recipe a go and see what the hype is about?
This lasagne has layers, of course: two layers of Bolognese in a rich tomato sauce; a layer of yummy mashed sweet potatoes and carrots with spinach and of course several layers of gorgeous silky pasta. All this is topped off with a rich, creamy sauce made with vegan cream cheese and blended cashew nuts. Even if you’re not a fan of sweet potato I urge you to try this dish as the balance of flavours is amazing. My partner is an ardent sweet potato hater but he loves this lasagne!
For the Bolognese, I used a combination of chestnut mushrooms and mock duck to replace the minced meat. Mock duck comes in a can and is be found in Asian supermarkets. You can also use a can of seitan from a health food store or the equivalent amount of homemade seitan, since the basis of both mock duck and seitan are gluten.
Be warned, this makes a HUGE lasagne. Seriously huge. So you’re going to need to use your biggest ovenproof baking dish. Don’t worry about the leftovers, there won’t be any! However, if you do miraculously find yourself with leftovers, cover and refrigerate. It will keep for a day or two and is delicious when reheated.
Enjoy the recipe!
This recipe is shared with Healthy Vegan Fridays and #freefromfridays.
The Ultimate Vegan Lasagne
For the tomato sauce: 500ml passata
200ml non-dairy milk
¼ large onion, chopped
1 tsp chilli-garlic sauce
1 tsp maple syrup
2 tbsp tomato puree
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
For the Bolognese layer: 250g chestnut mushrooms
280g can mock duck or seitan
¾ large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
For the sweet potato layer: 2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
½ large onion, chopped
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
For the cheesy sauce: 2 cups cashews (soaked overnight if not using a high speed blender)
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
200g vegan cream cheese
100ml non-dairy milk
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Dried lasagne sheets
- To make the tomato sauce, place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
- Place the mock duck or seitan in a food processor with the mushrooms. Process until finely chopped.
- To make the Bolognese, place a medium saucepan over a medium heat and spray with olive oil. Add the onion, pepper and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes before adding the mock duck and mushroom mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce with about 250ml water and mix well. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until thickened and reduced slightly.
- Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan full of water to the boil and add the sweet potatoes and carrots. Cover and reduce heat slightly. Simmer until tender, then drain. While they are boiling, place a medium saucepan over a medium heat and spray with olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened. Add the spinach with a splash of water. Cover and allow to steam until wilted. Drain in a colander and leave to cool slightly without removing from the colander. Squeeze the spinach against the side of the colander using a wooden spoon to remove as much excess water as possible. Mash the sweet potato and carrot together, then stir in the spinach and mix well.
- Preheat the oven to 200oC/gas mark 6/400o
- To make the cheesy sauce, place the cashews, garlic and nutritional yeast in a blender with about 250ml water and blend until smooth. In a medium saucepan, melt the cream cheese. Turn off the heat and stir in the cashew cream and the non-dairy milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To assemble the lasagne, place half the Bolognese sauce in a large baking dish and spread evenly over the bottom of the dish. Add a layer of lasagne sheets. Spread all of the sweet potato mash over the lasagne, then add another layer of lasagne sheets. Spread on the remaining Bolognese sauce before adding a final layer of lasagne sheets. Top with the cashew sauce, spreading it evenly over the lasagne. Cover loosely with foil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 5-10 minutes. Leave to stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.